Ping talks about pros hypothetically racing themselves, a track in need of an owner, and doing everything you can to recover from injury.


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Which Tomac is faster? 2018 Tomac or 2021 Tomac? For this discussion I’d like to just look at motocross and leave supercross completely out of it. 2018 Tomac is blistering fast and hands down no one can catch him, one might say he’s in his prime. Put those two guys on the same bike who wins? Does 2018 Tomac beat 2021 Tomac because 2021 Tomac is older? Has he even peaked yet? Does 2021 Tomac beat 2018 Tomac because his bike is better? I know Eli did not win the title last year but my theory behind that was the season was too easy, lol. Not hot enough, shorter season, the list goes on. If that’s a normal season he wins no problem even with the DNF’s. Do you think Eli has become faster every season and, if so, how much of that has to do with the bike? How much has to do with skill progression? Or is 2021 Eli and 2018 Eli the same speed?  If they are the same speed, is the reason they are because actually Eli is getting slower with age but his bike improves each year? Also, you can use the analogy with any guy you want. I just was using Eli because he’s current and has been ripping for a while now.

Bored at Work



I’d say that the 2018 version was probably faster if you’re working off of lap times alone. What tends to happen over time is that riders become smarter and more efficient. The average male brain continues to develop until 25 years of age; consider that in terms of Eli’s career, or any other top rider, for that matter. You’re more likely to see testosterone, hubris and ego driving their riding when they’re young, slowly giving way to calculated, methodical riding as they age. Injuries typically reduce over the years and, in Eli’s case, a supercross title materialized. When he was on the Geico Honda he was so much faster than any other rider it was ridiculous. But he pushed when he didn’t need to, with a massive lead in Colorado he went down on his own and ended his season. An older, seasoned Tomac wouldn’t have made that mistake, but would have been content to maintain a manageable lead without any mistakes. James Stewart had this same issue but, in my opinion, he had so many concussions by the time he matured that it altered his later years. 

I don’t think the bike is much of a factor during that time period. If you jump from the two-stroke era to the four-stroke era, I think speed increased. In most cases, however, it’s likely a rider improving his race craft, tactics and training than it is raw speed. Thanks for the bench racing material. Merry Christmas!


Hey Ping!

Our local track closed down last spring when the couple that held the lease on the park decided to retire from running the track. I'm not sure how often you made the trip down to Tucson when you lived in Phoenix, but Tucson is a great town with a sizable off-road scene that also draws in riders from the rest of southern Arizona. And now, we're fresh out of a motocross park.  

I don't have details on how the lease works, but I do know that the county is actively looking for a new lease holder. I was hoping you could help get the word out into the world of moto to help us find someone. There's got to be someone out there who would like the chance to run their own motocross park here in Tucson. The person to contact for more information is Diane Frisch, from the Pima County Attraction and Tourism Department: 520-724-7353.  

Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
- Mark W



Thanks for sending this to me. If it’s the same venue, I raced down there a handful of times as an amateur and always had a great time there. As the only game in town, they had every rider in Tucson show up at one time or another. Running a motocross track isn’t easy work; the liability factor and raw labor required to make it work limit the number of folks who might be interested. Having said that, I hope this finds somebody willing to jump in and take the wheel. Racing certainly isn’t the only option we have when it comes to off-road motorcycles, but for those of us who love motocross, it is definitely the most fun. I like the occasional trail ride or adventure ride, but nothing beats burning laps when the dirt is good and the track is fun. Here’s hoping somebody steps up for all the racing fans in southern Arizona. 



At 53 I suffered a t11 and 12 compression fracture. Learned to walk again and two years later I’m back riding. The younger pros seem to be going again in a few months without noticeable problems. I still have all the good titanium installed… do they get theirs removed? How are they with pain? Questions I have always wanted to ask them but could not.

Bent but not broken


Stoked to hear you made a full recovery and you’re back on the bike. I don’t have first-hand experience with this, but I have buddies who do and I don’t recall them getting their rods removed. If I understand correctly, the vertebrae are fused and the rods are there to support the fused segments. Removing the rods would increase the likelihood of another fracture in that area and it could be a much worse outcome. If you’re having pain with it, I’d definitely have a chat with your doctor about it. I always encourage guys to go 100% in their rehabilitation; make sure you’re doing everything you can. Treatments like hot/cold hydrotherapy, FIR infrared saunas or mats, PEMF therapy [Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field] and E-stim/tens units like PowerDot are all scientifically proven and useful tools in injury recovery and management. Something I have learned over time is that when you have a big injury, or injuries, the rehab doesn’t end after a few months or a year or three years… you’re going to have to manage it forever. Arthritis is an unavoidable repercussion of racing motocross for any length of time. I have had three ACL’s replaced, broken dozens of bones and worn out just about every joint I have racing dirt bikes. As the Mandalorian would say, “This is the way.” Find some treatments that work for you, avoid prescription medications, and stay active. Best of 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.

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1 comment
  • profeshenal125

    12/25/2020 4:29 PM

    YES, another kick ass Pic. You Look like a young Jeff Ward, going after Barnett. Your test bike sounded mid to top rever. My 87 cr125 purchased on 11-18-89 my birthday. Had a NSR port job, which I knew nothing about. It had a beefy long mid range, I stacked 2or3 base gaskets. To move some pull on top. Funny how I started, go to a deep sand track. Rider is on a 89 cr125, just go catch him. He won 125 c races and went to 125a. I found that out the 3rd time we rode together. We filled are tanks, battled, then fill up again and battle. We just liked going really fast and bumping in corners. We only got mad, when one of us didn’t bring enough gas for 3 tanks at least.
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