TEN THINGS ABOUT RED FLAGS, BLUE FLAGS & AMA RESTART RULES

Cameron McAdoo being evaluated by the medical crew.

(1) Red flag. In AMA Supercross, if a race is red-flagged with less than three laps completed by the leader, there will be a full restart. In AMA Supercross, if a race is stopped by a red flag after three laps are completed but with less than 90 percent of the race done, the riders will line up for a single-file staggered restart. The remaining length of the race will be rounded down to the nearest whole number of laps completed by the leader. If the race is 90-percent done when the red flag flies, the race will not be restarted, and the finishing results are determined by a rider’s position on the lap the race was stopped.

(2) McAdoo incident. At the 2021 Atlanta Supercross 2, Cameron McAdoo crashed on the second lap and needed medical assistance to get off the track, which triggered a red flag. Even after the violent wreck, Cameron pleaded with the medics to let him line up for the restart. Most people, including his Championship competitor Justin Cooper, thought this was against the rules. It wasn’t.

(3) Paradox. Oddly enough, under current AMA rules, had McAdoo crashed after three laps had been completed, he would not have been allowed to take part in the restart. The AMA rule covering red flags after three laps have been completed bans riders who were no longer “actively participating in the race at the time when the red flag was displayed” from rejoining the race.

(4) Rule change. Most people expect the AMA to change the 2022 rule book to not allow a rider who caused a red flag to rejoin the race for the restart. At the 2021 Atlanta Supercross, only the medics could have stopped McAdoo from racing—and they cleared him.

(5) Pro Motocross. Should an AMA National race be stopped after only one lap is complete, the race will be restarted using the original staging positions. If stopped after two laps, the riders will be staged based on their position the lap prior to the red flag. The restart will resume the race with the leftover time remaining of the 30-minute race. Should a race be stopped after the 20-minute mark, the race will be considered complete.

(6) Yellow flag. In AMA Pro Supercross and Motocross racing, the yellow flag is meant to tell riders to proceed with caution because of danger ahead. Surprisingly, they are still allowed to jump and pass when it’s waving.

 

(7) Red Cross. The Red Cross flag, or red flashing light, means no jumping and no passing in both Supercross and motocross. There is a difference, though. In Supercross, tires are allowed to leave the ground, while in the AMA Nationals, the rider’s wheels must stay on the ground. During a Supercross main event, if a rider jumps during a Red Cross flag, he will be docked any positions gained and penalized by the removal of points and purse money equal to two positions in the final results, plus two additional points. In motocross, the penalty for jumping on a Red Cross flag is up to the AMA referee’s discretion. And, as amazing as it sounds for a flag that is considered the most important flag of all of them because it is for the safety of fallen riders, medics and track workers who go to help, in the 2021 Nationals the AMA referees have been handing out one-point and the occasional two-point penalties for jumping a flag that when ignored could result in serious injury or death. Maybe that AMA referee should be the one laying on the track the next time and then he’d make a better decision about what kind of penalty it takes to stop riders from jumping Red Cross flags—certainly one point isn’t going to do it.

(8) Seattle 2019. After the start at the 2019 Seattle Supercross, Chad Reed was involved in a big pileup in the rhythm section with multiple riders. With the Red Cross flags waving, Marvin Musquin came by while leading and jumped three doubles, breaking the rule and gapping Ken Roczen. He won the race but was docked the points and purse earnings of two positions, plus an additional two points. This dropped him from 26 total championship points for a win, to 19. He was still awarded with the first-place trophy and the win statistic in the record books. 

(9) Houston 2021. Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson, Martin Davalos and Vince Friese were each docked the points and purse earnings of two positions, plus an additional two points, for jumping on a Red Cross flag that was out for injured Chase Sexton at Houston 2. Ken Roczen’s Red Cross flag violation cost him the points lead and the point leader’s red plate.

(10) Blue flags. Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton both battled with lappers while leading in 2021, Ken Roczen with Dean Wilson at Houston 3 and Chase Sexton with Cade Clason at Atlanta 1. Both times, the Honda riders lost the lead and the race in the final laps. The 2021 AMA Supercross rule book regarding obeying blue flags reads, “When conditions allow, move out of the fast line. Once out of the fast line, hold your line; do not ride erratically and do not impede the faster rider’s progress. Riders disregarding the blue flag may be penalized at the discretion of Race Direction.” However, neither Wilson nor Clason were penalized by the AMA, only ridiculed on the internet.

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