I gotta be honest, for selfish reasons, I am really glad this situation occurred.
Lead Photo By: James Lissimore
Over the years, there is no doubt I have written about Chad Reed many times and the majority(possibly all), in my mind have been positive-- dare I say admirable; to the point of me feeling slightly convicted of “fanboy-ism”. I’ve been cognizant of this possibility over the years but rather than trying to balance the scales by manufacturing some critical analysis of Chad, I’ve written what I’ve always stamped as a truthful point of view. At times I've worried that my objectiveness may have been sacrificed without my even knowing it but following St.Louis, I am quite proud to say, my objectiveness is fully intact.
Let’s rewind all the way back to the moment Chad has been quoted as noting that sparked his anger with Ryan Dungey, the first corner of the Main in Detroit. He points the finger of blame at Ryan for his going down and suffering that gnarly gash on his lower back. Rewinding and watching that incident nearly 50 times shows me that it was a chain reaction (as many first turn events are) which stemmed from Cole Seely. Justin Bogle was affected by Seely and Dungey was affected by Bogle simultaneously as Reed came in contact and it was mayhem from there. I can’t see Chad’s blame pie on Dungey’s table like Chad does and I’m sure Dungey didn’t either.
Dungey saw a more physically imposing and stubborn Reed than he ever has personally, in the St. Louis Heat race, and not feeling Chad’s blame or anger from Detroit, he was confused. He said as much on the podium while inadvertently further fueling the fire and the stage was set. Word got back to Chad and the 22 made up his mind to become the immovable and nonnegotiable object between Ryan and whatever result he may have otherwise achieved in St. Louis.
It was absolutely an immature, dick move.
But in saying that, it was also utterly inconsequential to the title.
There are plenty of other factors which have been more detrimental to Ryan Dungey’s waning 2017 title hopes. Sickness, Eli Tomac’s progress, Ryan Dungey’s inability to make moves quickly and an extension of all these reason together; KTM’s lack of issuing “Brand Orders” 5 races ago. Let’s face it, it’s inarguable that Eli Tomac is better than Ryan Dungey right now and he has been for many weeks in a row. KTM riders have stolen more points from Dungey than any other brand and with the writing on the wall regarding Tomac’s prowess over Dungey so many rounds ago, that is an egregious failure on KTM management’s shoulders.
Moving back to the “Blocking of STL” topic at hand… I’ve already stated that Chad’s move was bullshit but other than looking at it on it’s face and how long it took place (which is more Ryan’s doing than Chad’s) it was nothing. Put Eli, El Hombre or Ken Roczen in Ryan’s boots…. How long does this episode last? 3 corners? 4? How about the traditional fire breathing champs of the past like James Stewart or Ricky Carmichael? These guys don’t wait for shit, THEY REACH OUT AND TAKE IT WITH FORCE! Dick move? Yes but what the hell man?! Winning a title is a knock down drag out grudge match. You don’t wait for guys (slower or not) to get out of your way, you take that shit with force if need-be and you send a message when doing it, where necessary. We could even play role reversal here and Chad Reed would unquestionably put Dungey into the tuff-blocks in a matter of corners.
This is not to diminish blame on Chad. It was immature and he needed to be penalized (a black flag would have been true adherence to the rule book). I’ve always had a massive amount of respect for Ryan Dungey and his ability to stay healthy, at the races and more importantly, on the podium. He’s a multi-time Champ but this time if he wants to secure another, he’s going to have to get aggressive and take it with force. Dungey should be mad at Chad for sure but he needs to look in the mirror to see the true source of his flailing away of this title. Where’s the pride in backing your way into a title? If retirement is on the horizon and staying healthy and eeking out a title that began with a healthy points lead is your “plan”, you’ve already retired, man.