By Mike Garrison
A Moment with Mike is a weekly opinion column where LiveRC’s Mike Garrison gives his take on hot-button issues, general topics, and conversations within the RC industry. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.
This past weekend hosted the Monster Energy Cup Supercross. For those of you who aren’t familiar, this is an indoor dirt bike race held in Las Vegas in which there are three pro class main events. If you manage to win all three main events, you win 1 million dollars. This year Eli Tomac won the million-dollar prize, however, not without a bit of controversy.
Eli was clearly the fastest rider on the track in main event #1 and #2, and he went on to win those without any real fight from the competition. In main event #3, however, Tomac was buried in the pack off the start and was forced to fight his way to the front. With only one lap left to go, Eli Tomac had worked his way into second place behind the race leader Joey Savatgy. Savatgy and Tomac are team mates on Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Savatgy had no chance at winning the million dollars, or the overall, and with a half lap left to go he pulled aside and allowed his teammate to pass for the win – and the million-dollar prize.
There was no mistake, this was clearly team tactics discussed prior to the race. Some speculate that Eli offered Joey a cut of the money if he’d let him pass, others say it was team orders, a guaranteed contract renewal for Savatgy, and/or various other reasons. Fans watching were either all for it – or completely against it.
(Click PLAY to watch starting at 2:30 as Savatgy surrenders the lead for Tomac to win $1,000,000.)
Obviously by being on a team, whether you a racing dirt bikes or R/C cars, your willingness to work together on the track for your teammates will most likely be higher than it would be for racers who aren’t on your team – but is it $1,000,000 higher?
I’ve seen team tactics in action over the years in R/C car racing, but none to the point of someone pulling over to let their teammate in second pass to win the race. Would that ever happen in R/C?
In order to find out, I reached out to a handful of respected professionals and rising star R/C racers asking, “What would it take for you to pull over while leading the ROAR Nationals to allow your teammate to win?”
These are the answers I received:
“I wouldn’t if I knew I could benefit from it the most, but if my teammate had more on the line (like Tomac), then hell I would for sure!”
“Nothin’ I’m winning. We all want to win.”
“If I attend a race I’m there to win. If you ain’t first you’re last!”
“If I was leading A3 and couldn’t win the overall, and my teammate was running 2nd and would win the overall by me letting him win A3, I’d do that. To keep the title with our team. Running 1-3 is better than 2-3 overall, even if I drop from 2nd to 3rd.”
“Depends. Who am I, and who is my teammate?”
“I would only pull over if it were for triple a-mains and I had no shot of winning and my teammate needed the win to get the overall. If it were a payout race, I would need to make more by pulling over than by actually winning the race. If money wasn’t involved it better be a life or death situation because I’m not gonna pull over if I have a shot at winning!”
“If it was going to be my first win, there is no amount of money that would make me not want to win. If I was in that position to me it’s not about the money, just simply winning.”
“This better be a joke, right? That’s exactly what I thought when I saw the pass.”
“It would absolutely depend on the situation. If I was in contention to win a national title, I honestly can’t say there is anything that would get me to allow my teammate to take it instead of me. But in the case all I’m to going to do is win the race and my teammate is able to win the National title I would absolutely hand it over. Reason I am on a team is to be able to work as a team. Whether we win together or lose together, I would rather be able to say we were national champions.”
“That Monster Million cuzzo.”
“This hobby/sport from some, comes down to money at the end of the day. Pros are money motivated for a reason, but for me it would definitely depend which teammate it was and the relationship we share.”
“Nothing. Wouldn’t Happen.”
“Honestly that’s tough. That’s a big race to win. It would take A LOT of persuasion if I had a chance to win the overall title. Possibly a way better deal for the next year of racing or a big amount of contingency. If my teammate had a 2-1 and I had a 3-3, I’d most likely let him by if he needed the points to win.”
Now I want to know YOUR thoughts on this type of racing. Have you seen it or been a part of it before in R/C? Is it right, or is it wrong? If you were leading the ROAR Nationals, what would it take for YOU to pull over and let your teammate win the race instead?
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