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“Just Racing”

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.


  1. Big Swole says:

    Oh and BTW. Chad Reed’s freakin attitude and past dirty riding came back to bite him in the A$$. He deserved it IMHO…

  2. Big Swole says:

    This is just racing! This stuff will happen in Any form of competition. Nobody is making them race just like nobody is making me be a police officer. I know the risks of my job and they should know the risk of entering a “Race”!
    Let them be grown ups and take responsibity for their actions in becoming a professional “Racer” and Not try to hold their hands when a simple racing incident happens because a human makes a mistake or era in judgement.
    Now if said racer has a history of many “aggressive” or “irresponsible” actions in a repeated nature, then yes they need to take a look at some form of repremand.

  3. Nate says:

    I don’t think one incident is enough to penalize someone. But when a rider is riding as out-of-control as Stewart is… consistently as Stewart is… then yes. Something should be done.

  4. joe b says:

    watching it on tv, all the marshalls ran to Rossi, got him going, and were walking away cheering, as Stoner waved his hands and called them over to him, only then after Rossi was speeding away, did they run back and then push him. i didnt read all the posts above, but if Stoner didnt cry out the marshals would have walked off and got a pizza.

  5. Ruefus says:

    That’s racing.

    Always has been. Always will be.

    You don’t see Reed and Stoner crying for restitution – so why should we? They recognize the vagaries of the sport, accept them and move on.

    So should we.

  6. Rob says:

    Stoner did in fact receive a push from the marshalls.
    See here-
    I think Rossi pulled a bit of a bonehead move, something someone with his talent would never do when on a better bike.

    • Mickey says:

      Looks like at least 4 track workers pushing Stoner trying to help him get started to me, what is he complaing about?

      • Mickey says:

        It also looks like Rossi got his started with one last bump on his own.

        Great homemade video.Shows it all in quite detail.

  7. JBoz says:

    I was a big Stewart fan when he arrived on the scene. He does things on a bike no one else has thought of – or can do. I don’t think anyone else could have stayed with his bike all those times he was out of control in the whoops in Arlington. And that’s the crux of the matter – he’s riding out of control.

    He’s going to end up cutting someone’s career short.

  8. Brad says:

    Racing is racing. Leading a race takes riding on the edge. Catching the leader when you are behind you will have to cross that edge. I watched Rossi take out Stoner and if he had made the pass, instant hero. James crosses that edge better than anyone and it is unfortunate someone else was impacted. However, did not hear much when a couple of years ago Chad’s only hope was if James crashed out in Vegas so Reed slowed down and waited for James and tried to crowed him off the track. That is not racing.

    • dug says:

      All the top level racers need to ride on the edge. Yes Reed did blatantly attempt to run Stewart off the track in Vegas a couple years ago, and no one seemed to care. He also caused the Atlanta crash this year that enabled him to finish in front of Stewart. There are only a small handful of people that really have the credibility to criticize either one of these talented men’s riding ability.

  9. goose says:

    I’ve been thinking about this conundrum for a while.

    Rider A takes out rider B and then makes more points in the race. So how about a very simple rule. If you force another rider to fall by making contact with him. You will score 1 less point than the rider you have forced of.

    Simple and concise. If he scores no points, you score less than. That would mean Rossi and Stewart would have to help the other rider get going…. then start off themselves!

    I would love to see that!

  10. Warren says:

    I was was once a fan of Rossi ,When he is winning everything is great but a few years again look at his whinging because he did not have bridgestones,This is not the first time he has used barging tactics on Stoner ,And look at Ducati too a 200cc advantage or they will not compete Maybe it is the Italian way whinge and win GO STONER

  11. JB says:

    For those who believe there should be some sort of penalty, then it should not be harsh enough to prevent people from pushing. The penalty could dimish the level of competition. The unfortunate paradox of motorsports.

    At the local level, these “racing” incidents can be far harder to disregard. If I get “bumped” by another rider, then I’m probably done for the season. Having been there, it is far harder to tolerate when it is you on the receiving end vs. some millionare riding with a team owned machine.

    Rossi was riding hard, and tucked the front. The fact that many front runners “dropped” out gives an indication of the true conditions. Could he have waited another turn or two; probably.

  12. Gary in NJ says:

    It’s racing, contact happens. And it sucks. To his credit, when Reed was asked about the incident he took the high ground and said he (Reed) could have ridden better. I’ve been down on Reed for a few seasons…until Saturday night. He showed that he has the attitude of a champion.

