At this summer’s Red Bull Spring Creek National, the Suzuki rider finally took the top step.
Motocross is a cruel and unpredictable affair, especially at the pro level, something James Stewart has dealt with extensively over the past several seasons. Nearly untouchable just a few short years ago, Stewart has seen motocross dispense blow after demoralising blow in the form of weird crashes and injuries, and has struggled to win races, something that his competition was used to Stewart doing every time he raced against them.
This year was supposed to be different, though. After all, Stewart had made the jump from the Yamaha, a bike that he clearly didn’t get along with, to a brand new Suzuki, an agile, flickable machine that lends itself beautifully to Stewart’s precise style. And at the start of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, things were indeed going well. Stewart found himself on the podium at the opening race at Hangtown, a promising start to a brand new season.
Unfortunately, the weird luck that every racer has experienced to some degree would again rear its ugly head for Stewart. A rider went down right in front of Stewart and took him out at Thunder Valley; he took a rock to the eye in one moto at High Point and suffered a mechanical failure while leading the next; and at Southwick a sudden cross-rut turned a huge lead into a DNF.
The string of unfortunate incidents was enough to take Stewart out of the championship battle, but it wasn’t enough to take away his drive, and Stewart kept fighting, intent on once again spraying the elusive victory champagne.
After Southwick, he garnered podium finishes at RedBud and Washougal and finally, at the Red Bull Spring Creek National, he broke through for his first win of the season. He did it in dramatic fashion too, by putting on what was considered to be the best battle of the season in the first moto with Trey Canard, and the second-best battle of the season in the second moto, once again with Trey Canard. When it was all over, Stewart had gone 1-3 for the overall.
We could describe the battles to you, but nothing short of a visual will do them justice. In the clips below, check out James Stewart creating two of 2013’s truly magic moments...