We see it every week: the precision, the stamina and the poise that it takes a rider to win a moto is incredible. The only thing more amazing is when a rider does it again and again. And then again and again….
James Stewart does it twenty straight times? The formality of giving James the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship happened this past weekend, but all of us that have gone to the races knew by the third round, this battle was over.
Yet despite these heroics, I feel like I and many others in the media haven’t quite given The Seven enough coverage. He should be spoken and written about much more but we have already taken it for granted that he will give us a victory—and a big one at that. The battle behind him rages each week, with a different rider grabbing the mantle and saying that they just might be able to capitalize if Stewie makes a mistake (next up: Andrew Short). The problem is guys like me want to make the viewers, listeners and readers excited about the race and want them to have an interest in the race. It’s hard to articulate a man slicing up the track like that knife on latenight TV that goes through a frozen orange juice can like butter.
What can a guy on the Racer X Motocross show or on the webcast say? “There goes James, destroying a berm and carrying five more miles per hour than anyone else around that corner….” It just doesn’t do his riding justice, so do what I told you to do: go see him ride. To ride a supercross track with precision is one thing; to ride a bumpy, rutted, changing-every-lap outdoor motocross track for 38 minutes and not make a mistake is another.
We’ve seen this act before with RC, but to me I saw The GOAT make plenty of mistakes out there but just hang on and pin it anyways. He was the most in-control out-of-control rider in history. James is something else altogether. He’s showing that going through the roughest part isn’t the fastest way; he’s showing us that his brain is his greatest weapon. To be able to calculate and react to what the bike is doing at the speeds he goes is his best attribute. He told me that he doesn’t have a strategy; he told me that he “just rides.” I’m not sure if I believe that but I do believe we’ll see perfection continued throughout the rest of this season.
But here’s a tip of the visor to Marc De Reuver. He’s riding into the lion’s den this weekend, using an off-weekend from his GP schedule to come and compete in the AMA Toyota Motocross Championships. Southwick is a sand track, and he’s a sand rider (though he’s pretty good on any track). Marc is jumping into the series when it’s almost over, just for a weekend, because he likes to race—and he wants to race against our very best, at his peak. It’s a tall order (Stewie was raised in the sand) but it’s pretty cool that he’s coming anyway. Let’s give #154 Honda a warm welcome, and then let’s watch if Stewart can complete his summer masterpiece.