Over the past couple of years some of us here at Racer X have become friends with a guy named Chris Betts. He’s a professional baseball player, drafted in the second round of the MLB draft by the Tampa Bay Rays and he’s a catcher. He’s also a huge SX/MX fan who grew up with the sport in Southern California and may or may not also ride a bike here or there. Betts is a superfan of Adam Cianciarulo and they’ve become buddies as well. Be aware that almost everything Betts does or says is based on his love of Adam Cianciarulo. We’ve had Chris on the Pulpmx Show a time or two and while crushing White Claws like we’ve never seen before, has come up with, errr, unique ideas for the sport.
Being in a group text with Betts is simply phenomenal and the things he comes up with are great. Some of them, for reals, might actually have a basis in reality while other ideas…yeah, just focus on the baseball stuff Chris.
We’ve rounded up some of his best (worst) ideas for the sport and jotted them down here. You be the judge!
HORNS ON BIKES
Chris Betts: Remember, these ideas come from outside the industry, but yet in the industry. They’re really three-dimensional.
I just think that it’s a safety thing. Adam (Cianciarulo) got screwed at Redbud by a lapper, that was a perfect example. He could have died. He could have gotten hurt. Then earlier that day in qualifying you have a rider down. They just cause a lot of problems, so I think it’s an efficient way to get them out of the way. I also think Kellen’s (Brauer) illustration that I posted is an absolutely flawless example.
Maybe it can’t be used as the bike horn where you have to take your hand off the throttle, but a button or something. Or just naturally it blares when you’re within five seconds of a lapper.
Racer X: Chris, How are you going to do that? How are you going to determine when you can use the horn?
Just a crippling fine if you use it out of line, or if you shouldn't be using it. Absolutely make it so if you use it at the wrong time, you can never do anything but work construction for the rest of your life. But make the fine just low enough to where if Adam’s hand accidentally slips, Kawi just fronts the bill. But it’s got to be lockable, un-lockable. They have transmitters and all that crap. It shouldn't be that hard, right? I don’t think it’s my craziest idea. I think GNCC did it or used it. Desert racers or something like that have horns also. Half those guys are working 9-5 Monday through Friday. So if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.
PINE TAR ON GRIPS
So, I’ve been thinking about this. I understand the grips are really tacky and the gloves are good. They’re super tacky. I get that. But I just don’t understand why no one uses a foreign substance. For us in baseball, our go-to is sunscreen and rosin. It makes something that I swear if you put it in-between each page of a magazine, your magazine is now a cement brick. When you see guys get thrown out these days of baseball for foreign substances, it’s sunscreen and rosin. It’s not even pine tar anymore. So something like that.
Just slather it on your grips or really everywhere on your bike you want to stick to. It’s got to be better than grip tape. Once grip tape gets wet it’s kind of useless, right? So, this stuff, we use it when it’s pissing rain and you can’t hold onto anything, and all of a sudden it’s like a torrential downpour and you can actually hold onto your bat. So I don’t really understand why not. I might be wrong, but I know that there’s no setting where sunscreen and rosin does not work! You have to take alcohol and tape remover to get it off your skin after a game!
You know what? I might just take Adam’s gloves at supercross and just put a little concoction on there and tell him don’t touch it with your bare hands and see how it goes. Maybe not before a heat, but before free practice for sure. Then just send (Justin) Shantie (AC mechanic) up there with just as pair of spare gloves, just in case he doesn’t like it.
If I had a bike, and that’s a big if, okay, and if that bike allegedly was an ’05 Honda with a kickstarter, again allegedly, with a kickstand as well, allegedly, I would love to have this alleged kickstand and my alleged kickstarter be the same thing.
Hear me out. No one ever accidentally kicks it forward. You kick it back to start it, just like a regular kickstarter...and you bring it out and around forward to set it on the ground! For all the guys getting these super fancy bikes that don’t come with kickstands anymore, you’re on the trails, you need to take a p*ss. You don’t have to lean it up against a cactus. You can just throw your kickstarter/kickstand down. It’s easy for everyone, and it will make Suzuki and all kickstarters look so much sexier.
Betts, is this telescopic?
Yeah, whatever the word is. It’s gyroscopic maybe? I don’t know. You kick it back to start it, and you push it forward to stand your bike up. We save weight because we don’t need a kickstand and a kickstarter. Then if you still want your electric start, you have your kickstart for if the battery dies. You can’t poke a hole in this idea! There’s literally nothing wrong with the idea! What happens when your Yamaha’s battery dies? You’re screwed. Well, now you have your kickstarter. And then when you have to p*ss on the trail, now you have your kickstand. It’s great! It’s glorious. I won’t take no for an answer.
LEFT HANDED THROTTLES
Who’s to say that if you gave anyone who’s not at their full potential, a guy like A-Ray, any other privateer, myself, I might not be Jeremy McGrath with a right-handed throttle, but I’m a left-hand dominant person. What if you put a left-handed throttle on my bike? Now I’m unstoppable! Now you cannot stop me. I would love to see someone do this. There’s someone out there who doesn’t know it yet but could shave two seconds a lap off with a left-handed throttle. It might be Adam. Who knows?
This is another one where you can’t tell me it’s a bad idea, because it’s just not. Just try it and it’s going to work. Sure, you might have to move the clutch to the right side, but again not my problem. It’s doable. I just come up with the ideas. I don’t put them into fruition. I’m doing the free R&D for all the companies.
