Thank you for service as a firefighter. Thank you for your today comment about sticker shock from a new mx bike.  Weekly I look forward to reading it. The mail from your emails. Once I read a novice takes a break and comes back, aka, professional novice - besides the cost of bike, travels, gear and others sand bagging, it's a big turn off to get to the mx track and practice novice class with clearly non novices. Local tracks probably don't care if money is from public non protest, parents. / Question is this / would you like to grow skills by coaching help? Would you like to ride the Glamis dunes as a novice and just have clean fun on the quad? Would you like to gym until you could squat a tennis ball with two fingers and beat up a competition that slows you down from going to intermediate class?
Kind Sir Ping. Thank you for your time!         
Mark, Chandler AZ

Thanks for the letter and for being very polite in your question. I’ve got to be honest here, brother, I can’t make heads or tails of your thoughts/sentences/fragments. Squat a tennis ball with two fingers? It almost seems like you typed this out in Russian and then ran it through a translation app. I’d love to give you some solid answers but this shit is a hot mess, amigo. If you can sort out your thoughts a bit and send it again, I’ll give it another go. Happy Thanksgiving… or whatever they celebrate in Mother Russia.


I must say that I’m really happy to see (read) that you are still doing weekly Friday commentary, because, quite honestly, it gets me through the week. I manage construction projects and babysitting old men gets old after 5 days a week. Anywho, it seems to me that the new gig at Vital allows for some more “real” thoughts and feelings towards the Big Moto industry, and doesn't have the same political correctness aspect of Racer X column. I love Racer X but they are heavily involved in the guts of the industry (alas, be happy y’all are not in the commercial construction industry) and it’s real nice to see Ping Unleashed on Vital. Cheers bro. My question is, was your move inspired by the freedom of industry ties and not just Uncle Sam’s?
Lou from Philly

Lou Dog,
I’m happy to be doing it, my man. Let’s just say that egg shells are the new linoleum over there at my old place of work. When you control the nationals, Loretta Lynn’s, GNCC, and you have partners in all sort of places, it forces you to be very careful about what you say. There is definitely some freedom in being able to call things as I see them, which has always been my calling card. The guys here at Vital are pros, plain and simple. I’ve never understood the concept of hanging out with pro riders, texting them, and trying to be bros when you are supposed to write objectively about them. That stuff doesn’t happen in other sports, so it’s a little odd to see it in MX, and you see it often with many “Moto Journalists.” But, honestly, the main reason for my move was that it is a better fit for me here at this point in my life. There isn’t a nefarious plot behind it, it was simply time for a change. Thanks for supporting my work and I’ll see you here every Friday. Cheers!


Over the years we've heard the stories of racers that overestimated the longevity of their pro careers, and blew through their money not thinking about tomorrow. There must be some racers that are smart enough to invest their earnings. Does anyone coach these new pro riders on investing for the future? Besides the hand full of big-time pros who make millions and never have to work again, can you think of any examples of some of the smart journeyman pro's who've made some smart investments along the way?
Better than I deserve,
Numbers Guy

Unfortunately, the cautionary tales are far more common than those who’ve made intelligent decisions about their finances in motocross, and every other sport, for that matter. Here’s the problem we have: There are myriad agents in this sport who fight, argue, and negotiate for the best possible agreement for their riders. They put together deals from gear companies, goggle companies, outside sponsors, and teams and can generate some legitimate dollars for their guys. Once the ink is dried on the contract, however, the agent disappears like Houdini until it’s time to start talking about the following season. I spoke with Jimmy Button about this during his time on the Whiskey Throttle Show and he explained that agents can’t get involved with investing or money management due to legal issues and conflict of interest. That’s fine, but they can certainly, and absolutely should, steer them to a financial planner for some advice on what to do with their newfound wealth. There are definitely some riders who were smart with their money and have found new careers after racing. Damon Huffman, Nathan Ramsey and Broc Sellards are just a few guys who come to mind who’ve been smart with their money and moved into new careers in or out of the sport. Many of the stars of the late 1980’s and 1990’s used a man named Dave Stephenson to help them with their finances. He wasn’t an investing wizard, he just helped keep them from spending everything they were making, and they listened to him. Most of the riders who used him during that time period are financially stable today. This is a huge issue in our sport and hopefully as time goes on there is more emphasis placed on sound financial planning for these guys. Because when each of these riders’ careers are over it won’t be how much they made that matters, it will be how much they saved/invested.


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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