Watching the television broadcast of last weekend’s Hangtown MX this morning, I was able to see for myself the waving yellow flag pass of Stephane Roncada by James Stewart that has been discussed on the internet all week. From my perspective, Roncada appeared to slow upon seeing the waving yellow flag (which typically indicates a downed rider on the track), and Stewart took advantage of Roncada’s hesitation to make a pass.
This is disturbing for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it shows a distinct lack of concern for the safety of his fellow riders on the part of the young Kawasaki star. Is a win worth the risk of causing serious injury to an already downed rider? In making the decision to pass under the yellow flag, Stewart answers yes, and by not penalizing him for doing so, the AMA tacitly agrees. Since Stewart is the front runner in his class, this sets a precedent for other racers to follow. Don’t you think next time Roncada sees a yellow flag he might hesitate to slow down, remembering how Stewart passed him at Hangtown?
Imagine for a moment you are that downed rider, maybe too badly injured to move off the track. Now say thanks to Stephane Roncada for showing that he cares about your safety by displaying caution under the yellow flag. And a big no thanks to Stewart for ignoring your vulnerable circumstances in his quest for the win.