By Jody Weisel

We can’t always defeat the enemy, often because he is us. That said, it is important that motocross at least make a serious effort to recognize the insidious cultural influences, organizations and policies that, if left unchecked, could radically change the way we do things. Which, by the way, is obviously wrong (but let’s leave that for another day).

The AMA: The greatest threat facing the sport today is the AMA (which paradoxically has the word “American” in its name, but seems incredibly pinko to me). The last organization to hand down rules by fiat, refuse to communicate with the press, punish unfairly, operate by nebulous laws and dress in matching uniforms was formed in a beer hall. Every ten years or so there is reorganization of the AMA’s mission. Reorganization is a nifty corporate way of saying that the current group of morons did the job wrong, so let’s hand it over to the idiots in the other room. But, let’s not rush to judgment. We need to give every new generation of AMA chiefs an opportunity to mess things up in the name of consistency. Blah, blah, blah. Take my word for it, “The fish stinks from the head.” Okay, don’t take my word for it, take my mother’s word (she’s the one who told me about fish, odor and the concept of permeable rottenness). It isn’t often that you find a major organization so unwilling to admit that it’s wrong—even though it’s standing on a mountain of smelly fish.

Two-strokes. I’m pretty sure that no one at the AMA has ever heard of them—except for when they devised the rules package, displacement formula and fuel specs guaranteed to make sure that no one watching an AMA event would ever hear of them either.

Dyno charts: MXA dynos every bike that we test. Sounds scientific, doesn’t it? To the geek in all of us, it is the fairest way to test the peak power of an engine. That’s true—if you are racing your CRF450 on a set of rollers that is slugging through a puddle of water. The great thing about dyno readings is that they present both sides of the story. First, test riders can use them to confirm exactly what they felt—and have a nifty piece of graph paper as proof. Second, they can contradict what the test riders felt—in which case that nifty sheet of graph paper can quite easily be crumpled up and thrown in the waste basket. Until dynos go to the starting line, they are a tool, not the answer.

Motocross gear: I’m not exactly sure when the starting gate of a motocross race first began to look like the graduation photo from Clown College, but I’m guessing Jeff Emig is somehow responsible. What are the clothing designers thinking? I let the consumer off the hook on this one because, as you know, their fashion sense includes wearing wool stocking caps in midsummer (talk about the fish stinking from the head). Does a pair of riding pants in red/yellow/blue paisley really fit in a sport whose founders wore animal skins? If I want to take a Rohrshach test, I’ll visit a shrink.

Sound: There is no doubt that bikes need to be quieter, and I have a plan. What the motorcycle industry needs to do is spend millions of dollars on an advertising campaign. It would have to have a catchy slogan like “Less Sound=More Ground.” All the magazines could run free public service announcements, bumper stickers would have to be printed, and the AMA would be required to get behind the movement. I can’t believe no one thought of this before. If only we had been smart enough to do this 40 years ago, bikes would be quiet today.


Modern pros: It is often said that drug abuse is robbing the nation of its brightest and best. Hardly! Drug abuse is nature’s way of culling the herd (much like lions are responsible for keeping the average speed of gazelles as high as possible). And the same holds true for the current crop of AMA Pros. They are responsible for lots of good things: They aren’t clogging up America’s schools. They keep Bentley dealers in business. For a bunch of guys who don’t have to be anywhere in particular on time, they are surprisingly responsible for Rolex’s healthy stock portfolio. They keep the overstock of really ugly mag wheels to a minimum. and they make team managers earn their salaries.

Good old dad: Factory riders in their teens come with parents (actually vice versa). Every kid needs the guidance of his parents. And, as it turns out, so do the team managers they ride for. The frustrations of parental interference led one unnamed team manager (Roger DeCoster) to say that in the future, “I’m only going to hire riders from orphanages.” I say poppycock! What could be more charming than a factory semi littered with the wives, girlfriends, manfriends, babies, fathers, uncles and aunts. It’s not like it’s a workplace or anything.

Television: A good television network has to find something to hang its hat on. For MTV, it was music videos. For Speed it was racing of all kinds. For TV news it isn’t what’s going on the world, its what’s going on in the newscaster’s head. Today, you’re not likely to find much racing on cable or broadcast TV, just like you’re not likely to find much music on MTV. Music Television isn’t about music, its about pre-canned videos, game shows, reality TV and talking heads. Guess what? Don’t turn on network news unless you want to hear a bubbled bleach blonde’s opinion on politics. Conversely, you will discover that the only racing on your cable network is NASCAR pre-race shows that last longer than a 500-mile race and strangely enough, it’s on channels that aren’t even showing the race. As for Supercross and motocross, they want you to dig deeper into your pockets. to help line their coffers. The race promoters thought process is, “Why grow the sport by making it accessible to millions, when you can milk the true believers over and over again.”

But don’t take my opinion on any of this—you’re reading this for free, which means I’m out of touch with the world around me.




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