Two championship series points leaders, Casey Stoner in Moto GP and Chad Reed in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, entered this past weekend with high hopes, but both of them left without the points lead in their respective championships… through no fault of their own.
Reed was taken out from behind by an out – of – control James Stewart at the end of a difficult whoop section in Arlington, Texas, while Casey Stoner had Valentino Rossi dive inside him on a wet, extremely slippery track and proceed to low-side into Stoner, effectively knocking him out of the race. Rossi garnered fifth-place after picking up his bike, and Stewart also gained points on Reed when he was able to re-enter the race and finish fourth, while Reed finished back in eighth.
These are considered “racing incidents”, but sometimes it is hard to take when a rider, whether he is leading the series or not, gets punted off the track through no fault of his own by an overzealous competitor. It adds insult to injury, of course, when that competitor picks up his bike and finishes the race in a better position, gaining more points than the innocent victim, something that happened in both instances last weekend.
You must concede, of course, that neither incident was intentional. Neither Stewart nor Rossi intended to crash their own bikes, whether they hit a competitor in the process or not.
It is the nature of our sport, I suppose, but you don’t see this in many other athletic competitions. If a competitor makes a mistake, it is usually only that particular competitor (or his team) that suffers, not the opposition.
We could argue about whether Stewart or Rossi should be penalized for their mistakes that were so costly to potential champions, but it is not going to happen. These have already been labeled “racing incidents”, and they are not unlike countless others throughout the course of motorcycle racing history. The fact that these two incidents happened on the same weekend, and knocked the points’ leaders out of the points lead in each of two prominent championship series, however, has to be pretty rare, if not unprecedented. Reed has only a few races left, but Stoner has an entire series in front of him to make up the lost points.