  13. Vrooom says:

    That’s just racing at it’s highest level. Really in motocross/supercross especially, sometimes guys are just a bit out of control. There was no way that Stewart meant to do that, not without flashing lights. I’d say Rossi bares slightly more responsibility, but he was going to try and pass somewhere, he happened to pick the wrong spot. In either case it’s just what happens when you put a bunch of guys on a track and tell them to go as fast as they can, all at the same time. If you want to avoid these types of incidents you’ll be awarding championships based on qualifying laps.

  14. Poe says:

    In Stewart’s case, he has a well-known history of riding over the edge and crashing a lot – often times taking out other riders (sometimes deserved, sometimes not). I’m amazed that he hasn’t sustained a career-ending injury yet, or worse – caused one for someone else. I’m convinced that it IS going to happen sooner or later. He’s just plain dangerous – but he attracts a lot of attention and sells a lot of seats in the stadiums, so the AMA looks the other way. There’s no denying that he’s fast, but he has more balls than brains and that gets him in trouble often – both on the track and off apparently. I guess he can look forward to a career as a highway patrolman if he ever does get hurt bad enough on the track.

    • nathan says:

      Reed takes Stewart out at every opportunity; he’s a dirty rider to his core and it’s the only way he can beat Bubba, so I feel no sympathy for him. If you knew anything about Supercross you’d know that the fastest guys always look a little out of control at times, RC was famous for this but nobody said anything about it because he’s white.

      • rich says:

        I remember RC crashing a bit, but just not landing, pulling out in front of, or punting his competitors off the track at the rate that James does. It seems lately that, if you pay attention to the races, James seems to be on the verge of a crash frequently thru the whoop sections. And that was his stength in years past. It’s nothing to see him ride the nose of the bike at the end of the whoops. I don’t thnink it’s a black /white thing. Just a loss of maturity on his part. (on and off track).


        • harryfxr says:

          Good point people seem to forget that The Goat invented that type of racing he never knew how fast he could go until he crashed.

  15. JM345 says:

    I’m convinced it was an accident… Racers who aren’t allowed the luxury of a cage are a little more careful when it comes to potential contact during a pass… The risk reward is very dangerous if you intentionally wreck in hopes of taking out the points leader (after only one race mind you). As far as the track marshalls picking a favorite, I call bullsh’ … If it was Randy the wrecker DePuniet under someone elses bike I’d help him before I’d even help Jesus back to his bike… Let alone Stacey Moaner…
    All that said… Hopefully Ducati will come out with an actual competitive bike next month, or they’re dead in the water…

  16. Wilson says:

    It’s racing. It’s the act of putting the guy in front of you behind you. If moves like this are not made on the race track you should just give out the trophies after qualifying and go home.

  17. Gene says:

    They penalize in F1 for exactly this kind of incident. I think that Rossi’s move was fine. But I think that Stewart’s move was reckless. Good officials can usually figure out what are “racing incidents” and what are not and penalize as necessary.

  18. Stinky says:

    Both incidents are what happen when FAST very competitive riders finally slip over the edge of the laws of physics that they have to tread to be the winners they are. Rossi was closing on Stoner for a few laps and just happened to lose the front on a wet track. The whoop section that bit Stewart had claimed many riders that weekend. A couple laps earlier he wheelied through the last of the whoops so gracefully that I had to rewind to see it again. I would like to see the powers that be put one of two throwaway results just for DNFs or incidents like these. Trials championships used to use 10 or so of your best results count towards the championship. It sometimes put some strategy into it.

  19. bahwolf says:

    Kit has it exactly right. Rossi was trapped under his bike, hence the marshals going to help him. His bike was still running, so it was a simple matter to remount and reengage. Stoner admitted that he had hit the kill switch as he went down to ensure there was no damage to his engine. The marshals’ primary concern is safety; perhaps there were approaching riders to warn off, flags to be waved, umbrella girls to talk about, and they didn’t have time to push poor Casey’s bike for him. If riders were any bigger than gnats, they’d probably be able to pick up their own damn bikes.

  20. HM in Appalachia says:

    Rossi’s motorbike was still running folks.That fact was certainly plain for them,especially when he managed to ride off.As for the HRC bike,it had been shut down to preserve it for later in the season.And well it may work out that way?Rossi was actually in front of Casey Stoner when the front let go.I saw it as merely a racing incident.I hope that the people that don’t go back to watching the Boston Bluejays, Cincinnati Rednecks,and NASCAR or whatever better suits you?Leave GP motorcycle racing to the low lifes like me that have been following it since ‘Ago’ was winning regular on four strokes when they were competitive without being mandated.

