Do you need a mechanic, doctor or
lawyer after a racing incident?
Hopefully, none of the above.
CAN YOU BE FINED FOR A
Based on recent incidents, I won-
der if anyone has ever protested a
fellow competitor for being involved
in a crash? I’m not talking about
obvious dirty riding—just a crash.
Yes, it has happened, most
famously to James Stewart. At the
December 2006 Toronto Supercross,
James Stewart had formal protests
filed against him when he was
involved in crashes with Team
Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco in
practice and No Fear Honda’s Travis
Preston in the main event. Tedesco
suffered three broken bones in his
hand, which Stewart claims was
not caused by the collision but by
Tedesco when he left the track and
fell. Travis Preston was not injured
in his crash (caused when Stewart
reentered the track in front of
Preston’s Honda on the backside of a
jump). Stewart, for his part, suffered
a minor ankle injury when Preston
center-punched his leg in the
Under FIM rules, one rider can
protest another rider for rough riding, and that is exactly what Preston
and Tedesco did after the race.
According to FIM representative
John Gallagher, “The protests were
handwritten from the riders involved.
Both riders asked what they had to
write. I told them that three things
should be included: What do you
think happened? How do you feel
about it? And lastly, what would you
suggest should be done about it?
Both riders did that and presented
me with the $800 protest filing fee.”
During this time period, James
Stewart was not popular among
his competitors. They claimed that
he rode erratically, took dangerous
risks (often with their lives) and was
involved in lots of questionable
incidents. For Ivan and Travis,
Toronto was the straw that broke
the camel’s back.
In the end, the FIM agreed with
Travis Preston and Ivan Tedesco and
fined James Stewart $6000 ($2000
for the Tedesco incident and $4000
for the Preston crash). James was
put on five months’ probation by the
Of course, the fines were just
nonsense. Fining a rider who makes
as much as $10 million a year, a
measly $6000 is inconsequential. The
only penalties that matter to factory
riders and their teams are disqualification, lost points or suspensions.
You need look no further than the
infamous Ricky Carmichael “
Fuel-Gate” penalties to see that unless
sanctions are handed down equally
and without consideration for who is
being penalized, there will always be
issues of fairness.