Page 16 - AZ Extreme - AEM Volume 7 Issue 4
P. 16

According to a recent Facebook post by Austin White (who
is ACP track owner Bobby White’s son), “You know Motocrossers are slowly destroying their own
sport. It’s pretty sad.” There are 163 comments on this already, 4 or 5 of them from me. It appeared to me that most people were not agreeing with him, most of them shifting blame one way or the other (me being one of them). But after reading through the comments & rants, on some levels Austin is right. The next generation
of motocrossers seems to be more worried about how they and their bike looks, than on really getting the skills necessary to make the sport more fun. When I started racing as a young 15- year old in Okinawa, Japan, I had no one to teach me, to show me how to ride. But it’s funny how that learning one thing can actually make you so much faster (for me, it was the fact that the faster you go, the smoother it gets.) I think the general attitude of some - not all - of today’s racers think they should get everything for free, just because
they race. That includes gate & practice fees, tires, gear, you name it, they think they shouldn’t have to pay for it just because they’re racers. As a matter of fact, I know guys who don’t race and just ride who have this attitude. So I don’t know what happened to the sport of dirt bikes that created this unrealistic view of things. When I was young, NOTHING was free - there were no discounts. I think one or two of the top local Pro riders got a little help, but that was it. Now everybody thinks they’re Eli Tomac or Marvin Musquin - maybe not the salary, but at least the bikes, or at the very minimum free gear “coz I’m a top 250 Novice and won the AMX State Championship or the Arizona Open”. Really?
What happened to the love of riding your dirt bike. I remember when I couldn’t wait to ride, no matter how bad my bike was, or how far we had to go to ride, or whether it was raining or not. Admittedly, I no longer have that desire to ride, and that for years I did it vicariously though my son Jason, but
I don’t see that passion out there any
longer, with a few exceptions. Even at the National level, you see more riders complaining and doing everything except what they should be doing: riding & training, and success at that level also applies to the local level:
a rider has to make that commitment
to the sport if he wants to excel. Both Malcolm Smith and the late Tom White had that drive and desire, they truly had the love of the ride itself. When you watch the classic  lm On Any Sunday, you see all the riders are smiling and having a good time, none of this Debbie Downer attitude.
Austin is right in one respect - you guys aren’t helping and furthering the sport. If you think you need to complain about the track conditions and how wet or dry it is, whether it was prepped to your liking, I think back on the early days of my career where we had no such thing as track prep or on Okinawa even a water truck. Once a year they’d loan us a bulldozer to cut some new track, but that was about it. And you know what? We loved it, we were having more fun than should be allowed
(even considering our 4” of suspension travel!). Our tracks varied between slippery when wet clay to hard pack, and we were there every chance we could get. So he’s right - stop pissing and moaning about each and every thing and start enjoying our wonderful sport.
I also notice that everyone seems to have the answer. I would be very happy to give me some GOOD ideas on how to get the participation up at our tracks. I don’t want to hear the tired old “lower prices, give more stu  away, or better track prep.” The tracks for the most part are like carpet now anyway. Today’s bikes are more than able to handle any track anywhere, and if you can’t get around a track on today’s equipment, it’s all in your head. The late Dale Earnhart was once asked what the most important part of being a good racers was, and he replied “Practice, practice, practice”.... and he was right. So I’ll be looking for your good ideas, and welcome them. Send them to Flames cheerfully ignored. v
Are Riders Killing Motocross?
By Dan Matthews, with Hal Sanguinetti
          16 Arizona EXTREME Motorsports

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