Ping gives his thoughts on Thomas Covington, riding fundamentals, and if we should or shouldn't be riding in this current situation.

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Hola Ping 

Can you tell us what the crack is with Thomas Covington? The geezer was flying a couple of years back in the Grand Prix's and was a potential MX2 champion and race winner and podium guy. Signs up to go back to the States and scratch that Supercross itch only for it to go completely Pete Tong, and then sits out for the outdoors where he would've definitely been a favourite for moto wins and podiums and it doesn't happen for the lad there either. Now he is back in Europe, I was hoping for a comeback of strong rides to get the confidence back on familiar tracks. But the first two rounds were not good and there hasn't been a lot of news of what is happening in the camp. I've heard he is living in England so I just hope he isn't down the pub sipping real ale and playing darts for money with the locals and then going out and ending up in club somewhere off his nut dancing to hardcore house music with no shirt on then ending up in the kebab house for full a mixed dinner with chili mayonnaise and a free can of coke. If he isn't...then get on it Tom...no racing for a while now so have it large down in London town in Fabric or Ministry of Sound! Get it rocking kid then get back on it at the races! 
Cheers Ping 


I’m reading your email with a British accent thicker than the cigarette smoke at The Red Lion pub in Westminster, and maybe that’s why some of it sounds like gibberish. Still, you make a good point. We all had our fingers crossed for Tom when he came back, but we knew the transition to supercross wouldn’t be an easy one; it was tough to watch. Then, before the outdoors could offer him a chance to redeem himself, he contracted chronic fatigue, or something similar, and his season was over just like that. 

I can’t speak to what happened at the first couple GP’s, but I know that a rider doesn’t just lose his speed for no reason. It will just take one good ride for Big Air Tom to get his mojo back, we just don’t know when he’ll get that opportunity. Strange times for all of us. I’ll pass along the invite to London Town.


I grew up racing bmx, and so much of my dirt bike style comes from that arena, though it’s applied on single track in the PNW. While it worked for McGrath, I’m struggling with a few “basics,” and could use your help!

First - elbows up! I understand it and use it, but my wrist has a stopping point. The more I twist the throttle, the more my right elbow drops. I’ve always thought Trey Canard was a master at this, so how does that work?

Second - balls of your feet! When I’m standing up, gripping the bike with my knees and standing on the balls of my feet, how do I shift? I find myself putting all of my weight in my right foot and sliding my left boot up to shift, which feels a bit gooney to me.

Watcha got for me?


This is much easier to go over in-person, but let’s do our best. The key to keeping your elbows up is the re-grip. When you have the throttle closed off all the way, your right elbow should be pretty high. That way, when you twist the throttle, your elbow will drop, but to a reasonable level. Keep in mind that your elbows don’t need to be pointed at the sky, you just don’t want them taped to your hips. The concept is that you are in a position that allows you to push away from the bars effectively when you get thrown forward. Work on the re-grip.

Riding on the balls of your feet is important, but it doesn’t mean you don’t come off them. In order to shift and brake, your feet have to move around. The movement of your feet should be soft and subtle, and you’ll notice that you’re moving them often. Where it’s very important is down long straight-aways that are bumpy, rutted, or jump-filled; in these situations, you’ll have significantly more control of the bike if you’re on the balls of your feet. It also gives you an additional bit of cushion on jumps and bumps because you can hinge at the ankles, which isn’t possible if you’re standing on your arches. Try to shift sooner as you exit corners and get into the gear you want to be in. This way the shifting is done while sitting and you can immediately stand and get on your arches. Modern bikes have so much torque you can grab a couple gears and the bike will pull it. 

Hope that helps. It’s going to take some time to get comfortable with it, but these techniques will give you more control.

Hi Ping,

I am an orthopedist in San Diego whose primary hobby is Moto (riding and a fan) and skiing. I am asking for your help with leaning on our Moto ‘brothers’ to not be riding at this time. My fear is many will be out of work with free time and figure let’s go ride - I don’t blame them. But they put themselves at unnecessary risk (& others indirectly because of a lack of supplies and man power at the hospitals) and potentially sub-optimal medical care if they get injured. Currently, we are only taking care of our post-operative patients and new patients with emergencies (fractures and infections). No elective care at all, office or surgery. As you are aware being a first responder, we do not need unnecessary medical work at this time - which I would consider from Moto accidents at this time as such...

If the shit hits the fan, like our colleagues in Seattle and other countries have warned us via direct communication, we will need every resource possible. A friend in Seattle has warned me, “you have seen nothing like this, it is a living hell.” We are being told by our hospital system (Scripps Health) as are many others to be ready to work outside of our specialties, ie orthopedist working in ICU and such. This carries with it two potential problems for the public with orthopedic injuries - care they may otherwise get will not be available or they get ortho care by non-ortho docs if the work force gets ‘thin’ enough. My request is that you make this very clear on Vital and share with your contacts at Racer X, Mx Action and whatever means you think useful. I would be happy to discuss with you of helpful, feel free to call me. I actually had the pleasure of talking to you in person at A1 in 2018.

Jake Hamer


Well, that is certainly not what any of us want to hear, but I get it. And thank you for the note. As more and more people contract this virus it will continue to overwhelm our medical system, likely to a point never experienced before. I’m going to spend my free time the next few weeks hanging out with my family at home. If we’re trying to find a silver lining here, this could be the slow down that we’ve all wished for. How many times have we complained about how busy we are and how we wished we had more free time? Well, now you have it. Read a book. Play cards with your kids. Watch a movie on the couch. If you need me, I’ll be trying to learn the “Renegade” dance from Tik Tok with my girls.

Do you have burning questions that need answering? 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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