Ricky Carmichael is pissed off. He’s on his feet with his arms extended, his hands open and fingers outstretched. It’s the kind of gesticulating you’d expect from a rider unjustly taken to the ground by a rival or one who experiences bike failure while leading. But Carmichael isn’t trying to win a race today. He just wants the damn replay.
The right replay.
Here’s what happened: at precisely two minutes, twenty-six seconds into the 250 Main Event at MetLife Stadium on April 27, everyone sees that Austin Forkner’s 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season is officially over. He rolls off the track, hobbles next to his motorcycle and doubles over in pain. Clearly, the ACL in his left knee waved the white flag.
In their ears, the NBC Sports on air team of Carmichael and partner Ralph Sheheen hear their producer Chris Bond say ‘here comes another look.’ On the television screen, the NBC replay chip flies into place, touches down just long enough for the scene behind it to change, and zips away. Carmichael, the analyst, stares at a tight slow motion shot of Forkner sailing through the air and then pulling off the track at the end of the lane. It’s not the right moment and he knows it. But he has to say something.
“Here’s what happens, ok?” he begins. “He goes over the triple, pulls off… where it really happens is when he jumps back across the start straight…” Carmichael stops talking. The shot dissolves to Forkner’s Team Owner, Mitch Payton, whose hands are on his knees and head dropping into his lap. Sheheen picks up for Carmichael, who goes into a silent but active rage. He smashes his finger into the talkback button, which allows him to speak directly to Bond without his words being picked up on air.
He wants another shot at explaining what happened to Forkner, who led the championship by three points coming into the race. But ‘Bondo’, as his friends and co-workers call him, has to choose between showing the real-time agony of Forkner, going back to the race leader (who is now engaged in a battle), or going back in time and showing the correct replay of Forkner’s crucial moment.