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Ping opines about a Trans Am Series reboot, teams protesting other teams, and following pros around on open track days.

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Ping,

What are your thoughts on eliminating the outdoors National series that comes way too close to the end of the SX series and starting up the Trans Am series in the Fall? If it began after the MXGP series ended it could be marketed as the premier series by bringing the best of MXGP riders along with our National riders. Seems like it would allow the teams to prepare the bikes better for the outdoors and it would also allow the SX injury riders plenty of time to heal up for the Trans Am series.

Kennyt

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Kennyt,

This is actually a really interesting proposal. Let’s say MX Sports started the outdoor series in September and ran it through November, between 10 and 12 rounds. The positives would be an actual break for the riders and teams during the summer; riders could take a couple months off and still be well-prepared for the start of the motocross series. GP riders who wanted to come over and do some, ala the Trans Am series of the 1970’s and 1980’s, would have a clear schedule to do so, creating a true world championship. This concept is incredible on its face. However, there are some downsides. First of all, I think you’d see huge decline in crowds because you’d be having races in the fall when kids are back to school. Red Bud, for example, draws a huge crowd because they run on the 4th of July weekend and people from all over make a trip out of it. Obviously 2020 is an exception, but this year has been a dumpster fire from day one. Weather would begin to turn as well, so you’d have to run races early in the series up north and then head south as we got into October and November. This schedule would push up against the start of the supercross series, unless they would be willing to push the start back to later in January, so you’d basically be flipping the scenarios where teams are rushing to get ready for supercross. 

Personally, I love the idea, but there are some hurdles that would have to be cleared to make it work. Thanks for sending in the idea. 

- PING 


Hey Ping, 

Love the Whiskey Throttle Show and want to thank you, GL and Donnie for bringing us insight into riders' careers that we otherwise would miss out on if it was not for the hard work from you and the entire crew. I also want to thank you and GL for allowing us to look at your hooves for 3 plus hours during the Larry Ward episode. While I am all about the informality of your show, I feel that you may have taken it a step too far (pun intended). You couldn’t wear socks or at least some flip flops? I am surprised Larry didn’t throw you two off the loft. On to my question… I recently read about the protest from Star Racing on Chase Sexton’s fuel during SL7. While I understand money is at stake for the rider, but from a team perspective, what is the difference between 1st and 2nd place in the 250 SX championship pre-COVID 19? Is this something that is initiated by a rider, mechanic, team manager? Seems to me that Star may be reaching for something that isn’t there and stand to lose credibility should nothing come from the protest.   

Hats off and thanks to you and all of our first responders during these crazy times! 

Tom 

Tom,

Thanks for supporting the show! Regarding our feet, I was assured by our producer that the shot was tight enough that our feet wouldn’t show. Obviously, that wasn’t the case and you got to stare at my beat-up feet for three hours… sorry. 

Regarding the Star Yamaha incident where they protested the Geico Honda team for illegal fuel, I think you’re making a bigger issue of it than it is. First of all, protests happen often in motorsport when championships are on the line. Just today, Red Bull’s F1 team protested the Mercedes team for a steering system on their cars; when you have that many competitive and passionate folks involved these things happen. From what I understand, the Star team had heard credible rumors that the Geico Honda team was using an oxygenating agent in their fuel to compensate for the elevation in Salt Lake City. For those saying that a protest is no way to win a title, I would respond by saying that neither is cheating. The AMA was actually promising teams that they would step up and do more testing this year to make sure teams were staying inside the rules on weight, fuel, etc., but many in the paddock are disappointed that testing hasn’t been ramped up. Star was willing to put up the money and the Geico Honda fuel was found to be perfectly fine and within normal limits. No harm, no foul, and I’m sure that the Star team would congratulate Chase and his crew on a well-deserved championship. 

- PING


PING,

Those of us that have been around the sport for a while all know what happens when a pro or ex-pro shows up to a local track to spin some laps. Every cartwheel Kenny and flying Fred wants to see how they compare to one of the best in the world. Most people get behind the pro and try to follow their lines, only to quickly realize that they have about as much a chance of chasing down the pro as I do of chasing down a cheetah while wearing work boots. I like to get on the track behind the fastest guys because it usually gives me 6-7 laps of riding time before I have to worry about looking like Ricky Bobby in his return from injury as they lap me. However, there is always that one guy that insists on pushing their limits beyond what is logical and makes it dangerous for everyone around them, or at least, annoying for the pro trying to get in some seat time.

So, here's the question: What is the best story you have as it relates to this "guy?" I'm sure that after three decades of riding and racing you surely have had some interesting encounters with these types of riders.

Jeff

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Jeff,

The one incident that comes to mind is a kid on a super mini bike getting blasted at Glen Helen. He kept jumping in behind a local pro and following him for as long as he could. I have no issues with that at all, personally. In fact I think it’s a great way to learn from better riders. I always tell people that you’re fine if you jump in behind pro riders as long as you don’t jump in front of them or get in their way if they are trying to do a moto. Well, this kid was doing it right and jumping in behind the pro rider and trying to follow him for as long as he could. When he would lose enough ground that he couldn’t see the pro any longer, he would cut the track and jump back in behind him. Where it went wrong was when he started darting from one section of the track to the other without making sure the track was clear. He cut off from one section and, without ensuring the course was clear, he was jumping on a different section behind the pro. Just as he did, a rider on a 450 who was right behind the pro rider at that point, center punched the kid and sent him flying. I happened to be sitting on the side of the track sorting out some arm pump and watching the whole thing unfold right in front of me. Luckily, the kid wasn’t hurt badly, though he did take a finger wagging from the guy on the 450. 

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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