Over the weekend during the 250SX West Region main event at Angel Stadium, Dylan Ferrandis came into a turn hot on Christian Craig. Although both riders went down, Craig took most of the brunt of the crash. A mangled bike and rough get-off took Craig out for the night as Ferrandis remounted and continued his charge to the front of the field. Ferrandis caught and battled Jett Lawrence before winning his first race of the 2020 championship.
The incident was under review but eventually Ferrandis was given the win and full points as no penalty was given. During his podium interview, the stadium roared with boos on the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha rider, who paused before saying: “I’m sorry if I [injured] him, that’s not what I want to do but otherwise I give everything I have and a win is a win.”
Unfortunately for Ferrandis and his team, the hate didn’t stop there as he received more unfiltered comments on all sorts of social media platforms. This week for 3 on 3, we asked editors-at-large Steve Matthes, Jason Thomas, and Kris Keefer about the incident, their thoughts on a possible punishment, and the retaliation factor.
1. On a scale between Bob Hannah and Jeremy McGrath, where are you at with contact on the race track? (Is it okay or do you hate it?)
Steve Matthes: I'm perfectly fine with it, it's always been part of the sport and good aggressive racing is fine with me. Think Andrew Short or Zach Osborne now as guys that ride that fine line of aggressiveness and dirty. There's another rider that straddles that line...oh yeah, his name is Dylan Ferrandis! As long as there's no t-boning or the riders that go for the exit of the turn and hope it all turns out (a couple of examples of dirty riding) I'm good with contact out there.
Jason Thomas: I have never been a huge fan of it. I can understand Steve's perspective but he's also never been blasted off the track by Tyler Evans or Vince Friese, either. Is it entertaining? Sure. Is it a little different when you're out there in the midst of it? Also, yes. I don't think many riders are all that cool with it deep down. Being knocked down or off the track, etc, is usually very expensive at minimum or worse, leaves you injured. Even as awesome as Shorty is as a person, I never really cared for that in his racing style. I had a few words for him at Lakewood after he ran me off the track in practice. Timmy Ferry was one of my best racing friends and he was notorious for straddling that line of aggression, too. I wasn't into it then and I am not into it now. To each their own, I guess. The upside is that now I only have to talk about it instead of picking myself and my motorcycle off of the ground.
Kris Keefer: It was an aggressive move by Ferrandis that was way too early to make, but I don't think it was malicious at all. It's dirt bikes! We want action as fans don't we? But then we all bitch about it when it goes down? Come on! Ferrandis is aggressive, we know this. Is Ferrandis looking to break Craig's leg? Absolutely not. I would understand why Craig is upset, hell I would be too! Ferrandis screwed up and should have owned it on live TV ASAP. If he did that, all of this would have calmed down sooner.
2. Do you think Craig will try to pay Ferrandis back?
Matthes: I'm not sure if he will or not because he's not one to really ride like that (except for when he lost his mind on Troll Train one time) but if he gets a chance, he should. Or at least, I would! And truthfully, Dylan should expect and understand that he's owed one. The sport has a long lineage of this kind of tit for tat stuff and so I think he should, but I'm not sure he will. #waffle
Thomas: I don't think he will set out with a plan for retaliation because that's always difficult to execute in a race. I don't think he would do it in practice, either, because that doesn't really effect anything. Over the course of the next few weeks, though, I fully expect an opportunity to arise where CC gets his shot. Ferrandis is a little quicker than Craig and is a much worse starter. That dynamic almost guarantees a situation where Ferrandis will have to pass Craig and the door will be open. Craig will have to make a decision at that point. Only he can decide how aggressive he wants to be and if he wants payback.
Keefer: I think Craig is at the age as well as the type of rider that will not go for payback. Maybe a younger Christian would have been all about the revenge factor, but to me Craig just wants to move on and get a win under his belt. Look at it this way... If Craig does nothing to Ferrandis and they find each other in the same situation, late in the race again, I feel like Craig has the upper hand. Ferrandis has the probation as well as the thought of "Craig has done nothing to retaliate" mindset and that could take Dylan off his usual aggressive game, which in turn could help Craig. Boom! I just quarterbacked the crap out of that one!
3. Should there be bigger penalties for this beyond the probation Ferrandis will now serve?
Matthes: No, not at all. Look, Dylan Ferrandis ruined a guy’s race with a move that proved to be ill-advised. If you want proof of that, look at the fact that he went down while trying to make the pass happen. He should be fined a small amount or sure, yeah, probation (tries to not laugh as the AMA has shown probation doesn't mean anything). There should be some consequence for his move but it makes me wonder why there never seems to be ANY penalties dished out for some horrendous LCQ moves over the years from riders that aren't quite as high-profile as these two.
Thomas: I would have been okay with a monetary penalty. Ferrandis made somewhere in the range of 50-75K for that win after all things considered. I don't think probation sends a very strong message but a $5,000 fine might. Even then, he would probably shrug that off, too. I don't think there is really a penalty that will get his attention other than a points deduction. I don't think this specific move on Craig warranted a points deduction but when you factor in the aggression on Jett, also, I wouldn't be shocked had they taken a few points away. Jett was very lucky he didn't have a big crash BEFORE he later had one as Ferrandis slid into the take-off of that 3-3. Had Jett crashed there due to Ferrandis' line and intent, I think the penalty would have to be much stronger. Ferrandis' race overall wasn't advisable. I don't think you can make moves like those repeatedly without paying a price eventually.
Keefer: I agree with JT, $5,000 is not going to do much. Points or positions however will though! I am fine with the probation on this move and to me that should put a little voice inside Dylan's helmet that is saying, "don't blast this dude in this corner." All of these situations should be looked upon on a case-by-case basis. Not every situation is the same. If Ferrandis block passes a rider in Glendale he also shouldn't be crucified for making the move. We do need to make sure that we have someone put in place inside the AMA/FIM that can understand this. Do we have that person? That is to be determined...