Kawasaki’s Stewart Wins 125 Eastern Region Supercross Title

Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki rider becomes only second rider to win on both coasts

ST. LOUIS (March 13, 2004) — Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James Stewart clinched the 125 Eastern Region Supercross championship with a convincing win on Saturday night at the THQ AMA Supercross at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. Stewart adds his name alongside Ernesto Fonseca as the only riders to win 125 titles in both the Eastern and Western Supercross Series’.

The 18-year-old Kawasaki KX125-mounted rider has been on a roll of late and the 125 title is a culmination of hard work and determination by both Stewart and his Chevy Trucks Kawasaki teammates.

“This championship might be the sweetest one yet, said Stewart as he exited the podium. “I’ve been very consistent this year, something that hasn’t been the case throughout my career. I’ve been fast before, but there’s always been a crash here or there that has kept me from being this consistent.

One of the main reasons for me staying in this (125) class and not moving up to the 250s was to get another full season under my belt. My main goal is to continue to mature and get better and stronger every week. This championship feels really good.

The St. Louis win was Stewart’s fifth of the season and 12th consecutive victory overall, dating back to June 2003 of the Chevrolet AMA Motocross Series. During that span, he has also won every moto (14) in the two-moto per-race format in motocross and all but one of his heat races in Supercross.

On Saturday night, he once again used his lightning-fast speed to completely dominated the field en route to a 27.906-second margin of victory. He earned the Butterfinger Holeshot Award by getting off the line well and then quickly checked out, opening up a double-digit lead by the fifth lap.

“The win tonight was a good one and I’m really happy for my teammate, said Stewart in reference to the third place finish by Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s Paul Carpenter. “I seemed to be comfortable on the track from the start. I was able to do the triple-triple-triple in the rhythm section for pretty much the entire race and that was a second or two right there.

People want to know about riding the 250s now that I’ve got the championship. I’m still focusing on winning the rest of these (125 races) and then the East/West shootout in Vegas. I committed to riding the 125s this year and I want to focus on that.

Carpenter’s results were the best of his career and marked the first time that he stepped onto a podium as a professional rider. He battled with Josh Hansen for the second spot for more than half the race. Only a couple of bike lengths separated the two riders the entire time, but Carpenter was unable to get around Hansen and had to settle for third place.

He jumped up the ladder in the 125 Eastern Region Supercross point standings one spot to eighth place and has a legitimate shot at cracking into the top three overall. He trails third place rider Kelly Smith by just six points with two rounds remaining.

Chevy Trucks Kawasaki Team Green riders Jeff Northrup and Darcy Lange, who was recently crowned the Arenacross champion, made their 2004 Supercross debut aboard Kawasaki KX250F bikes. Northrup finished 18th in the main event, while Lange suffered a knee injury earlier in the day and was forced to sit out the evening’s program.

Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks’ Eric Sorby was also struck by the injury bug in his heat race. Sorby, who was in second place in the point standings entering the race, came up short on a triple jump and was carted off the track. He was sent to a nearby hospital and was diagnosed to have a cracked sternum. He was released from the hospital on Sunday and his prognosis should be determined this week.

In the 250 class, Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki rider Michael Byrne kept a hold of his fifth place standing in the points with a seventh place fiinish in the main event. He nearly missed the official holeshot off the start and then put in 20 solid laps to earn another top-ten finish.

The AMA THQ Supercross Series heads to the RCA Dome in Indianapolis this Saturday for the 12th round on the 16-race circuit.