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THECHAT

Monday, June 13, 2005; Page E02

Adam Carolla, co-host of "Loveline" -- which airs on WJFK from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. -- and former co-host of "The Man Show," is a longtime fan of dirt bike racing. Next weekend, the AMA Motocross Championship racing tour makes its annual stop at Budds Creek Motocross Park in St. Mary's County, which is why we gave Carolla a call.

So you follow the AMA?

I mean, I'm not 17 and living in Simi Valley [Calif.], but I know the guys, yeah.

How'd you get into it?

I didn't have a dirt bike growing up. I was just dying for one but my cheap family wouldn't give me one, but I used to go with my friend and ride his around. At a certain point I got an Elsinore 250, which is old school -- a Honda Red Racer, they used to call them.

So I've done a fair amount of racing myself and I go to the AMA races every year when they come out to Anaheim. I used to go now and again with my buddies back when I was swinging a hammer, and then I took a few years off. And then Jeremy McGrath came and gave me some tickets at "Loveline," and now it's pretty much an annual thing. So now we go watch the gut-busting sport of warriors.

What's the appeal?

I think it's sort of underrated amongst sports fans. Like, they do that [thing] every year where they're like, you know, 'What's the hardest thing to do in sports? Well, it's put a round bat on a round ball!' There's way too much sanctimony about certain sports like baseball. You know, I played baseball in high school -- I put a round bat on a round ball -- it wasn't that big a deal. But clearing the triple jump every time around, that seems like a big deal. Ask most baseball players what they'd rather do. Here's what I'm betting: I'm betting Jeremy McGrath can hit a baseball, and I don't think Sammy Sosa can clear that triple jump, that's my point. I don't think these guys get the recognition for what they do. It's pretty incredible and it's exciting, it's a good night. It's more fun than going to a baseball game, let's put it that way.

Do you know what the whoops are?

Yeah, of course I know what the whoops are, that's short for whoop-dee-dos. You claim to be a sportswriter and you don't know what a whoop is? Whoop-dee-dos are wooden moguls; I should say dirt moguls. What a mogul is to a skier, a whoop-dee-do is to a dirt biker.

Do dirt bikers have their own language?

It's just basic North American stoner. All the extreme sports guys just speak Spicoli [surfer-speak], that's sort of the chosen language. It's not really the Queen's English, you know.

Ever seen any horrible crashes?

Yeah, I've seen a few good ones, but I always seem to miss 'em when I'm at the race. It's kind of cool because it's like pretty much 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds dominating. You get into your later twenties and you're an old man. I think it beats the crap out of you to the point where it's just not the kind of thing you can do anymore. I don't know what the average age or career expectancy is or whatever, but it's probably less than the NFL. But it's a good time if you want to bring the kids and suck down a few brews. . . . It's just one of these things, it's very American. Nothing more than a good time making a lot of noise, a lot of flashy paint and hot chicks.

-- Dan Steinberg