Tempers flared at the 2016 Anaheim One SX supercross race on Saturday, as one rider was suspended after punching a fellow competitor in the back of the head following a run-in on the track.
According to TRANSWORLD Motocross, riders Weston Peick and Vince Friese had a contentious history with each other prior to Saturday’s race, but things boiled over after Friese cut off Peick during a semifinal, wrecking both riders and infuriating Peick.
Shortly thereafter, Peick grabbed Friese and started punching the back of his head and neck before pushing Friese off the track.
For his actions, Peick was immediately disqualified from the night’s events and later suspended one race and given a $5,000 fine by the American Motorcyclist Association, motocross’ governing body.
The altercation wasn’t the first time Peick and Friese, who both have a reputation for being aggressive riders, got tangled on Saturday night.
Earlier, in the heat race, Peick was run wide by Friese coming around a turn and went tumbling out of the race boundaries. Because of that crash, Peick had to race again in the semifinals round, where he and Friese met once more, this time with the incident ending in punches being thrown.
“That was the best on-track fight I’ve ever seen,” TRANSWORLD Motocross Editor-in-Chief Donn Maeda told GrindTV. “Normally, you’ll just see guys come together and maybe push and shove one another before they get separated, but that was the first time I’ve seen one guy landing repeated punches on another rider.”
Maeda told GrindTV that on-track altercations aren’t entirely uncommon, particularly in the beginning of the race season (Anaheim One was the first race of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season) when emotions and energy are high. Still, Maeda said the fight between Friese and Peick was the result of a perfect storm of circumstances.
“Friese has always had a reputation for being a wild rider and driving too aggressively and taking people out,” said Maeda. “And Peick is this huge, strong guy people know not to mess with because he doesn’t take any crap. The funniest thing about the fight is that they both actually train together with the same trainer, and I know they incorporate boxing in their training, so all the conditions were just right for the fight.”
While Maeda said that the $5,000 fine and suspension Peick incurred were unfortunate, he noted that this fight will be shown on highlight reels for years to come. He also noted that Peick would likely gain the adulation of the motocross community as a whole for fighting Friese, who has long been known as a dirty rider by fans.
A quick glance at social media channels seems to back up Maeda’s statements, with riders and fans alike voicing sympathy for Peick:
I'm not saying that @westonpeick should throw punches, but I am saying that the @fs1 coverage showed @vincefriese riding like an idiot at least 4 time last night. Fading over triples, and in rhythm sections on @deanwilson15 and twice on @westonpeick Most Pro's on the track have experienced what I'm talking about.
— Aaron Plessinger (@plessinger157) January 10, 2016
— Andy Bell (@andybell) January 10, 2016
— Ryan Beat (@RyanBeat51) January 10, 2016
JGR, the motocross team that Peick rides for, has decided not to appeal his suspension. He will miss the second race of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross season Saturday in San Diego.
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