By now everyone in the supercross world knows about what happened at Round 13 of the Monster Energy Supercross Series in St. Louis. We all know that while getting lapped in the main event, Chad Reed made it very, very difficult for Ryan Dungey to get around him, thus impeding his potential challenge to race leader Eli Tomac. Because of Reed’s questionable actions, it was announced late yesterday that he was fined $5000, as well as docked five championship points. Here is the official announcement:
The American Motorcyclist Association announced today that it has fined Monster Energy Factory Yamaha’s Chad Reed $5,000 and docked him five championship points earned Saturday night at Round 13 of Monster Energy Supercross in St. Louis after Reed “failed to follow the direction of the AMA officials indicated by the blue flag” and impeded the progress of second place rider Ryan Dungey while being lapped in 16th position.
In their announcement, the AMA cited rule 4.17.a of the official rulebook, which states:
4.17 Flags and Lights
It is the rider’s responsibility to be aware of their surroundings at all times while on track. Safety is a main priority and the riders must obey all official signals and directions given to them. Any rider failing to do so may be penalized.
Solid Blue Flag:
Indicates you are about to be overtaken by faster riders.
When conditions allow, move out of the fast line.
Hold your line (do not ride erratically) and do not impede the faster riders progress.
Riders disregarding the blue flag may be black-flagged at the discretion of Race Director.
According to the AMA, no appeal has been filed and the decision of the Race Director is final. All fines collected are donated to the Alpinestar Mobile Medical Unit.
Now, I don’t think that anyone out there agrees with Reed’s actions in St. Louis. It was childish, unprofessional, and definitely not consistent with what we’ve seen from Chad Reed during his incredible career. However, this penalty really puzzles me as at the end of the day, no one was injured, no one taken out, and I don’t think Reed’s actions (as strange as they were) were considered dangerous. It appeared like he simply chose that moment to pay Dungey back for a few things that he felt Dungey did to him in recent weeks (watch the start of the Detroit SX 450 main event). I watched the St. Louis broadcast and I thought Justin Barcia’s take out move on Alex Ray was much more worthy of a stiff penalty than Chad Reed. I mean, I agree that the Reed/ Dungey incident had to be dealt with as you just can’t have something like that happen while there is a late series dream battle going on for the championship. And while I don’t think Reed’s riding altered the outcome of the race, it still robbed the paying fans of what might have been a great final five laps. But any type of penalty to a veteran and fan favourite like Chad Reed is just petty, in my opinion. This penalty just joins the list of other questionable decisions we’ve seen over the years from the AMA/FIM.
Other than this ridiculous penalty, the real conundrum to me is, what was Chad Reed thinking in that moment? Even if he wanted to pay Dungey back for something, why pick that moment to do it? In recent weeks, Reed has showed that he has the speed to run with Dungey, in the heat races at least, so why not wait and do it there. Is there something that Dungey did that we don’t know about? If you’re a real conspiracy theory person, it is possible to think that Reed was just helping a fellow Monster Energy athlete win this SX title. That is definitely a stretch, but it’s only as puzzling as Reed’s actions on Saturday night. For someone who has worked so hard to solidify their fan base and to remain at the top of this sport at the ripe old age of 35, why risk his reputation for a little payback? I guess we will never know the answers to these questions as this event will pass, and some other drama will take its place. However, I do know that Reed will more than likely get some boos this weekend in Seattle, and to me that is very sad. Regardless of what happened in St Louis, no one got injured, the race results were not affected, and to me, for Reed to still be out there at 35 competing in this brutal young man’s sport is pretty freaking amazing. Let’s cut the guy some slack, I’m sure Dungey did need a little payback for something he did, Reed just chose the wrong place and time to do it!