I’m happy to put my analytical hat on. No more trying to be the clown, and making funnies for fat people at their computer. I’ll get back to that tomorrow. For now, let’s talk Reed, Canard, and black flags.
First, my honest opinion: I don’t think it was ridiculous that Reed got black-flagged. When it happened I was all, “Whoa, no way dude,” but really not surprised. It was a resolute take-out, and not a natural result of racing. I was not mad at Reed at all for doing it, because I completely understood the frustration that he had to be feeling right there. It was his best ride of the year, and Canard came out of nowhere and smashed him. If you’re thinking straight in that situation, then you don’t want to win enough. I’m not saying that Canard was riding like an idiot, he just didn’t realize that Reed was going inside and had committed to probably trying to either square Reed up or block pass him. That’s racing, but I understand wanting to kill the guy in the moment.
All the riders and normal un-fast/homeschool people are citing all sorts of other situations (Hansen on McElrath, Barcia on everyone) which is pretty ridiculous in my mind. The obvious difference between the other situations and this one is Reed’s move was 100% retaliatory – he had the pass back made all day long without any contact, but he did it. I think that is really the only part of the AMA’s case that is indisputable and justifies the black flag. Even if there is a shred of evidence that a rider was doing what he did to make a pass stick, then I think it’s a racing incident and no consequences should be decided by officials. But like I said, Reed clearly had that pass made without hitting Trey, so here we are. Every single other takeout that we’ve seen this year and in recent memory could in one way or another be construed as a desperate passing attempt, which is just a rub. And rubbing is racing, unless you’re in a train station or on a bus, in which case prepare yourself for an assault charge.
I think the best incident to cite is Alessi/Tickle last year, but even then you could argue that Mike was trying to make a pass. It was horrifically executed, but it’s not against the rules to be a dumbass, unfortunately. Reed was not being a dumbass; he knew damn well what he was doing.
And I must reiterate the fact that I am not against Reed in this situation. I like Reed more than Trey, as a person and a rider (don’t dislike Trey, just like Reed’s style better on and off the bike). I literally have done almost the exact same thing on the track (admittedly not on the same stage), so I and every other racer knows where he is coming from. I’m not saying the black flag was the only option, but I am saying that I agree with the AMA’s decision that the move was pure retaliation and deserved punishment. The next step for both riders is to suck it up and move on.
So to sum this up: I love Reed, and I love that he still has the passion that he does. But it is indisputable that he was trying to put Trey into the tough blocks, and nothing else.