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Ping,

So, SX will be held in Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium without fans. Heard lots of talks over the past couple months about stadium availability and where they could go. Not to point out the obvious, but without fans then why do we need a stadium? What about a parking lot or a field or a POS track like MotoFiteKlub? Spend the money saved on the stadium for more purse money.  Glad SX will be back. 

L

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L,

You make a solid point and it would have been great for Feld to keep the purse the same [it’s been reduced, as has the points fund] and find ways to save money in other areas. You could literally run the series out at a college stadium, at a motocross facility that had dirt already there to build a track, or even in a parking lot as you mentioned. I suppose the one thing they are going for is a good optic for television, though I don’t know what an empty stadium will look like either. Honestly, at this point, I think we should all just be stoked they are closing out the series with the appropriate number of rounds. It would have been much easier, and cheaper, for Feld to call it a season and hand Eli a number one plate, though it might as well have just had a big asterisk on it instead of a digit. The series is basically at a dead heat between two champions who’ve never won a 450 supercross title. And, in theory, this could be their last chance to make it happen. If that doesn’t get you pumped to watch these last seven rounds, you need to check your pulse. 

- PING


Dear Ping,

 I saw your latest Celebrity-Private-Track and Prepped-Factory-Bike video on the KTM 150 SX at Cahuilla.  And Troy Lee set you up with a Disco Outfit for the occasion.  Please fill the mud-people in on how these opportunities for the pampered and famous come about.  How do you get a private track all to yourself?  Who gives you a primo ride to flog all day then dump off on your entourage?  Why does a video specialist film it all?  Who pays for all of this?  What did you get at Taco Bell on your way home?

 Us mud-people get booted off the track for the minibikes every hour and then the water truck comes around and we slip-and-slide until face-planting into a muck hole and we have no backup disco outfit so we ride around covered in slop.  Or maybe that’s just me.  But we all go to Taco Bell on the way home – been doing that since the 70s.

Eric 579-For-Life

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Eric,

You mud people and your Taco Bell fetish. SMH. I remember that day well, as I had been relaxing in my swimming pool shaped like a middle finger and filled with de-ionized sparkling water when I got the call about riding. It was the Vital MX boys and they had received an invite to a private rental at Cahuilla Creek, one of the finest dirt bike circuits in southern California. I confirmed that I was interested, but I had my list of demands. I was to be received by a Sikorsky S-76C++ helicopter with an internal temperature of exactly 76 degrees Fahrenheit and a reputable pedicurist aboard. I was in need of a nail trim and an exfoliating lilac scrub and I like to multi-task. The “disco suit” you speak of was sent to me earlier in the week, so I tossed my gear bag to the captain and, after a brief altercation with my neighbor about the rotor wash that swept his patio furniture and children into his swimming pool during landing, I climbed in. We were slated to test an immaculate KTM 350 that was massaged to perfection by the guys at Twisted Development. It made more horsepower than a stock 450 and looked like it belonged on the starting line of a supercross main event, or parked next to the Sikorsky in a mechanical engineering museum. Cole Seely even gave the bike a spin and, though he was busy peddling coffee and editing videos between sessions on the track, he seemed to like it. As the hours ticked by, other riders began heading home and, before long, the parking lot was desolate and the hills of the Cahuilla reservation were quiet, save for the sound of my pilot chatting up the Vietnamese pedicurist back at the helo. “Pipe down, Skipper,” I shouted, sharply. “I’m trying to capture the golden hour of cinema over here!” 

I was doing no such thing, I just didn’t approve of the help fraternizing with the, well, the other help. At that point our ace shooter, Brad Resnick, unloaded the KTM150. He wanted to get a few laps of pure, unadulterated, two-stroke music while there were no competing sounds in the area. Those next fifteen minutes were recorded, edited by Brad, signed off by my legal team, and posted online for your viewing pleasure. As I saluted the captain and climbed back into the Sikorsky, I reflected on what an enjoyable day it had been. I nested into my leather recliner, gave one last approving glance out the window as we lifted off, and proceeded to dig into my black bean Quesarito, a toasted cheddar Chalupa and a Code Red Mountain Dew… OK, maybe I had the Captain circle back to Taco Bell for a snack on the flight home… mud people aren’t the only ones who enjoy the delicious taste of Taco Bell!

- PING


Hey Ping,

The long debate of SX vs MX…  Which were you better in and which did you prefer? Also – what are your thoughts on which is more important for the industry and why? 

Thanks,

Spat24

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Spat,

I was definitely more of a supercross guy. I won four supercross main events and had a bunch of podiums over the years, but I can chop off my thumb and still count on one hand the number of national podiums I had… and I never even won a moto outdoors. It isn’t a mystery though; I wasn’t doing the right things to be good at motocross. Even when the weather is great, the nationals are a mud-fest. Practice is always a swamp and by the time the motos came around they would put a heavy coat of water on the track to keep the dust down. So, if you weren’t good in the mud, you had a prime seat on the struggle bus. I started racing in Montana, but most of my amateur career was spent in Arizona. They don’t have mud in Arizona. The dirt is so dry it just goes from dusty to standing water to perfect traction to dusty in a span of about fifteen minutes. And, if I’m being honest, I never purposefully went out and tried to ride in the mud. This, coupled with two blown out ACL’s early in my career, made it tough for me to thrive in the muddy, rutted nationals. Supercross was more technical, and that suited my style. 

Which is more important? Well, I think each of them have their place, and we would lose ground if either were to go away. Supercross is so much more fan-friendly, folks who otherwise would never see a dirt bike race can be exposed to it. The nationals are a lot of work and a lot of commitment. They are hot, humid, dirty and you’re rubbing elbows with humanity all day long. But you can also get right next to the fence and have your heroes throw dirt on you as they rip past. Motocross is the soul of the sport and it’s much more relatable to the folks who buy bikes and ride or race on the weekends. I get nervous when I hear chatter of Feld increasing the number of supercross rounds, because we are at a breaking point and more supercross would mean less motocross. They need each other for the heath of the sport, and I hope they can both see that.

- PING


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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