  21. Ash says:

    If you think these incidents were rare and coincidental, then consider these extra points. Both riders were Australian who were leading the points, and both riders were taken out by the No 1 riders (at least in ego and probably in talent) of their genre.

  22. Wendy says:

    Didn’t Chad see Stewart’s takedown lights?

  23. Kit Halsted says:

    Hard to tell whether Stoner’s bike was out of commission or whether he just spit the dummy when he went down, but being ignored by the marshals did not end Stoner’s race. The marshals did what they were supposed to do: they got the rider who was trapped in the wreckage out from under the bikes. Stoner was upright and walking, he didn’t need their help.

  24. bikerrandy says:

    In Stoner’s case, it was the course Marshalls who helped Rossi get back into the race, and then ignored Stoner to the point his race was over. Pure bias on the Marshalls part. Life isn’t fair. Marshalls should show no bias and help as much as they can for whichever rider that needs it.

    • Doug says:

      Stoner’s ignorable for a lot people.

      • Dave says:

        Stoner is not ignorable for anyone who watches or participates in Moto GP.

        Don’t know what the answer is but at the VERY least, when a racing incident occurs, the rider clearly at fault must not have any benefit from the incident than the other riders involved. Stoner records a DNF, so to should Rossi. Stewart should have scored points for the position behind Reed, wherever Reed finished or not.

  25. Mickey says:

    These are competitors at the highest level, and they make aggressive moves that less competitive riders wouldn’t even attempt. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t. There is a lot at stake. Prestige, honor, money and pleasing their sponsors. You can’t hardly blame them, and yes at that level, it’s just racing.

    Now, if they aimed for the other fellow and T boned them just to take them out, then they should be penalized.

  26. Ken says:

    I call BS. Rossi is a known game player. At the very least he was trying to mess with Stoner’s head but this works out even better for him. With the month long break coming up, ducati has time to alter their bike to suit him and make it more competitive. The speeds would not have been that high and he stated that he went inside to “not affect” Stoner. Of all riders he should know that you stay to the outside of a turn to not affect someone in front of you when grip is iffy. Now Stoner has to think about what other crap rossi is going to pull this year. Now it’s turned into a poorly scripted “reality” show. I think I’m done watching. I hope Pedrosa kicks all their asses. Just because.

    • Tim says:

      Give me a break. Rossi was trying to win, not take himself and Stoner out. Was it in hindsight a bad move? Absolutely. But it wasn’t gamesmanship at play, it was simply racing. It certainly wasn’t the level of bonehead move that Pedrosa pulled on his teammate Hayden, when Hayden was on the verge of his championship, and Pedrosa was already out of the running for the title.

      • John says:

        I would argue that the move was exactly the same bonehead move as Pedrosa, it’s just the riders are on different teams this time.

        The last two-three seasons Rossi has been passing on the inside a lot and taking bad racing lines that screw up the flow of the race. I think he’s getting desperate because he realizes there are finally two (or perhaps 3) riders who are better than he is. I wouldn’t call it racing “dirty” but it sure isn’t pretty to watch.

        As for the push-start on Stoner’s Honda, I read on another forum that it takes two people to push-start the Honda to get the engine started whereas the Duc can re-start with just one push.

        • mofoninja says:

          I’d call Rossi’s riding style aggressive. Some hard moves have been made on Rossi as well. (Elias when he was riding the 5 cylinder RCV) To quote Biaggi… “It’s motorcycle racing. Not ballet”.

      • Tim says:


        • motobell says:

          there were more than 2 people actually 5 or 6 marshalls helping rossi and just 1 watching stoner asking for was pathetic.

          I am a big rossi fan – he is the GOAT! but stoner is the fastest rider in motogp period – now everyone knows he won despite being on ducati and because he was on it. I think there was some gamesmanship in pulling the move off immediately versus waiting – i am not saying he wanted to crash just pass rightaway to stamp authority – Rossi was trying to mess with stoner’s head and for stoner’s part he gave him plenty of room. And yes John is right, rossi’s moves in the last few years are more desperate and more bully like – like the laguna move 2 years ago was dirty/desparate/bully -greatest race? Yes! but almost illegal by other racing standards that he went out of the track to pass.. yes all of this is just racing that is what makes it very interesting to watch.

          While I always cheer rossi, this year I want stoner to shut up every critic who ever wrote that he won because he was on a ducati to shut up… he is supreme talent and the fastest rider for the last 3 years, Lorenzo is the most consistent and Rossi is the out and out fighter/racer. we are in for a good season if rossi learns to ride the ducati fast or makes changes – i for one believe that stoner can get on that bike now and blos people off

  27. Tom says:

    Dale Earnhardt would be proud

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