MXA'S AMA RULE OF THE WEEK: WHEN IS A RACE NOT A RACE
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Races often have to be restarted because of starting gate malfunction, dangerous situations on the track or injured riders who need immediate attention. In this cases, there are different sets of rules that determine how the restart will be configured.
(1) If the starting hang up or fails to fall for all 40 riders, the race will be stopped immediately and the riders will return to their original stating spots for a restart. However, should a rider jump the start, and make the rider or riders next to him jump the start also, that isn’t necessarily reason for a restart.
(2) Should a race be stopped after one lap has been completed — the riders will return to their original starting stops for a full restart. However, if the leaders completed two laps before the red flag appeared, the riders will be restaged behind the starting gate in the order they were running on the lap prior to the red flag (the AMA allows 10 minutes for the riders to get back behind the gate). When the race resumes, it will be for whatever times remains of the 30-minute plus two laps.
(3) If a race is stopped after 20 minutes has elapsed on the clock, the race will be stopped and the results will be determined based on the position all the riders were in at the time of the red flag (not on the lap before the red flag).
(4) No rider can go back to the pits after a red flag. All riders must go back to the staging area. If they return to their pit, they will not be allowed to restart. If a bike needs repairs, it can only be worked on in the staging area, during the 10-minute restart time. No bikes can be worked on once the riders roll up to the starting gate.
(5) If a rider fails to make the start or fails to make it back to the starting line after the race leader finishes one lap, he will not be allow to enter the race. This almost happened to Ryan Dungey at Southwick in 2011 when his Suzuki RM-Z450 wouldn’t start. He managed to get it started and entered the track just seconds before the leader came around on the first lap. Ryan came back to finish 7th in that moto.
(6) Supercross has a different set of restart rules—including the infamous staggered start.