@PING 17

Pingree chimes in on those dang expensive four-strokes, weird on-the-line racer rituals, and the troubles of travel.


Let’s see... I paid $1738 for a 1983 CR125 in April 1983, brand new OTD. Using an inflation calculator, that’s $4490 in today’s money. So, bikes have more than doubled in price from my youth and far outpaced the rise of inflation. You were wondering why the sport is hurting? That’s why.

I found an inflation calculator online to make sure your numbers weren’t bogus, and I got the same numbers you did, more or less. Look, I’ve been beating this dead horse for so long I’m starting to get calls from PETA, but the four-stroke revolution has been slowly killing us since it began. Racing got worse because bikes are too big/powerful/fast for close, aggressive racing, and they are easier to ride, so less skill is required. Skyrocketing noise levels have closed riding areas globally, and the cost to produce them is significantly higher, which gets passed right on to the consumer. Let’s be honest, you can’t really compare a 125 from that era to a modern 250F. Between EFI, electric start, and the extra materials inside the engine, this is a more expensive product from the word go. I’m not a four-stroke hater, either. I love riding them as much as anybody. Having said that, they are killing our sport. That inflation calculator clearly shows that we should be able to buy a new bike for under $6000, easily, and you’d be lucky to find a decent used bike for that price. And this is why so many people are getting into vintage racing, or simply not racing at all.


He did it again! Jeremy Martin was licking the palms of his gloves before the start of one of the Monster Cup races… just too funny. It’s got to be helpful somehow, but I have no clue. I love it!
George Sosnick

You sent me this before, and I hadn’t seen it. I caught the licking incident from Vegas, and I did have to chuckle a bit. I’ve seen some oddball things in this sport. Robbie Reynard used to tug at his helmet strap over and over on the starting line like he was securing a load on a flatbed truck. Christophe Pourcel used to pour an entire bottle of water over himself just as the 30-second card went up at nationals, sending a plume of steam into the air. I’ve seen guys shake their heads, scream, clap their hands, smack their helmet, and shadow box while waiting for the gate to drop. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a rider lick their palms like they just ate cotton candy, and they are trying to get the sticky remnants off their hands. I assume he’s getting the glove material moist, so he has a stickier feeling on the grip; I’ve seen quarterbacks do it before a snap, and basketball players lick their hands and wipe the bottom of their shoes for the same effect. There’s definitely something about licking a glove that seems odd. Maybe just spit on them and run them together, J Mart. Or get a KFC-themed butt patch that says “Finger-Lickin’ Good?”


I just got a new gig where I am traveling more than ever before. I’ve been on planes plenty of times, but mostly shorter trips. Now I’m crisscrossing the country and logging some serious miles; I’ll be platinum status in no time! The problem is, I hate it. With every flight, I’m becoming less and less thrilled with this new job. What did you do during your racing/managing career to make travel suck a little less? I’ve already listened to every single Whiskey Throttle podcast (impatiently waiting on the next one), and I’m out of ideas to keep my mind occupied. Any tips appreciated.

Bro, I feel your pain. As much as I loved racing bikes, I absolutely hated the travel. The airport parking lot is a rip-off, TSA security is almost as enjoyable as a colonoscopy, you’ll need a HELOC to purchase a bottle of water inside the airport, and most Somalian refugee camps have a tastier selection of foods than airport food courts. And I won’t even get into the international rainbow of humanity you’re forced into close proximity with or the odors that accompany it. I always tried to read a book, listen to some type of audio entertainment, or watch a movie; anything to escape the fact that I was wedged tightly between two other people with questionable hygiene in a metal tube at 30,000 feet. There’s always alcohol or edibles to numb the pain, if that’s your thing. I can also tell you that there is a new show with Steve Lamson that just went live today… You’re welcome.

Do you have a burning question you need answers for? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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