Ping yammers about the rumor mill for next year, purse money for riders, and how many hours it would take to ride like the pros.

@PING is brought to you by Troy Lee Designs, Eks Brand, and VP Racing Fuels.

Hey Ping,

It’s heavily rumored that Justin Barcia will be on a different team for next year. What options do you think he’s looking at right now?  If he gets on an Austrian bike are we going to see a whole new Bam Bam? Also, what about AP? Is he going to stick with Yamaha or is he on the move too?

Garrett Rice 



It looks like Barcia is signing with the Troy Lee Designs/GasGas team for 2021, so I guess that makes it an Austrian bike, technically speaking. I’m very interested to see how he does on the different bike; if the environment is right and he’s happy with the bike, Justin could be poised to have his best year in the premier class ever. The great news is that those motors make power at a very high RPM range, so JB can rev the thing like he’s trying to blow it up and it’s still going to work for him. 

Aaron is going to stay for the last year on his Yamaha contract. While I had heard that he wasn’t super happy with the situation this year, he’s got to be loving the new plan for Yamaha’s factory team… it’s being run by Star Racing in 2021. That’s like going back home for Plessinger and I’m hoping it helps build some momentum for him. AP has way more under the hood than what we’ve seen so far. Add Dylan Ferrandis to that mix under the Star Racing 450 tent and you have a very potent team. 



Why does it seem that the purse money, especially for SX, is stuck in the ’70s? Adjusted for inflation, it’s actually less than what riders were making before. I know the factory guys get bonuses etc. but, man, if last place in a main event paid even $2K, it would really help a lot of guys put a better program together. I’m sure you’ve been quite busy with the fires, thanks in advance. 




This is a great question that you should copy and paste into an email to Feld and MX Sports. There is a struggle between riders and promoters over who is helping whom. The riders say that these promoters wouldn’t have an event if they didn’t show up, so they need to be paid better. The promoters say that without their events, riders wouldn’t even be able to make a living. So, who’s right? I think there is a compromise that can be reached, but who will stand up and take that argument to the promoter? So far, nobody, so the purse money looks more like numbers you’d see at a Vietnamese cockfight in a downtown LA parking garage. Promoters aren’t going to throw more money at the riders out of the kindness of their hearts, somebody has to advocate for it. A rider’s union has been discussed ad nauseam over the years, but nobody has grabbed the reins and made it happen. You may see small, incremental improvements to the purse over the years, but real change won’t come without some proper negotiations. 


Hey Pingster,  

Around this time last year I bought my first brand new bike. It now has a total of 37.4 hours on it. I also bought a brand-new truck, which now has roughly 500 hours on it. This got me to thinking, I’m a father of three and weekend warrior when I get the chance, I have seen some progress on my speed and skill even with that low of hours on my bike, but not much. How many hours a year would you think a pro level rider is putting in on the saddle? And if I won the lottery and found the same amount of time, how long before I’m no longer a slow vet C rider? 

Thanks for all you do! 
Slow Vet guy, pass with care. 


Vet guy,

Most pros are riding three times per week during the season, riding over an hour and a half at speed each day. Off-season could be slightly more or less time on the bike, depending on the rider. Add in race weekends and they probably land somewhere around 100 to 150 hours per year. Keep in mind, it took countless hours of riding from the time they were kids to get to this point, so it’s cumulative. So, for you to get to their level, you’d have to put in 150 hours per year for the next decade. You’re also older than they are, so you wouldn’t be willing to take the chances they are, which would certainly limit your advancement. So, you have to factor that in. All in all, I’d say by 2030 you’d be ready to kick some ass in the 50-plus class at Mammoth or Loretta Lynn’s. Good luck.


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.


View replies to: @PING


In reply to by superkook

In reply to by superkook

The Latest