This year’s Supercross season has been one full of ups and downs for Team Kawasaki’s James Stewart. Of the 16 races run so far (including the World SX rounds in Canada), Stewart has won eight; in all the others, he has crashed and been forced to climb back to the podium. Needless to say, his few bad races have left him playing catch-up for most of the series.
Now after last weekend’s turbulent race in Dallas, Texas, James finds himself in the driver’s seat of the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross G P standings, and sitting comfortably in third--ten points down from the top spot--in the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross standings. And with the penultimate round of competition looming in the distance at the often-rainy Seattle, Washington, venue, Stewart has been doing everything he can to try and claw his way to the top of the standings; however, with Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed to pass, it’s going to be no easy task.
At the last round of competition in Dallas, Texas, Stewart had a rough race, but gained some ground in the Championship chase, after his main competition Ricky Carmichael finished a disappointing fifth. “In the main, I came out third on the start, and got around Travis Preston pretty quickly,” Stewart said of his night. “Then I followed Ricky for a few laps, but because of the way the track was I was making some mistakes; it was a little technical and hard to follow. After that, I passed Ricky through a whoop section on lap five. A few laps after that, he went down. Then a few laps later I went off the track when my forks bottomed out and twisted going off a jump, which made me land on some haybales. That sent me way back to sixth, but I ended up riding pretty well, and made my way back up to second.”
For Stewart, the next two races are going to be critical to his championship hopes, in both the World GP standings and the AMA standings. “My main focus, honestly, is to win the next two races. If I do that then I’m going to wrap up the World Title, and be pretty close to the AMA Title if those other guys (Reed and Carmichael) don’t make any mistakes. All I can do is try to do my best, and I think either one of those titles will come.
“I’m going to approach the last two races the same. For me, the one thing that I have on my side is speed. Every single weekend at the races, I have been the fastest guy out there, so I don’t feel like I need to pick up my pace at all. I just need to stay out of the carnage and stay safe, and I should do pretty well. God forbid anything happens, but I should be able to win these last few races.”
Looking ahead even further than the final two rounds, though, Stewart is hoping for some better luck in the great outdoors of the National Motocross series. “The outdoors is, hopefully, going to be a different year, and nothing close to last year. I’m a winner, so when I’m not winning it hurts really bad. I feel like this year I have something to prove outdoors, so I’m going to go out there and do my best.
“I just think my whole mental attitude going into it is a lot different. Right off the start we have a better situation, going in with a 450 instead of a 250 (two-stroke) like last year. I just think with how the Supercross season has been going, with me racing all of these races, I’m getting stronger as the season goes, and I’m going to carry that momentum right into the outdoors.”
In the end Stewart has learned a lot during his sophomore season in the premier-class, and he will attest to that, after all, this time last year Stewart was way out of the championship hunt.