@PING 11

Ping explains which bike to buy, even more solutions to the "lapper problem," and why getting some professional help with your riding is a great investment.

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


After 20 years out of the sport I’m looking to get a new bike this year.  I was an A rider from Michigan back in the day, where my claim to fame was that I got my butt kicked by both Nick Way and Kelly Smith. After going down the road of drugs life fell apart. It was only after our Lord apprehended me that life began to be put back together and today, I’m a pastor working with troubled kids (and their troubled families). After racing a couple of team hare scrambles with my brother, a cop (yes...life was interesting in our family for a while), I’m really wanting to get back into riding and racing. I bought my two boys a klx110 to start to learn on and will be getting a second one for my older boy this spring. I recently joined an MX club that operates a track about 10 minutes away and my plan is to try to get a new bike sometime this year. I’m torn between the CRF450R and the CRF450RX. I’ve always been a moto guy, but all of my old crew are racing cross country and enduro these days. I want to be able to ride with them, but I have a moto track 10 minutes away and I don’t want to lose performance during motocross races with an off-road bike. I realize I’m kind of anal about these things and at 45 it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I can still go fast and want to be competitive. How much am I going to lose on a moto track with an RX? Or should I just tell my wife that the only reasonable solution is to get one of each? Then I’ll have to move in with you. Blessings 

Misfit Priest 



First of all, it’s great to hear you’ve got your life headed in the right direction. Often times the most effective help comes from folks who’ve been through issues themselves, and it sounds like you’re right where God wants you to be. Keep it up. Oh, and if you want to piss your brother off, tell him that maybe when he grows up, he can become a firefighter… he’ll love that. 

The RX is pretty off-road specific, so while you can still ride it on a moto track, you’re not going to be able to go as fast for as long. I don’t know how big you are, but I’d highly recommend a YZ250FX to meet all your needs. We just finished testing one of ours that was built into a 270cc Race Shop Build and it was amazing; go check out the video to see for yourself. It is capable in any off-road setting, but you can also rip it on a moto track and feel like you have a motocross specific bike underneath you. Don’t let the displacement fool you; I guarantee you’ll be able to go as fast or faster on the 250 and you’ll be able to ride for longer and be have more control than on a 450. Check your ego at the door of the dealership… you’ll thank me later. And if you have to get a 450, pick one or the other because I don’t have room for another roommate.



The lapper solution is easily solved: At the 5-minute mark, the last 3 riders are blacked flagged, and placed 22,21,20 on how they cross the line. At the 10-minute mark, the next three are blacked flagged and marked 19,18,17. You now incentivize the privateers to truly race at the back of the pack instead of saying “Well, I made it in the main event, let me just finish and put it on my resume.” This would also probably cause faster lap times at the back of the pack making it harder for the leaders to catch them. Plus, it’s another thing for the announcers to hype up if the racing at the front is follow-the-leader and no action. You can send my consulting fee to the AMA for this.  

Thank you, 
The Lead Problem Solver! 


Problem Solver,

I’ve always been a proponent of black flagging anybody that gets lapped twice, but I like your idea better! The incentive is there for them to keep racing hard, which is better for the lapper situation itself AND for the fans. The only issue I can foresee is that somebody at the AMA will have to be in charge of this, and they’re already pulling guys off on the white flag, sticking guys in the main who didn’t qualify and letting Vince Friese knock down title contenders like a goon in the Stanley Cup.

Still, I’d love to see them give this a shot at the Monster Cup (If that comes back) and see how it works. If and when this policy is adopted, you’ll be given full credit for the idea and carried onto the start straight for opening ceremonies to receive an award and a hug from every rider who’s ever been knocked down by Vince or screwed up by a lapped rider. It will be glorious. However, I should warn you that this idea will likely disappear into the abyss of the internet where it will be lost forever and never acted upon, like so many other brilliant ideas before it. Round pizza boxes, shoes with built-in socks, and ketchup and mustard blended into one delicious, orange sauce in a bottle come to mind. Who has time to squeeze two separate bottles?! See you on the start straight at A1.


Hey Ping, 

I was curious if you attended riding schools while coming up through the ranks. Also, do you recommend attending them? I feel like MX is kind of like golf; You will only get so far with a homemade swing.




Yes, I did attend riding schools as a kid, and I think it is an important part of creating a solid foundation of technical fundamentals, upon which you continue to build. I had a local pro racer in Montana by the name of Steve Handl who gave me my earliest lessons. Those got me to a good place from a local and regional standpoint, but I needed to continue to learn. I came to California in 1987 and did a weeklong class with Russ Darnell. Again, I learned valuable lessons about starts, ruts, training, and why Cap’n Crunch isn’t the right food to eat for breakfast on race day. I’m still not sold on that last one. 

The next classes I attended were the Tony D classes that were free with the purchase of a Suzuki motorcycle. Bob Hannah was a guest instructor at one of those and I still remember some of the things he taught me. After that I just latched onto the fast guys who lived near me; I was in Scottsdale at the time, so I rode with Button, Gaddis, and Kalos as often as I could and soaked up everything I could. Sometimes just watching a good rider do something correctly and emulating it is the best learning tool. I was lucky to have those guys around to show me the right way around the track. You want more proof that you need coaching? I’ve never had a golf lesson in my life. Not one. Despite periods of time where I golfed regularly, a sweet set of Ping golf clubs (of course), and about a million range balls, I’ve never shot under 100 legitimately. As a result, I gave up on golf and only play when my buddies make me… and I drink heavily between holes to keep from getting angry. Sounds like a blast, right? Trust me… find a good coach and take a lesson. Your liver will thank you.


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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