Keith Huewen: ‘Horrendous’ Booth-Amos attack like something outside a nightclub

The shocking Tom Booth-Amos assault video is one of the key topics on this week’s extended MotoGP podcast featuring Keith Huewen.
Tom Booth-Amos attacked by team member in 2019 (Twitter)
Tom Booth-Amos attacked by team member in 2019 (Twitter)

Over the Thai MotoGP weekend, footage emerged on social media of Booth-Amos being attacked by a member of his own CIP Moto3 team as he returned to the pits during the 2019 Buriram event.

Responding to the video, Booth-Amos wrote: “This happened after the race when my bike broke down due to a mechanic’s error, I was asked to not say anything and I kept quiet.

“I never told anyone including Dorna or my management at the time. That’s just one thing that happened that year, people don’t know what goes on behind the TV screen.”

Remote video URL

CIP later issued an apology, while a joint statement on Wednesday morning by FIM, IRTA and Dorna announced that: “…The person in question continues to work in the paddock and is now employed by a different team, which was unaware of this incident.

“The team has decided to terminate the employment of this staff member, who will not be returning to work for them after the Malaysian Grand Prix.”

The misconduct follows the recent dismissal of two other Max Racing mechanics for trying to block Tech3’s Adrian Fernandez from leaving the pits during Moto3 qualifying at Aragon.

Podcast host Harry Benjamin asked, are these isolated incidents or is there an inherent issue somewhere?

“Well, of course, we’ve got to clamp down on it, but first things first: This bit of private video has been around for a long time, but it wasn't released in public at all until now,” said former Grand Prix rider and British champion Keith Huewen.

“It was the classic, you pass it on to a friend, your friend passes it on to their friends, who pass it on to their friends. And by the time it gets diluted to the friend of the friend of the friend, they put it out there and make a quippy comment about it, which is basically where it came from… Steve Brogan let loose the whirlwind.

“I like Tom Booth-Amos. He's a good kid… You didn't see it [on the video], but he was getting kicked on the floor at the back of the garage by this ‘technician’. It was a serious, serious incident.

“Why didn’t Tom say anything at the time? You’ve got to remember he was concerned for his career and I think all racers, including myself, have been in a position where we wished we'd reacted in a different way regarding a team we were with and were being abused or treated badly.

“But the fact is, you grit your teeth and get on with it. This guy had verbally abused Tom on a few occasions. Once, I'm told, in front of his parents. It's a situation where the guy obviously was a bit of a loose cannon and - as it moves on - he is, or was, crew chief for John McPhee over in Max Biaggi's team.

“The question of, is there toxicity within paddock? No. I think it's a hotheaded, emotional, vibrant environment where everybody is working on adrenaline quite often.

“But I can see it getting worse as we take on more and more Grands Prix and team members are away from home for longer and longer, and in each other's faces for longer and longer.

“It's rare that you work in a team where there isn’t an inter-team aggravation. A rider sometimes is rude. He's on the edge all the time. Wants the last thousandths of a second out of the bike. If somebody drops the ball slightly do you forgive them? Of course you do in the cold light of day, but not at that moment. You let go with a bit of verbal. You give him the eyeball, whatever it is. You're not happy. MotoGP podcast with Keith Huewen MotoGP podcast with Keith Huewen

“Tom came back in. Something was wrong with the bike. He gave it a bit of mouth and this guy instead of doing what he should have done as a crew chief or technician, by taking it on the nose for a minute and then getting Tom round the back of the trucks and saying, ‘don't speak to me like that old mate, we're all working together and we're trying to move forward’.

“He didn't. He started smacking the back of Tom. Punching him. Kicking him. It was horrendous. Outrageous. If you'd seen it outside a nightclub in Northampton, just down the road from me, with everybody slugging it out in the street. They'd get done and slung in jail.

“I think it broadens out as well into a wider situation, about how to deal with these kinds of things.

“I think Dorna maybe found themselves in a position where it’s ‘hang on a second, is this our problem? It's an assault. It should be the local police that are dealing with it’. No, I think Dorna must deal with this and must have a process for dealing with this.

“If somebody in a working environment is abused in any way, against the law of the land, or against Dorna’s policies regarding teams, through IRTA, it must be dealt with. There must be a mechanism for that.”

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