SX/MX Flagging and Track Personnel Etiquette is a Joke

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2/20/2021 6:07 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/20/2021 6:11 PM

I've been biting my tongue on this for YEARS but after what I just watched... I'm over it. Why does SX/MX still treat on-track safety like a couple of good ol' boys ripping around the dirt field? It is NOT an elite level motorsport not matter how much they like to use that hyperbole.

Just this season, on broadcast, I've seen the following

- A few races ago someone crossed a hot racetrack near a triple and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- A few races ago an Alpinestars medical worker was running to a downed rider in the whoops and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- Tonight we have a rider plow into an Alpinestars medical worker, who then falls down, and the bike/rider then run into a downed rider. What if Alex Martin had a spine/neck injury and then here comes Macadoo bowling balling into everyone?

This is fucking absurd. Why is there a red flag flying at Start Finish and then 10-15 seconds later riders are still racing? Yeah they had a medical flag out but that just means roll the jumps. THE TRACK IS HOT, people are still racing, and we have medical people running around willy nilly. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE. This is just what I've caught on broadcast, I'm sure there are countless more issues we don't see.

Why don't all of the flaggers also have a red flag to go with their yellow flags. In roadracing, even in amateur club racing, every single flag station has all of the flags and everyone is in radio comms. When the red flag call is made, every single flagger pulls out the red immediately. Hell we even have this at trackdays!

Why are people running around on a live racetrack without helmets on? Without some sort of body protection? WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED ON A HOT TRACK!

I've worked in the paddock, I've been responsible for millions of dollars of sponsorship money in the paddock, and let me tell you, I'd be FURIOUS if I was spending money in this barnyard paddock. I've also got way too many stickers on my toolbox in memory of fallen riders and friends who've died on the track. It doesn't take much....

You can't keep people safe from all things, but this is easily avoidable shit. Come on guys, get it together, this is inexcusable.

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2/20/2021 6:09 PM

I'm convinced with everything in this sport it boils down to $$$ because.. as such with anything else it seems people don't care.

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"Life is Too Short To Last Long"

2/20/2021 6:16 PM

Oh let's not forget when they flew the checkered flag early during a main event race a couple races ago.

Honestly, who the fuck is running this clown show?

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2/20/2021 6:19 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/20/2021 6:20 PM

Alex.434 wrote:

Oh let's not forget when they flew the checkered flag early during a main event race a couple races ago.

Honestly, who the fuck is running this clown show?

As far as I'm concerned probably a high-schooler on his phone.. because its been straight up unprofessional on many levels... sport looks like its a beer league

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"Life is Too Short To Last Long"

2/20/2021 6:28 PM

Alex.434 wrote:

Oh let's not forget when they flew the checkered flag early during a main event race a couple races ago.

Honestly, who the fuck is running this clown show?

It’s literally been run by people who’s core competencies are running a circus, including a clown show.

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2/20/2021 6:28 PM

Alex.434 wrote:

I've been biting my tongue on this for YEARS but after what I just watched... I'm over it. Why does SX/MX still treat on-track safety like a couple of good ol' boys ripping around the dirt field? It is NOT an elite level motorsport not matter how much they like to use that hyperbole.

Just this season, on broadcast, I've seen the following

- A few races ago someone crossed a hot racetrack near a triple and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- A few races ago an Alpinestars medical worker was running to a downed rider in the whoops and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- Tonight we have a rider plow into an Alpinestars medical worker, who then falls down, and the bike/rider then run into a downed rider. What if Alex Martin had a spine/neck injury and then here comes Macadoo bowling balling into everyone?

This is fucking absurd. Why is there a red flag flying at Start Finish and then 10-15 seconds later riders are still racing? Yeah they had a medical flag out but that just means roll the jumps. THE TRACK IS HOT, people are still racing, and we have medical people running around willy nilly. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE. This is just what I've caught on broadcast, I'm sure there are countless more issues we don't see.

Why don't all of the flaggers also have a red flag to go with their yellow flags. In roadracing, even in amateur club racing, every single flag station has all of the flags and everyone is in radio comms. When the red flag call is made, every single flagger pulls out the red immediately. Hell we even have this at trackdays!

