@PING | 350s to replace 450s? First Aid? Horsepower on 125s, past and present 13

Ping chats about whether the 450 class should (and could) be a 350 class, what first aid kits and training we should all have as riders, and 125 HP numbers from past factory bikes compared to modern machines.

@PING | 350s to replace 450s? First Aid? Horsepower on 125s, past and present

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

Hey Ping,

Lots of talk recently in the industry about how to make professional racing better and I thought I'd throw my 350 cents into the arena. I liked the previous column's recommendation that the 250 class have a production rule to level the playing field, my advice for the premier class? As you may have guessed, utilize the excellent 350 platform and rein in some of that horsepower. I think everyone tends to agree that the big bikes make so much power now, it's become difficult to build tracks that challenge the riders without making it full-on deathcross. The 350 has been well received; it's light, fun, still makes over 50 hp, and uses the majority of the same parts as its larger counterpart, so re-tooling wouldn't be a complete disaster for the Japanese factories. I'm sure everyone would feel like the Austrians would have an unfair competitive advantage for a while, but I don't doubt that the Japanese would bring something very competitive to the table rather quickly. Or, are we just married to the 450, content with our decision, but secretly wondering what could have been? 




Your concept has the same flaw as my idea of bringing back 125’s… We’ll never get manufacturer buy-in. When Honda put their big, red, stubborn foot down and said they weren’t making two-strokes anymore, that was the end of it. Suzuki brass is struggling to spell two-stroke at the moment, so they’re out. Kawasaki knows nobody will ever ride a 125 faster than Bubba did on his KX, so they have no motivation to go back. And they would argue against a CC reduction due to retooling costs and added R&D cost. 

Our problem is that we rely on the manufacturers like no other motorsport does. Plain and simple, motocross riders couldn’t make a living on purse winnings alone. We rely on the manufacturers to fund the race teams, put up the rider’s salaries AND pay bonuses for race results and championships. If the manufacturers decide they don’t want to spend millions on this circus anymore, our sport collapses. That gives them all the leverage in the negotiating room, so any ideas we have that don’t benefit them are going to be flushed like a post-coffee turd. JGR, among others, have tried the “NASCAR” model of funding through outside sponsors and just leaning on the manufacturer for bikes, parts and access to works equipment and it didn’t work. I’m of the opinion that if JGR couldn’t make it work, it will never work. So, we’re stuck in our weird, enabling relationship with the Japanese and Austrian companies where our entire existence rests in their marketing budget. Long story short… I’d get used to seeing 450’s on your dealership floor.


Hey Ping,

With you being a first responder plus a rider, what type of first aid kit should we have with us while we ride (either on us or in the vehicle) trails or at the motocross track? What type of first aid/CPR training do you recommend and where should we get our training from? Any other information to help First Responders do their job easier would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,
James (Jim) Boreman
Charlotte, NC



Great question, James. I never used to give a moment of thought to this kind of thing when I was racing, and I was short-sighted. And just short, as well. Here’s a few things I keep in mind after a decade of working as a paramedic with the fire department. 

  • Always know the address to where you’re riding. If you have to call 911 for somebody, first responders need to know where to go. This should be the first thing you do if somebody gets hurt badly. 
  • If the rider is unconscious or complaining of neck/back pain, don’t take his helmet off. Remove his goggles and try to keep him from moving. Encourage him to focus on his breathing to keep from hyperventilating and assure him help is coming. 
  • Attend an AHA (American Heart Association) certified class on CPR. Over the years, there have been many changes to this process, so be sure you’re up to speed. You can find YouTube clips showing proper technique if you don’t have time for a class. In reality, getting pulse to return on a traumatic full arrest patient is highly unlikely. 
  • First aid kit should include: Sam Splint and swath (sling) for fractures, medical tape and gauze, Benadryl tablets (for allergic reactions), Motrin, cold pack, butterfly bandages, and Gu packs (or other sugar replacement product for hypoglycemia). If you are riding with a diabetic, always make sure they have a Glucagon injection kit as a last resort; this is particularly important for off-road riders who travel long distances away from the pit area. 

That is a very basic kit that should cover the vast majority of injuries you’d see at the track. I’d also recommend that you try to keep as calm as possible, if only on the outside. We have a saying… “It’s not our emergency.” The minute you get spun up, you start adding to the problem rather than deescalating it. Often times a calm, rational voice can make a huge difference on scene. 

When I broke my femur in 1996, I was banged up pretty badly and I started to hyperventilate on the floor of Qualcomm Stadium. Wyatt Seals, a mechanic at the time, came over to me and helped me stay calm and focus on keep my breathing controlled. It made a huge difference and I always appreciated that and try to do the same for other patients. 

Good luck and be safe!


Random question, how would one of your PC race bikes from the 90’s compares to a current 125, or 150?




I actually asked Mitch this recently on my show. I was wondering how much horsepower the Peak Hondas made vs the bikes I rode in the mid-1990’s vs a modern 125. Mitch said that while those Hondas were amazing at the time, we had eclipsed the power they were making by quite a bit during my time at Pro Circuit. Our race bikes from ’95, ’96, ’97 still made more power than a stock bike from today. Having said that, there is a lot of room for improvement on today’s stock machines, and the YZ125 he built me last year with the RV cylinder/head/exhaust setup was as good as any race bike I ever had (with the exception of overrev, which is because we had a stock ignition on the bike). That kit is available, by the way, and it's worth every penny. You can’t put the 150 in the same category because while it may not seem like a big CC difference, it is when it’s on the track. The torque alone makes it feel like a different bike. I hope this clears things up! Have a great weekend!


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.

Show More Comment(s) / Leave a Comment