Larry Brooks and Mike Kranyak of L&M Racing held a press conference in Hollywood, CA on Friday on the roof of the famous Kress. They formally announced the 2009 race team as well as its continuing effort with Yamaha and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
The big news, however, was the official announcement of James Stewart’s move to Yamaha. The long-time Kawasaki rider is officially on a blue bike and will make his vie for the 2009 Supercross Championship along with his new teammate, Kyle Chisholm. Chisholm is extremely stoked about this new opportunity (as most of us would be), and will make the jump up to the 450, where he says he prefers to be.
We chatted with James about this new deal, and here is some of what he had to say…
Tell us about the new Yamaha deal.
I think riding Yamaha’s is going to be cool for me. It’s a different challenge in my life, a challenge that I think I needed. I’m excited about being part of a team that is really supportive. The guys at Kawasaki were definitely supportive, but now I get to kind of open my wings up. I am actually one the title sponsors of the team, so that makes me feel really good. I am excited about getting on the bike. It’s going to go really quickly heading into the U.S. Open, but hopefully I can get the job done.
You have all new sponsors with a whole new team, but you get to come back to Red Bull. What does it mean to have a familiar sponsor within a group of all-new support?
Red Bull has always supported me, even when I wasn’t riding for them. When I had this opportunity to go back, that’s where I wanted to go, and they felt the same way. New bike, new gear, but Red Bull is still the same. For me its good to have a sponsor that’s been there. At the end of the day, though, no matter what’s new, I am still the same guy trying to win, and I have an even better opportunity to do that now.
Tell us about James Stewart Entertainment.
J.S.E. is a new company I started up. It’s actually been around for a couple years, but I am really actually getting it going this year. When the opportunity came to be a title sponsor, I thought it was a way for me to give back to the sport. Even when I am not racing, I still want to sponsor the team.
How much influence did you have with Kyle Chisholm being signed to L&M?
Kyle earned his ride himself. Larry called me and he had about three guys he was looking at. He asked me what I thought about each guy, and Kyle was one of them. I was like, are you kidding me, Kyle Chisholm? Dude, we ride together almost every day. But he came out here and rode for Larry and earned his spot by himself. I think he’ll surprise a lot of people. he is a better 450 rider. He’s gonna go out and do his job. The cool part is that I get along with him really well. We are teammates and riding buddies, so I think it will be good.
What are the chances of Answer making a “Boo-bah” butt patch this next year?
You’ll have to talk to Roger and those guys to see, but we’ll see. I heard the new one this last weekend: Babba. I’ve heard ’em all. Seriously though, I think we are going to have some really special gear next year. We are all really excited about it.
It seems you have quite a fan base in Europe, much like here in the States. Do you get that impression?
When I went over to the Motocross of Nations I got the impression that a lot of Europeans like me, and I like them too. That’s why I want to go back. That’s why I am starting off with Bercy SX. I want to go over and race a couple times next year too. For the sport as a whole, the only way its going to grow is if the star riders are everywhere. They can’t only be in the States. It’s bigger over here, but the crowds are bigger there. I just want to grow the sport.