As we all know, an injury at Washougal forced James Stewart to exit early from the Outdoor Motocross season, and he is has been using that time to prepare both mentally and physically for this upcoming Supercross season. This week TransWorld, along with other members of the media, sat down James; here is what he had to tell us…
What are you doing to enable you to repeat the dominant year you had in 07?
We have been working really hard this off-season. We needed to make some improvements; I felt we struggled during the outdoor season. A couple additions to the team have made a huge difference to my confidence and my program and I am ready to show what it is about.
You changed trainers in the off-season. How has that helped to prepare you for this upcoming season?
With Alden Baker around, things are different. You’ve seen his finish work with RC. From what I was doing and what I am doing now, I feel like a whole different person. I am really excited about getting into it. This year we are more prepared than we ever have been.
You and RC have had many epic battles throughout the last couple years, pushing each of you to higher levels. As a pure racer, will you miss it if those battles don’t happen anymore?
I have prepared myself to be pushed like that. We had great battles, but being at the top of the sport, everyone is looking to knock you down. So if I only come out half-prepared, then you will see me get pushed. I am going try my best not to let that happen; but if it does, we will be prepared.
Are you running #7 or #1 this Supercross season?
I am going to run #7. I told myself if I won both Supercross and Motocross championships, then I would run the #1. I won one, but not the other, so I want to stay true to myself and run the #1 when I can run it all year. I know I deserve to run it during Supercross, but something inside of me told me I need to earn it a little more.
Do you think it is possible to ride any momentum from outdoor motocross, or are they too different from one another? Does Grant Langston have any momentum, or has too much time passed?
Coming off of a championship does help going into the following season. He won the U.S. Open and he did well at Bercy, but we will see. I hope he is riding well, it is good for the sport, it’s good for everybody…I hope Chad (Reed) brings his A game, and Grant, too. It is good for the sport.
Can you explain your decision to withdraw from the U.S. Open?
I just felt like I wasn’t ready. We only had a couple days to prepare for that race, so it’s tough. And the last thing I want to do is embarrass myself. I would rather pull out and not hurt myself, my team, or my fans.
Is this a sign that you are learning to know when to back it off?
As for backing off, my philosophy is if you are not falling or crashing, then you are not trying hard enough. I know that every time I walk off the track I gave it all I had, and that’s what counts.
Do you feel you have matured over the last couple seasons?
Yes, for sure. It’s not that I have gained maturity as much as just gotten older. I know how to win a championship, that’s not a problem. The problem is having bad races. But you can look back at those races and see what you could have done different, and that’s where maturity comes in.
Can you tell us about the rumored 21 rear wheel?
To be brutally honest with you, if they threw it on, I am in shock. I remember testing that day at the Kawasaki track and it was never mentioned one time. If it comes to be true, I am sorry, but honestly I don’t know.
As for where you stand currently in the scheme of racing, are you where you thought you would be?
To be honest with you, I didn’t think I would be this far along. It’s easy to take things fro granted; but when I go and sit in the saddle, I think that I am very blessed. As a kid, I never thought I would be close to this. Lookingg at it that way allows me to have more fun. Obviously I would liked to win the Outdoor championship and that is one time I felt like I might have let it go. But things happen for a reason; maybe it wasn’t my time to win. So I feel like every time something goes wrong, I get better.
How do you feel physically in comparison to years passed?
I feel twice as good as I ever have. I feel unbelievably fit. Honestly, I am looking for to Supercross, but my main goal is looking forward to the Outdoor Motocross season. I want to crush it.