It seems like the only media in the sport now is results from MX and SX. Could this be part of why the sport is declining? Other action sports like mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding pump out great media all year long besides race results. The other sports appeal to fans, outsiders and sponsors besides the Ricky Racers with aspects of the sport like video parts, freeriding, park, x country and trials. All of that exist in the dirt bike world but get very little media attention.

Not to mention that skiers and MTB riders are going bigger on natural jumps than the biggest names in MX/SX. I haven’t seen a star that the gen pop thought was badass since MC in his Steel Roots days. Are mainstream sponsors leaving because the sport's gone too jock? 

Sorry for the hating,
Ole’ Grumster

Grumpy as hell,

That’s a whole truckload of discontent in just a couple paragraphs. I also think it’s laced with horse excrement and topped with a splash of delusion. First of all, fans want the race results, so media outlets give the fans what they want. It’s the same reason four-strokes have thrived and the same reason there are multiple, successful podcasts/reviews that re-hash the same race results from the previous weekend ad nauseum. But saying that is all that’s being offered is simply wrong. Vital MX, for example, has social media features, Bike of the Week (which focuses on fan builds), my project builds titled Vital MX Race Shop builds, my @PING column (which you wrote into), The Inside Line podcast, product tests, product introductions, new bike introductions, and so on. None of those things are associated with race results. 

I will agree that other disciplines of riding don’t get the coverage they might deserve, and we have something new here that we’re working on to fill that void. Off-road, Supermoto, adventure, etc. aren’t as sexy and have been neglected by all motocross media. But, again, the masses want to know who signed what contract and what Ken Roczen’s wife thinks they should eat for lunch, so the TMZ’s of the moto world swing into action and bring you the “breaking news.”

As far as your last statement, that moto riders aren’t going “as big” as skiers and bicyclists, well, I’m wondering if you’ve been smoking peyote for several days straight. Have you seen anything that Axell Hodges has done the past couple years? What about Tom Pages? And while MC was larger-than-life, I would suggest that Ken Roczen has a global fanbase that would rival Jeremy’s, as does Chad Reed. 

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There are lots of options for moto entertainment, and you should check them all out! As GuyB recently said, there’s no need for tribalism in motocross; you don’t have to hate one just because you like the other. You don’t strike me as a glass-half-full kind of guy, but let me suggest this: Maybe the glass isn’t half empty, perhaps you just need a smaller glass? Or lithium. Try lithium.



Do you miss the Golden State Nationals (as they were in the '80s/'90s)? Do you have a favorite GSN moment (whether your raced or not)? Were Bridgestone M22’s really that good on hardpack or is that before your time? Speaking of hardpack, why is that an ancient memory on today’s national tracks? Is it possible our U.S. riders have had too much chocolate cake?



I don’t know if I look at the past through rose-colored glasses, but that was an amazing time in our sport. I started going to those races in 1988, and it was like showing up to a National at times. Wardy, RJ, Lechien, Bailey, Magoo, Matiasevich, McGrath, Lawrence, and every other big name in the sport were racing! The test tracks weren’t watered and local tracks weren’t open every day for practice and fully-groomed, so racing was the best way to get on a decent track and shake down your equipment. Those gave way to the GFI series and the Trans-Cal, both of which were also well-attended. Most of my memories are from Glen Helen or Perris, since those were the closest rounds for me driving in from Arizona. I do remember a race in Marysville in 1991 where I was racing 80 Expert. I think I was battling with Spud Walters, who was a fast local at the time. The track was sandy and rough and really fun. I believe I won that day, but the track and race stand out in my head as one of the best. I also had good battles the following year with Craig Decker, Mike Metzger and others that were really fun. 

I remember the M22… it was only good at Carlsbad Raceway or other tracks whose dirt was harder than woodpecker lips! And, even then, you’d be sliding around in practice until the mud dried out. That place went from slimy mud to amazing traction to blue-groove in about a two-hour time span, so you’d hope one of your motos fell in that window. That was a different time. In an effort to make spectating better, and make the racing surfaces more conducive to passing, tracks have all been prepped the same with softer materials brought in to hold moisture better. This is great except that we really have lost some of the skill required to race on all conditions. I think this is an area where GP riders have blown past us; they still have shitty, hard-pack conditions from time to time. To answer your question, like a fat kid with diabetes, we’ve had too much chocolate cake. 



On your latest Whiskey Throttle Show with Jessy Nelson you were talking about helmet studies. You both said something about a test that you couldn’t talk about and it has been driving me crazy… what do you know?! This is important information that needs to be put out there. The motorcycle community deserves to know what is marketing and what really works. Let’s have it.

Mark O’Tally


A couple years ago, TLD bought $30,000 worth of helmets from all his competitors. He had spent years designing the SE4 to the best of his ability, knowing that his son was getting faster and wanted to race professionally. The test was done by a separate third party and compared as many aspects, types, and speeds of crashes possible. I pushed to publish the results back then, but it’s more complicated than that. Troy still paints other brands of helmets for different athletes, and he didn’t want to alienate his competitors. A second round of testing was done last week, using the same formula and the same third-party company. I haven’t seen the results, but I’m going to try, once again, to have them published. As I mentioned in the show, there are a couple brands you expected to perform well who did, and others who did not. We are hoping to do a show in the near future focusing on safety and bringing on guests to speak to the current innovations and the direction we need to go in the future. Until then, I’ll see what I can do to post those results. 


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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