Why are people running around on a live racetrack without helmets on? Without some sort of body protection? WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED ON A HOT TRACK!

I've worked in the paddock, I've been responsible for millions of dollars of sponsorship money in the paddock, and let me tell you, I'd be FURIOUS if I was spending money in this barnyard paddock. I've also got way too many stickers on my toolbox in memory of fallen riders and friends who've died on the track. It doesn't take much....

You can't keep people safe from all things, but this is easily avoidable shit. Come on guys, get it together, this is inexcusable.

Can’t disagree man. Major racing sports like F1, Indy, NASCAR, etc have learned their lessons in the 70s with track workers and racers dying due to process/training errors by the track working crew. Supercross/FELD/monster energy are going to have blood on their hands if they don’t straighten shit out. It’s embarrassing as a fan to see it

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2/20/2021 6:29 PM

I’m absolutely hammered, but yes, I think I agree.

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2/20/2021 6:50 PM

The frightening thing is that it seems like it is getting worse . Professionalism doesn’t end with just hyping the sponsors .

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2/20/2021 10:02 PM

Have been blown away with the lack of a thorough and transparent protocol on this issue in SX. Also the broadcast showing the guys battling for 5/6/7th place on the bigger screen while Anderson passes for the lead in the heat is just another example of why the sport has always been in the second tier as far as sports broadcasting goes. You wouldn't catch a basketball game showing what the guys on the bench are doing while the clock is winding down at the end of a tight game, but this seems to happen every weekend in SX.

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2/21/2021 12:35 AM

First time this year watching SX properly, and yeah the stewarding seems to be very..... odd. It really doesn't take much to tighten everything up on that side.

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2/21/2021 1:45 AM

Alex.434 wrote:

I've been biting my tongue on this for YEARS but after what I just watched... I'm over it. Why does SX/MX still treat on-track safety like a couple of good ol' boys ripping around the dirt field? It is NOT an elite level motorsport not matter how much they like to use that hyperbole.

Just this season, on broadcast, I've seen the following

- A few races ago someone crossed a hot racetrack near a triple and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- A few races ago an Alpinestars medical worker was running to a downed rider in the whoops and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- Tonight we have a rider plow into an Alpinestars medical worker, who then falls down, and the bike/rider then run into a downed rider. What if Alex Martin had a spine/neck injury and then here comes Macadoo bowling balling into everyone?

This is fucking absurd. Why is there a red flag flying at Start Finish and then 10-15 seconds later riders are still racing? Yeah they had a medical flag out but that just means roll the jumps. THE TRACK IS HOT, people are still racing, and we have medical people running around willy nilly. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE. This is just what I've caught on broadcast, I'm sure there are countless more issues we don't see.

Why don't all of the flaggers also have a red flag to go with their yellow flags. In roadracing, even in amateur club racing, every single flag station has all of the flags and everyone is in radio comms. When the red flag call is made, every single flagger pulls out the red immediately. Hell we even have this at trackdays!

Why are people running around on a live racetrack without helmets on? Without some sort of body protection? WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED ON A HOT TRACK!

I've worked in the paddock, I've been responsible for millions of dollars of sponsorship money in the paddock, and let me tell you, I'd be FURIOUS if I was spending money in this barnyard paddock. I've also got way too many stickers on my toolbox in memory of fallen riders and friends who've died on the track. It doesn't take much....

You can't keep people safe from all things, but this is easily avoidable shit. Come on guys, get it together, this is inexcusable.

Agreed. This should be professional sport both track grew and riders.

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2/21/2021 1:50 AM

You're absolutely spot on.

However, it seems like the teams and riders doesn't care about these things. The flagging rules and penalty system has groomed a field of riders that doesn't respect riders on the ground.

Waving yellows have zero impact on the riders racing the track, they're basically just a sign that someone is down but none of the riders are taking it easy in these sections.
If the red cross flag is out, the first instinct is to stop jumping but keep going as fast as possible whilst not jumping. That was the case with McAdoo, he (and Cooper too) was going way too fast after the triple.

