With his supercross debut less than 48 hours away, we caught up with Team Kawasaki’s James “Bubba” Stewart to see what thoughts were running through the 16-year-old’s mind. Here’s what the kid from Florida had to say about baseball, pressure and Pro Circuit…
TransWorld Motocross: Is Ken Griffey Jr. here with you?
James Stewart: Yeah, he’s here hanging out with my mom and dad.
TWMX: Is he a good friend of the family?
JS: Yes. He comes out to the house a lot and rides his bike. He is pretty good!
TWMX: Ken Griffey Jr. rides motocross?
JS: He rides motocross better than I can hit baseballs!
TWMX: How did you come to know the famous home run hitter?
JS: I met him at a local track. Scott Taylor from Fox Racing hooked that up. I just went out there and he was there riding. We have gotten to know each other real good and we have been good friends ever since.
TWMX: He was into motocross before he knew you and your family?
JS: Yes, I think he had already been riding for a while.
TWMX: Everyone is talking about the pressure you are under. Do feel any pressure to perform?
JS: I am going to just go out there and do my thing. There is a little pressure, but I am going to try not to think about it.
TWMX: What are you going to do, to not to think about it? There will be 50,000 people in this stadium on Saturday night!
JS: I am not worried about the fans. I think it’s actually a good thing that the fans are there watching, The fans keep me exited about the race! I am going to just not think about anything and ride my race.
TWMX: You’re a factory rider for Kawasaki. Weren’t you going to ride for Mitch Payton under the Pro Circuit tent? What happened there?
JS: Umm.. (Pauses) I really don’t know. You will have to ask my mom and dad about that one.
TWMX: Would you rather be riding for Pro Circuit or Factory Kawasaki as a rookie 125 rider?
JS: It?s nice being under the Factory Kawasaki tent. If I had to ride for Mitch, I would not have a problem with it. Pro Circuit makes great stuff and it’s a great team.
TWMX: Originally you going to ride the 125 East, weren’t you? Why did you switch to the West, because it would be easier with less competition?
JS: Both Kawasaki and myself thought it would be a good idea. I felt I was riding good and they thought I was ready.
TWMX: If you get out in front of the other 19 guys on Saturday night in the main, who do you think is going to be breathing down your neck?
JS: (Pauses) I don?t know. I really don’t know who I am racing against! (Laughs). I really haven’t been thinking about it. I just want to go out and have fun. I think I have the speed. I have been working hard, so I know I can go the distance.
TWMX: What do you think of your mechanic Jeremy Albrecht?
JS: J- Bone? He is like family already! I love that guy. He is so cool. I remember growing up watching him when he was working for Jeff Emig, I would say, “Oh my God, he is such a cool mechanic.” I never thought that he would be my mechanic. Never! It’s cool!
TWMX: I was talking to him the other day asking him about you, and he said you are crazy. He told me you are the first one to jump stuff.
JS: I know. He would come up to me and say, “You think you can hit that?” Then I would say, “Naw, I don’t think so,” and then I would just go and hit everything on the first lap. I don’t like to think about it too much, I would rather do it than think about it.
TWMX: Any last shoutouts?
JS: Come out to the races and I will be out here for you guys. I would like to thank my mom and dad, Team Chevy Trucks/Kawasaki and all the fans!