David Pingree


Interview with David Pingree
Story & Photos by Eddie Graveline


Some guys are just fun to talk to and David Pingree is one of them. A native of Montana, “Ping” as he is known, always has an opinion. And the subject really doesn’t matter. If you’ve never read his RACER X column, “Electronic Ping”, do it. In the column, he entertainingly berates readers who knowingly ask absurd questions and/or taunt him. He is well educated on current events and communicates very well in both written and spoken form. Pingree is one of the guys that I seek out several times a year at the races because he’s just a blast to talk to. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to translate the sarcasm that he answers questions with to paper. Just trust me when I say that he can make the most mundane of subjects seem interesting, or at least humorous. Another thing that you can always count on from Ping is honesty. He also happens to be a very gifted rider, especially when it comes to Supercross. My most recent encounter with the factory KTM pilot came in one of the early rounds of the National MX series. I got his colorful opinions on a variety of subjects. Enjoy and rest assured I will be talking to him again soon.


David, the last time that we talked was about half way through the Supercross season. At that point, you were a little bit frustrated with the way things were going for you. Now that the season is behind you, how do you feel about it overall?

“Well, the Supercross season was kind of a bummer for me. We had some problems at the beginning and I didn’t get the results that I was looking for. At the end, I had an injury that kind of kept me back at the last few races. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Nationals now. These bikes (the KTM 125SX) are the best outdoor bikes I’ve ever ridden. They’re obviously ahead of schedule because they’ve got the GPs (World Championships) going. They have all of their outdoor settings already dialed. The bikes are great. I’m just looking forward to maybe getting a couple of good finishes in the rest of the year and just putting a good solid season together.”


So as far as the Supercross season went, you didn’t really have equipment problems or anything technical? It had more to do with getting sick at the beginning and getting injured late in the season?

“Yeah, I mean the bike just took some time to get set up for me, you know. That kind of hurt me. We eventually got them to where they were awesome. The last half of the Supercross season, the bikes were great. Unfortunately for me, it (The SX series) just started a little too soon.”


I don’t know if you’ve made a decision yet or not, but what size bike do you plan to ride next year?

“Well, if I get offered a good ride, I’ll take it. I’ve been in the 125 class for a long time, but when you look around, there’s just not a lot of good 250 rides out there. There’s a couple of factory spots and they’re full. The few spots that will open up, if there are any, are going to be filled by Ernesto (Fonseca), who has to move up. Nick Wey has to move up. Nathan Ramsey wants to move up. He doesn’t want to stay at all. You’ve got guys like that who put in good 250 rides this season who are going to get those jobs. It doesn’t leave a lot left over. If I get an offer, I’ll take it for sure. So we’ll just have to see what happens.”


Has KTM expressed any plans or desire to compete in the 250cc class next year?

“They may have made mention about 2003, but as far as next year, I think they’ll just stay a 125 team. Maybe by that time Grant (Langston) will be ready to move up and they’ll have a 250 better developed. I think that’s what they’re going to plan on.”


The current KTM/Red Bull squad is something of an outdoor “dream team”. Grant Langston is a great outdoor rider. Broc Sellards and Kelly Smith are both better outdoors than in Supercross. You’ve had better results in the stadiums, but as a team, you guys have to feel good about your chances for the 125cc National Championship don’t you?

“It sure looks like it, especially after how the first couple of weeks went for Grant. I think the rest of us have had so-so days. I rolled an ankle and was battling that. We’re all really happy with the bikes. I think as the season goes on, KTM is going to continue to do well.”


You have always had better results in Supercross than you have in the Nationals. Do you like Supercross better or have things just worked out that way?

“Well, it’s a little of both. I seem to enjoy Supercross a lot more. The Nationals are all on the East Coast and there’s a lot of traveling. It’s just a lot of work. They’re hard. It’s difficult to keep the drive to do well. I think that’s been the case for me in the past, but I’m trying to change that. It’s not that I can’t. I’ve been on the podium at Nationals. The key is whether or not I have the desire to do it all summer, you know what I mean? For Supercross, that’s always come more easily to me. I like Supercross a little better. This season I’m just looking forward to having a solid year. I’ve also had a lot of injuries in the Nationals. Sacramento has taken me out of commission a couple of years in a row. I always get an injury that puts me out of a few races. Then I spend a month or so kind of getting back into shape again so my overall results don’t ever look that good. Like I said, I just want a good solid season with some good results and I want to stay consistent.”


I want to talk about Grant Langston for a minute. I asked you about him way back at one of the Anaheim Supercrosses and you said, ‘watch out during the outdoor season’. Obviously, you weren’t kidding! Do you think that he’ll be able to get over the disadvantage of not knowing the East Coast Tracks?

“He’s going to go fast no matter where you put him. Except for the mud. I happen to know he’s not a great mud rider (laughs). I don’t think he’s going to have a problem with those tracks back there. He may not have it quite as easy as he did at Glen Helen. I wasn’t up there watching, but I heard that Brown gave him a good run. I think definitely that Pastrana is going to be strong back east and so is Brown. It’s going to hurt him having not seen a lot of those tracks. It’s going to be tougher for him than those other guys, but he’s fast no matter where you put him. Every place we’ve gone testing he’s been fast. Faster than all of us (on the team). I can just go from that”


You were out at the Glen Helen Golf Tournament and you won the prize for the straightest drive. You don’t even play golf that much do you?

“Nope! Not that much. Ask Sean Norfolk (from Renthal) about it. He’ll tell you all about it.” (there was a particularly devious tone to his voice during this answer)


As always, it’s been fun talking with you. Have a good outdoor season and I’ll catch back up with you soon.

“Thanks a lot man.”

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