The AMA/FIM and Feld needs to sit down and do something to all of this. There are so many things that are just wrong or just amateur level at best. From broadcasting issues to actual rider safety.

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2/21/2021 5:51 AM

As a fan there have been so many cringe worthy moments this year. From flagging, to track personnel, to the coverage of the races, it’s just embarrassing. Everyone makes mistakes and that’s life, but as said above, somehow it’s getting worse. No accountability, no remedies.

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2/21/2021 5:59 AM

It’s been a shit show for years. Black flag gate to Oldenburg’s frame sticker, wage a flag early, or don’t, or do, throw in some inconsistent penalties. Seriously. Shit. Show.


And all the while, the teams STILL don’t have a union or leadership group. They still bare the main costs, take the main risks and don’t get any of the profits whilst the promoters and officiating crew laugh and do what the fuck they want.

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Cheers, Crush
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2/21/2021 6:25 AM

Alex.434 wrote:

I've been biting my tongue on this for YEARS but after what I just watched... I'm over it. Why does SX/MX still treat on-track safety like a couple of good ol' boys ripping around the dirt field? It is NOT an elite level motorsport not matter how much they like to use that hyperbole.

Just this season, on broadcast, I've seen the following

- A few races ago someone crossed a hot racetrack near a triple and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- A few races ago an Alpinestars medical worker was running to a downed rider in the whoops and almost got plowed into. People DIE that way.

- Tonight we have a rider plow into an Alpinestars medical worker, who then falls down, and the bike/rider then run into a downed rider. What if Alex Martin had a spine/neck injury and then here comes Macadoo bowling balling into everyone?

This is fucking absurd. Why is there a red flag flying at Start Finish and then 10-15 seconds later riders are still racing? Yeah they had a medical flag out but that just means roll the jumps. THE TRACK IS HOT, people are still racing, and we have medical people running around willy nilly. THIS IS HOW PEOPLE DIE. This is just what I've caught on broadcast, I'm sure there are countless more issues we don't see.

Why don't all of the flaggers also have a red flag to go with their yellow flags. In roadracing, even in amateur club racing, every single flag station has all of the flags and everyone is in radio comms. When the red flag call is made, every single flagger pulls out the red immediately. Hell we even have this at trackdays!

Why are people running around on a live racetrack without helmets on? Without some sort of body protection? WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED ON A HOT TRACK!

I've worked in the paddock, I've been responsible for millions of dollars of sponsorship money in the paddock, and let me tell you, I'd be FURIOUS if I was spending money in this barnyard paddock. I've also got way too many stickers on my toolbox in memory of fallen riders and friends who've died on the track. It doesn't take much....

You can't keep people safe from all things, but this is easily avoidable shit. Come on guys, get it together, this is inexcusable.

You are correct sir, may i suggest a lighting tower on every 3rd obstacle around the entire track with a color coding system. I probably have more invested in my synchronized Christmas display than feld has in their lighting system. Hell, borrow some optics from Disney on ice for the riders sake.

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2/21/2021 6:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2021 6:58 AM

There could be a mandatory LED on the bars like on Craig’s bike. An LED that could do various colors for different flags. There would be sensors all around the track, and a team of AMA officials standing by a computer could define an area of the track where an incident is, and then once a rider enters that defined area the light is automatically triggered. For example, AMA could enter “yellow flag between Sensor F and Sensor G” and every rider that enters section F gets a blinking yellow light on his bars. Once he passes sensor G, the light goes off. The AMA wouldn’t have to do each bike’s light individually, it would be done autonomously just by the bike passing a sensor that the AMA defined as an area of an incident.

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2/21/2021 6:47 AM

Feld. Monster truck mentality. End of story.

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2/21/2021 6:50 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2021 6:52 AM

Not defending McAdoo, but that Astericks worker ran parallel and then crossed over as soon as Justin snuck by. They definitely have their blinders on this season. We're going to need a mobile medical unit for the mobile medical unit if they don't figure things out.

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2/21/2021 6:51 AM

I'm quite surprised no one was penalized for hitting the medical personnel or Martin...

