@PING

@PING is brought to you by Troy Lee Designs, Eks Brand, Boyesen, and SKDA.

Hey Ping,

Loving The Whiskey Throttle Show and all your work in the industry as always. Quick question here... after seeing the young likable Jett Lawrence take a Mike Tyson-like handlebar to the jaw at Indy 2 practice, then wadding himself into a 2nd bloody nose and loose visor 3 hours later, I’m wondering if supercross has a mandatory concussion protocol with the teams and/or medical staff like the NFL? I know some will call me a snowflake pansy and boast stories of how Hannah rode motos with a severed head and such, but I saw a young man with a long and awesome career ahead of him possibly throw some of that away by continuing to ride Tuesday night. I mean, I love his grit and determination as much as anyone, but I was glad he didn’t ride the main (shoulder injury or not). Long story short, is there an “enforced” concussion protocol for these guys?

Thanks,
TN Snowflake 

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Snowflake,

That’s an excellent question, but it’s one without a great answer. There was an individual working on that program, specifically, who was also a long-time member of the medical team. He was let go several years ago after “making too much noise” about things that were agreed upon by promoters and not followed through with. When this person was let go, the concussion program was taken over by somebody else, but it is a much looser program now. Riders were required (don’t know if they still are) to take an IMPACT test prior to the season to get a baseline score while uninjured. This is a cognitive test taken online that scores reaction time and memory, among other things. Athlete’s baseline scores are recorded and when a rider does get a concussion, they have a score to compare themselves against. The “protocol” is that they don’t return until they are within a negligible number of points from their baseline. However, the medical team doesn’t want to be the one telling riders they can’t race. They make a recommendation and the rider makes his own decision. I don’t think it makes you a snowflake or a pussy to expect riders to make good decisions for themselves, and I think Jett made the right call. He got through the LCQ but decided it wasn’t worth it to start the main. There’s no question he had good people in his ear helping him put emotion aside and make the right call for his future. Every rider needs good people in their corner to help them make the same important calls when the time comes. 

- PING


Ping,

Reality check? Perhaps there would be fewer lappers if the playing field was a little more level. Do we really want to compare a privateer bike to a factory bike? You’re a pretty smart dude, but let’s not play the “get the f@#k out of the way” card with the current rule book. Maybe someday the powers that be can balance out an equipment standard that works for every rider and team. #productionrule

Your friendly privateer,
Austin Squires 

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Austin,

Friendly privateer? You sound like a flat-chested Miss America contestant who never could seem to make the finals, no matter how well she played the harpsichord in the talent competition. First of all, Dean Wilson started all this lapper debate when he effected the outcome of the race in Houston; Last time I checked he was still on a factory Husqvarna, which puts a big dent in your “Life’s not fair” theory. 

I guess you’d like to see the production rule expanded to include any and all parts not made available to the general public? The fact of the matter is, and you should know this, the parts don’t matter nearly as much as the personnel setting the bike up, and that field will never be leveled. Factory teams spend a lot of time and money personalizing the bike to their rider, and that’s what makes the difference. If you think that Roczen is winning because of some shiny parts on his bike, well, you don’t know your ass from your elbow. In this sport, and others, and even in life, things are not always fair. Sometimes you have to work harder on lesser equipment to prove yourself and earn a seat at the big table. If you’re ever staring at the bottom of a handle of Jack Daniels trying to figure out why you never made it further in your racing career, you might consider your attitude on this topic. There have been plenty of privateer riders who’ve landed on the podium, or won, and went on to have successful factory jobs. I can promise you they didn’t sit around sending emails about how unfair the system is; they went to work and made it happen. As they say during the rider’s meeting… If you’re being shown the blue flag, it means there is a race going on, and you’re not in it. Get the F$#@ out of the way!

- PING


Ping,

I have a question about Austin Forkner. Instead of him spending his money on fancy headphones, monster energy girls, frosted tips and all that bling maybe he should invest all that money on something he can really use, like an ambulance and a crew for it. He would certainly keep them busy. Maybe Mitch Payton needs to sit down with Ricky Bobby Forkner and tell him he does not need to win every practice and race. But here again he can always fall back on that 9th grade education he has. 

Thanks, 
B. Hunt

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B. Hunt,

Funny thing, I can’t find a question anywhere in your angry little rant about one of the most talented riders in our sport, who happens to be trying so hard to win that he’s had a string of unfortunate injuries. So, you don’t have a question, you’re brimming with jealousy and you have an axe to grind. Austin is an extremely talented young kid who is making his mistakes in front of a very big, very fickle crowd. If he’s not on top of the leader board in practice, the internet minions decree that he is washed up. If he tries too hard and crashes, he’s an idiot who shouldn’t listen to headphones or style his hair, apparently. It’s this exact bullsh*t that is toxic and has no place in our sport. And you close it out by taking a jab at his education! Wow. Well, I’m not sure where you got your degree, but Austin will have enough money in the bank when he’s done racing that he can afford any school he chooses to attend. Maybe, once he graduates, he can explain to you how to properly ask a question? 

- 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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