@PING 13

He has questions, and you have...wait, no. You question his answers. Dang, that's not it, either. Ping answers your moto questions. Yep, nailed it!

@PING

Let's dive in and see the nuggets that emerged from the mailbag this week. Take it away, Ping.

So happy to see you back, Ping... 

Given it is the start of a new year of racing, what is your take on the business end of Supercross and Motocross? It appears some teams are struggling for sponsorship, and some are cutting back on the number of riders. Every year a new crop of 450 guys emerge with fewer rides available. Where do you think we will be in the next ten years?

Old Moto Guy 

Old,

It's an interesting time in our sport. Spectator numbers at supercross races seem to be up, or at least maintaining, and that's great news for Feld. However, there are far fewer racers on any given weekend at local motocross tracks across the country. There are so many different things vying for the attention of kids these days, and motocross just isn't as accessible as it once was. Kids used to be able to ride right out of their driveways and have fun in local hills or open land; that's a rarity now. Also, bikes have become unreasonably expensive. It's great that the vibe at the pro level is pretty good, but what happens when the grassroots level dies completely? Does the sport die with it? I don't know the answer here, but we'd better start addressing the elephant in the room. 

 - PING

Mr. Ping,

I've always wanted to ask who is your favorite: Johnny Gage or Roy DeSoto? Anyhoo… Has your celebrity moto status ever gotten you out of a ticket? I got stopped going six MPH over on the way home from Spring Creek. He let me off after I told him who won the 450's. Glad to see you at Vital... Your bike setup videos are the best! 

Jon46

Jon,

I was always partial to Johnny, but both of them were legit. "Emergency" was way before my time, but I do get a kick out of watching the old reruns. 

Yes, I have gotten out of a speeding ticket before. I was leaving Glen Helen and got pulled over by a motor cop who was a racing fan. He busted my balls for a minute and then told me he loved my column and to slow down. Sometimes I'll hand them my firefighter ID and hope for a little "professional courtesy," but that doesn't always work. The truth is that it depends on the mood of the cop that particular day. If he hasn't written his ten tickets by 10:00 AM, you might be out of luck. If it's afternoon and he doesn't want to cut paper, you might get lucky. We have two choices: Either drive the speed limit, which doesn't seem like a reasonable choice, or we can stomp on the accelerator and hope for the best. Good luck.

 - PING

Illustration: <a href=www.firepolicemx.com" data-credit="" class="img_fullscreen">

Hey Pingers, 

A couple of things I've been thinking about, and I need someone of your talent and expertise to sort out for me. (That's the only obligatory butt-kissing I could come up with today). You recently told someone, "Go buy whatever color your local dealership is selling because you won't be any faster on this brand or that." You also said, all the bikes will handle differently, and you may feel more comfortable on one brand over another. Now I've also heard people say that pro 450 teams aren't really making more power on the bikes, they are just trying to manage that power. So, are we at peak power output for these 450s? And if we are, is it truly fair to say that a privateer is at a more even playing field in the 450 / premium class than any time in our moto history? 

Clever sign-off name?
Thanks, dude. 

Clever,

To qualify my statement, I simply meant that five of the six bikes are so close you could ride any of them and turn the same lap times. Therefore, go to a dealer who supports you with parts, service, advice, and whatever else you need, and buy his brand. The support of a good dealer is more valuable in the long run than the brand of bike you're riding. 

I believe we've hit a point where engine builders can overbuild a bike. But back when we were racing 250 two-strokes, we had hit the ceiling with the amount of power we could squeeze out of them, so I don't think the playing field is more even now than before. The tough part now is getting these 250-pound pigs to handle. Sure, they make as much power as Big Daddy Don Garlits' top fuel dragster, but they can handle like a dump truck full of gravel. Factory guys have a full-time suspension technician at every race watching and trying to improve the setting. Privateers have a friend with a screwdriver shrugging his shoulders and spinning the flat blade wildly to the left and right, hoping something will improve. Factory teams will always have an advantage, so it's up to the privateer to tally good enough results on sub-par equipment to earn one of those rides. That's the way it's always been and always will be. 

- PING

Do you have a question you need answers for? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com.

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