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2/21/2021 7:02 AM

Monk wrote:

I'm quite surprised no one was penalized for hitting the medical personnel or Martin...

AMA rules are more like guidelines . And penalties are decided by spinning a carnival wheel . 🤷🏻‍♂️

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2/21/2021 7:18 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2021 7:20 AM

SEE ARE125 wrote:

There could be a mandatory LED on the bars like on Craig’s bike. An LED that could do various colors for different flags. There would be sensors all around the track, and a team of AMA officials standing by a computer could define an area of the track where an incident is, and then once a rider enters that defined area the light is automatically triggered. For example, AMA could enter “yellow flag between Sensor F and Sensor G” and every rider that enters section F gets a blinking yellow light on his bars. Once he passes sensor G, the light goes off. The AMA wouldn’t have to do each bike’s light individually, it would be done autonomously just by the bike passing a sensor that the AMA defined as an area of an incident.

First and foremost flagging should be a priority because flags don't break, LED lights do. They can supplement, but the base needs to be right

I think the marshalling in general is not of a sufficient standard, and this is mainly from a organizational POV. I remember Roczen's penalty. I complained about a flagger running across a live track as being stupid.

It all seems a bit haphazard. I think part o the issue is that there's an unwillingness to throw red flags. In my karting realm a drive laid out on a track is a red flag no matter what. SX is more complex due to the number of accidents rendering constant red flags as unduly prohibitive to the spectacle and competition but the flagging seems weak to me, chaotic.

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2/21/2021 7:22 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2021 7:24 AM

Monk wrote:

I'm quite surprised no one was penalized for hitting the medical personnel or Martin...

My take is, the red cross flag was at the start of the straight and AMart was down in the turn at the far end. Red Cross means don't jump. They didn't....OP spelled it out...race is still on!

I'd bet that by the time they were pretty far into that straight, they were likely thinking...WTF was that flag for? Where is the downed rider? It was faaar too early. So they started speeding up. I'm confident they didn't see AMart....on TV, yeah, it was obvious, but I'm sure they didn't know he was down where he was.

There clearly needs to be more flaggers....and trained ones, and as OP stated, they should all have the various flags and a headset with someone instructing them which to wave and when. I don't see why lights at the end of straights and maybe after big turns couldn't be used too, but they'd possibly be harder for riders to see, hence still need the flaggers.

Imagine, a bright red light mounted kinda at eye level at the end of that straight that AMart was down after. THEN they could penalize someone who hit the medical worker and AMart. Have one after every straight and yellows too. Flaggers could then focus on corners.

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TPA | RwR | CMTRA | COHVCO | BRC

2/21/2021 7:23 AM

Why not in helmet communication?

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"Hope is not a strategy"

2/21/2021 7:44 AM

ButteryWaffles wrote:

Not defending McAdoo, but that Astericks worker ran parallel and then crossed over as soon as Justin snuck by. They definitely have their blinders on this season. We're going to need a mobile medical unit for the mobile medical unit if they don't figure things out.

I'm sort of a Justin Cooper fan (not so sure anymore) but he and McAdoo both did a really Jackass move there. Just going through a rhythm section with yellow flags and a Red Cross flag, then looking ahead and seeing a man down and medical people on the deck and they decide to go to the outside and cut through them instead of taking the inside where there was plenty of room. Both of those guys should be penalized for being idiots.

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2/21/2021 7:48 AM

Alan Dove wrote:

First and foremost flagging should be a priority because flags don't break, LED lights do. They can supplement, but the base needs to be right

I think the marshalling in general is not of a sufficient standard, and this is mainly from a organizational POV. I remember Roczen's penalty. I complained about a flagger running across a live track as being stupid.

It all seems a bit haphazard. I think part o the issue is that there's an unwillingness to throw red flags. In my karting realm a drive laid out on a track is a red flag no matter what. SX is more complex due to the number of accidents rendering constant red flags as unduly prohibitive to the spectacle and competition but the flagging seems weak to me, chaotic.

Gotta hand it to you. Weeks ago you were bringing up the track workers and saying there was an issue. You got absolutely hammered for it. Now we are here.

