@PING 23

Ping talks about "cocky guys" vs. "quiet guys," if Endurocross riders would stand a chance on a Supercross track, and how to get more growth in the sport of Motocross.

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Hey Ping,

Early in the Kiedrowski Whiskey Throttle episode you guys touched on the different personalities in our sport over the years. The “cocky guy” vs the “hard training, quiet guys”... Hannah vs DeCoster, Bradshaw vs Stanton, McGrath vs LaRocco, etc...

I would say our most recent version is Roczen vs Dungey and WOULD BE Roczen vs Tomac except for the fact that the big Anaheim 2017 crash really humbled Roczen and he’s obviously worked super hard to almost do a complete 180 as far as his racing personality. He’s now a way more conservative, almost Dungey like consistency (and even took it a bit too far if you ask me, backing completely away from any aggression). Anyway, question is, have you ever seen any of these other “cocky guys” through the years change as much as Roczen has? From almost being a win or crash type guy (not literally, but they tend to lean more that way than the quiet guys) to being the consistent 3rd place guy?

One other quick question, wouldn’t Forkner have saved his spleen last year with a sweet Fox kidney belt circa 1995? Bring ‘em back!!

Sincerely,
Cases-Even-the-Singles-Guy

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Single caser,

Yes, I have. Go back to the early 2000’s and listen to some of Chad Reed’s interviews. Whether on the podium or in the pits, he was opinionated, arrogant and didn’t give two squirts of piss what anybody thought about it. He usually backed it up with results, but he wasn’t gaining many new fans because of his attitude. He definitely fit into that category of brash, flashy, cocky guy. Flash forward a handful of years and Reedy lost the ego and became a fan favorite. He still called a spade a spade, but he learned to walk that line between cocky and confident, and that made all the difference for fans. What brings about these changes? Perspective. Reed was served helpings of humble pie by Ricky Carmichael and Roczen had an injury that was very nearly a career-ender. Competing with the best rider to ever swing a leg over a bike and almost losing your arm will change your way of thinking. 

Would a kidney belt have helped Forkner? I don’t think so; your spleen sits in the upper left quadrant of your abdomen, which is above where a kidney belt would cover. A chest protector, on the other hand, would have definitely lessened the injury. I say this all the time, but spare no expense protecting your torso and your head… those are the two anatomical areas that can get you killed. 

- PING


Dear Ping!

I’ve been a narrow-minded, hard-core motocross fanatic my entire life. Recently I watched the Endurocross from Glen Helen. I thought, what the heck, I’ll DVR this so my kid and I can laugh at these guys trying to ride over rocks... Holy crap dude, those guys were hucking stuff that makes the most rutted jump face with big kickers look like a speed bump! It got me thinking, and I’ll probably get lambasted for this, but with some practice and training, the top 2-3 guys in Endurocross could probably hold their own pretty good on a Supercross track. I just couldn’t believe how they were launching off of huge tires, boulders, concrete walls and telephone poles. Their technique seemed to have more roots in trials riding, but their balance and ability to grip the bike at their ankles was perfect (À la Ryan Hughes).  What do you think?

Jimmy Dean

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Jimmy,

First of all, I love your breakfast sausage. Second, it can’t be emphasized enough how amazing those Endurocross riders are; that sport is incredibly technical and difficult and those guys make it look easy. However, if those guys could make an easy transition to supercross, they would. As you mentioned, their strengths are more trials and off-road focused, but those skills will only translate so far into supercross. The primary difference is the speed at which things come at you, but everything from whoops to rhythm sections to cornering technique would be big hurdles for them to overcome. As technique in every discipline evolves and elevates, specialization separates each of them more and more. MXGP racers focus on motocross and they are the best in the world at the moment. American riders dominate supercross because that is our focus. Endurocross guys specialize in that segment and they are phenomenal in those tight arenas. GNCC guys are incredible in the woods, and WORCS racers are the quickest in the desert. Do you see the pattern? Crossover from one discipline to the other is becoming more and more difficult as time goes on, which makes it cool to appreciate the guys who are the very best in their area. 

- PING


Hey, 

Really enjoyed the MX KIED on TWTS! Anyway, SX/Moto is changing rapidly. Loss/gain of teams, manufacturers, scheduling, so:

1. Do we need a sanctioning body to be able to have races in stadiums and out in the pastures? If yes, can we make a new one that puts more into the sport? If no, can we make one that puts more into the sport? And by “we” I mean myself and the turd in my pocket (kidding). 

2. Marketing and winning on weekends is no longer paying the bills so how/what new ideas can fund racing? How does the industry make racing profitable in order to continue?

3. What are some of the expenses that can be reduced by the sport in order to lower bike costs to the consumer and lower costs to the factories? Does everyone really need a multi-million-dollar big rig? Or can they spend half the costs on 5 sprinter vans per team?

I don’t know the answers but the writing is starting to become heavily written on the wall if changes aren’t made soon. But then again motorcycle racing happened long before money was involved...

JL

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JL,

I don’t think the AMA is going anywhere, so I don’t have too much to offer on #1. Your second question is a good one though, and it’s a question we need to start spending some time finding answers for. Promoters are going to have to stop squeezing the puppy so tightly and let teams generate revenue at the races. Merchandise, for example, would provide teams with a significant revenue stream at each event that could be the difference between keeping a team going or packing it up and calling it quits like Geico Honda and JGR. Along those lines, allowing teams more latitude to activate with sponsors at the races would help. When Toyota sponsored the series, they wouldn’t allow RCH to have any Dodge vehicles outside their race truck footprint, which reduced their ability to promote their title sponsor. That is wildly short-sighted and it ended with Carey and Ricky closing up shop after winning a national title. 

To your third point, we’ve gone down a path with four-strokes that will never allow us to go back to a more affordable type of racing. And if you think it’s expensive now, wait until the electric revolution; that will shove us further into obscurity as only the wealthy will be able to participate, much like off-road truck racing or off-shore boat racing. Sprinters might save a little money, but the bulk of race teams’ expenses are personnel. In the “good ol’ days,” each rider had a mechanic and they went racing. These days, teams have suspension technicians, engine builders, transport drivers, team coordinators, team PR directors, and a crew chief who oversees the mechanics. Add up all their salaries, on top of the riders and the team manager, and you’re looking at a big nut to cover each and every month before you even go racing. I’d love to hear some thoughts in the comments section about ways teams could reduce budgets and still remain competitive. I’d love to see an open 250 class because I think 250 two-strokes would be a viable option for riders with smaller budgets. Let’s hear some ideas. Thanks for the letter, JL.

- 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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