The comment I made on Pinkbike's announcement of Stevie's passing
has gathered a fair bit of attention: it has had numerous replies of support, and I've had messages from people wanting to help make it happen.
For reference, here's a copy of that message, or you can click the link above to see it on the announcement
|Stevie is not only protected top-80, but also a tv-safe top-20 rider. I therefore propose either at Fort Bill as the next race, or perhaps more appropriately at MSA later this year, that the UCI allow a ghost-lap in his honour. His current ranking is 12th, so let's let him have his last run down the track in 12th spot out the start-gate. The crowd, organisers, commentators all pay a silent respect for his lap while the TV cameras track his would-be movements down a silent and empty track, then the biggest f**king cheer you've ever heard roars out down the entire track top to bottom as his name is posted on the board at the finish line. I think this would be a powerful and fitting tribute for a fantastic racer who had won the hearts and respect of so many from such a young age. Surely with enough support and knowing enough people in the right circles we could make this happen?|
I've re-read my comment several times since I made it, thanks to all the replies of support, meaning I've had a bit of time to think the idea over. I stand by it, and it's something I would love to see happen, so I thought I would expand the idea and break it down a little further somewhere I have the space to do so, and also provide an anchor point to which people can link when trying to garner support.
My vision goes something like this:
Stevie is a top-80 protected rider. Furthermore, he is top-20 guaranteeing his run be shown on the live-stream. Now it's my understanding that if a top-20 rider fails to qualify inside 20th spot, then they are bumped up and start 20th regardless, even if they qualified last. I also understand there are rules about a rider at least starting their quali run in order to qualify for finals, but this is where I would like to see the UCI make an exception. Ignoring the fact Stevie can't roll out the start gate (we've seen riders do it before then just stop and walk off track), let's hope the UCI are on board and he is entitled to his top-20 televised run at the very least.
In my original comment I said to start his run at 12th (his current ranking) but I agree with the comment from @TheBigMtt
that being in the middle of the top-20 contenders would likely be quite disruptive.
I also don't know whether to propose this is done at Fort Bill as it's the next race, or we wait until MSA in August, on Stevie's home soil.
Here's my updated vision. It would need some careful timing to pull off, but would be so powerful.
- Rider 20: Stevie's bike is propped up in the gate, the cranks backward spinning as the camera cuts over
- Rob and Claudio introduce Stevie and say some words about him, his career, his achievements, and then his passing; his family's loss, Canada's loss, mountain biking's loss. Our loss
- Rob and Claudio then sign off, and the track, crowd, radios, all fall silent
- The start beeps count down, and Stevie's ghost is on-track
- The live-feed shows the usual out-the-gate, panning with him as he sets off
- Track marshals blow their whistles a few seconds apart (actual would need to be calculated) working from top-to-bottom
- Skip to the regular televised section start to meet the whistle-descent, at which point we know exactly how long the feed will take to get him to the bottom (which is usually 2-3 minutes of televised run)
- The cameras pan and follow Stevie's ghost as if they would the other riders
- The marshal whistles mark Stevie's progress, trackside still silent
- The finish-line timer is counting down
- The feed and marshal whistles follow Stevie's ghost all the way to the finish when we see the clock reach zero. Stevie is neither red nor green. He zeroes out, and the timer remains black
- The crowd goes absolutely nuts, a roar erupts in the stands; track-side top to bottom cries of "STEVIE
" and a chorus of chainsaws rings out, and everyone watching around the world shout and cheer in celebration of the one Stevie Smith
#LongLiveChainsaw, the only guy I've ever seen pre-jump
in to the In Deep rock-roll in Whistler Bike Park. Whutt?!