PRACTICE MUD SUPERCROSS
You know in the group texts my ideas come after I’ve had some drinks. Sober, I understand mud ruins bikes. I think a little bit of this might just be that someone is afraid to get behind the pressure washer and get down and dirty to clean the bike. It’s not my business. For a factory team, if there’s rain in the forecast at Daytona, I don’t know why we’re not flooding the track and practicing rolling the triples as fast as we can! There’s a better way to do it than just, “Oh, he grew up where it rains. Rode a lot of mud. The local track didn’t shut down when it rained, so he’s really good.” It’s like, okay. I’m from California. I’ve seen rain three dozen times in my life. Why am I going to stay behind the eight-ball when I could very easily let the garden hose go a little bit longer and flood the shit out of the track?
This one might make sense, Betts. I mean, riders practice starts. They practice whoops.
Yeah. It really couldn’t hurt at all. Literally nothing. All of these ideas are logical. That’s the worst part. All of them are perfect! You can’t tell me it’s a bad idea, once again. I just really think that we prepare really good for when everything is nice. When Mother Nature calls, if you didn’t grow up riding in the rain, you’re screwed. I say practice in it!
[Chris didn’t stop there, he had a few more things he had to get off his chest about our sport…]
Betts: I just don’t really understand why riders in the sport hide injuries. I feel bad for the riders. When they go back to the truck, their team knows the guy was grinding it out and really didn’t have anything in him and gave it his all. But I don’t understand when these guys’ image and fans on social media and everything is one of their biggest selling points. I don’t understand just saying, “I’ve actually got a broken wrist right now and I’m being a total badass and riding through it.” Or you’re back up before the season and saying, “I took a lot of time off and I didn’t get on the bike…” I’m sure there’s a reason to it, but as an athlete I think it’s super gnarly what they ride through and I just wish they would share more of it. Whatever sort of mind game they think it helps them with against the other guys, more power to them. I just don’t really understand it. Kind of frustrates me.
Why does our sport does the same stuff over and over….
I think I came up with that idea after a lot of drinks because I’m sitting here saying the sport does the same stuff over and over yet it’s my favorite sport ever. If you changed it, I would probably bark really heavy about that too, all day long. So I’d like to just chalk that one up to me just kind of losing track of the White Claw count. I think that if it changed I would be really unhappy. Baseball is changing a lot right now and it’s miserable. So keep it the same. Forget I said that one.
What’s going on with Alex Ray’s bike…
Here’s what I don’t get, how does his bike fall apart every time? He’s on a team that has shirts. They’ve got the printed shirts. They have the SGB logo on the stands, and they have a truck. The guy whose uncle is putting his bike together next to the port-a-potty in the back of the pits is riding back with it in one piece, and A-Ray rides back with a full mechanic that has clothes on with a muffler in his arms! But also I’m not upset about it because at WW Ranch, all of a sudden I hear this… I can’t even make the noise. I heard it and I turned around and I saw 61 and I just started laughing. I couldn’t get it together. Everyone was like, oh no, he lost his muffler! I was just like, oh my god! That’s like the fourth time this year! Just turned around and he’s going nowhere and it’s screaming! It was incredible. That was probably the highlight of the things I saw in person that day.
Why do we need clutches? It seems so redundant…
Mechanically I know we need clutches. When I ride my alleged bike around the block and I’m in third gear and I haven’t touched the clutch since I pulled out of the driveway, I’m kind of looking at it, like you’re just a waste of space. Maybe we have a light back brake and a heavy back brake. I look at it and I’m like, I lug you around in third gear everywhere I go. What is your purpose here?
Also, finally, you think that if there’s a close points battle in SX or MX, the tie-break should go to a rider that can use someone in their contacts that wins a Home Run Derby right?
Yup, not the rider but their friend has to win a HR contest. Someone in their contacts and close points race mean anywhere under three digits.
That’s a wide margin?
So if Adam is like 95 points out at Vegas or Utah or wherever we finish, home run derby. You’re just trying to stay within double-digits to get to the home run derby.
Has to be someone in your contacts?
Yup. Been there for a year.
So this is why you feel like Adam will do a good job.
No. I think it’s whole-heartedly fair. I just think that it’s a little bit more exciting way to finish things up. But I do think it is 100% fair. They just have to know said person.
What if, say, Eli Tomac befriended Mike Trout, that would be ideal.
Yeah. We might be in trouble at that point.
But short of that…
Yes, short of Mike Trout. Honestly, I can get pretty hyped up for batting practice. Where Mike Trout and I get separated is when it starts coming in at about a hundred miles an hour. But fifty miles an hour, it’s a pretty even playing field, I think.
I had an LCQ idea that when I sent it to you, it didn’t go through. So, in baseball at some minor league stadiums we have a strike out the side pot, where the fans pass around a hat or a bowl and they fill it with cash. This is more like an independent [league] thing, the nitty-gritty. They pass around a hat and if you strike out the side, you get what’s in the hat in that inning. So I think that they should do a pot at the races for fifth place in the LCQ. They do a 50/50 raffle but it’s for fifth place in the LCQ. I think that would create for better racing than making the night show.
Here’s Chris and Skip Norfolk from a Pulpmx Show a while back