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2/21/2021 7:54 AM

SEE ARE125 wrote:

There could be a mandatory LED on the bars like on Craig’s bike. An LED that could do various colors for different flags. There would be sensors all around the track, and a team of AMA officials standing by a computer could define an area of the track where an incident is, and then once a rider enters that defined area the light is automatically triggered. For example, AMA could enter “yellow flag between Sensor F and Sensor G” and every rider that enters section F gets a blinking yellow light on his bars. Once he passes sensor G, the light goes off. The AMA wouldn’t have to do each bike’s light individually, it would be done autonomously just by the bike passing a sensor that the AMA defined as an area of an incident.

Alan Dove wrote:

First and foremost flagging should be a priority because flags don't break, LED lights do. They can supplement, but the base needs to be right

I think the marshalling in general is not of a sufficient standard, and this is mainly from a organizational POV. I remember Roczen's penalty. I complained about a flagger running across a live track as being stupid.

It all seems a bit haphazard. I think part o the issue is that there's an unwillingness to throw red flags. In my karting realm a drive laid out on a track is a red flag no matter what. SX is more complex due to the number of accidents rendering constant red flags as unduly prohibitive to the spectacle and competition but the flagging seems weak to me, chaotic.

I agree with you. This would just purely be supplemental. Let’s face it, they need all the help they can get. laughing But I think if technology could allow it to be done semi-autonomously, it could remove a lot of variables for human error. This idea is solely about flagging, their other inconsistencies definitely need to be addressed.

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2/21/2021 7:58 AM

piscokid wrote:

Why not in helmet communication?

Because apparently it will distract the riders in that situation..*Sarcasm*.... and macadoo probably would've hit all three, if he was already distracted going 10mph around a turn, idk if you want a headset on that kid lol

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"Life is Too Short To Last Long"

2/21/2021 8:15 AM
Edited Date/Time: 2/21/2021 8:29 AM

The most important safety feature is the rider's eye's. Whether there is a flag or not, they can see what is ahead the majority of the time. Flaggers and lights and radio's are not magic. There is a reaction time and the incident needs to be in your field of vision, it's impossible to be looking everywhere at the same time. It's racing and it's dangerous, and not all downed rider's will be protected by some kind of warning, luckily most are. The rider's ignore most of the flags anyway.

I yellow flagged all 3 rounds in Houston this year, and there is a LOT of training and supervision with people that already have been around the sport their whole life. I also flagged MotoGP at Austin for 3 days and there was far more people (huge track) and far less instruction and no radios for flaggers.

Every part of the safety team in SX is on radio, each group has their own channel. You can't have every flagger with a full set of flags unless you want chaos, it isn't up to a flagger to decide the rules. It is only up to the Race Director to call for a red flag, and that is from the AMA in the tower.

Perhaps the Medical team should consider helmets. No track worker wants to go onto a hot track without knowing that someone up track has their back, either by tuff blocks or flags. In this case it appears that the red flag should have been shown as the 1st lap was nearing completion, and it was not.

It's easy for Vital couchtards to complain without having any idea how much effort and professionalism goes into putting on these races, but I can tell you 1st hand it is highly organized and managed by outstanding people who care for this sport as much as anyone here.

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2015 Beta 500 RS, history: 99 KTM 300, 87 CR250, 84 KLR 600, 82 GPZ 550, 81 KX 250, 80 KX 250, 79 Montesa 414 VE, 78 250 VB, 77 360 VB, 76 360 VA, 75 YZ 125, 74 TM 125, 72 TS 125, 60's West Bend Go Boy Kart

2/21/2021 8:31 AM

AMA needs to take their role as sanctioning body seriously and implement proper race control, and a post race review system where incidents are investigated and riders penalized/docked points as appropriate. Right now they seem to do this randomly. They need to protect the integrity of the rules of the sport, otherwise it quickly starts to turn into WWE.

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2/21/2021 8:41 AM

Unless things have changed, The flaggers don't travel with the show, so most of them are different people at each round. It would be hard to stay consistent running the program like that.

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