Monday Conversation I: Team USA's MX1 rider, James Stewart

September 29, 2008 5:00am | by:
James Stewart just capped off perhaps the most dominant outdoor season in AMA history with a win at the Motocross des Nations for the second time in his career. This time, though, there was absolutely no questioning that he was the fastest man on the track, but sometimes, as he has learned through his career (and has changed his way of racing because of this knowledge), it’s not always the fastest rider or team who wins. This weekend at the Motocross des Nations at Donington Park in England, though, the fastest team was the USA, and they won anyway.

Racer X: Obviously, you guys had your troubles this weekend, but you guys won. However, it seems like you’re not quite as happy about that as one might expect you to be.

James Stewart: No, I am happy, it’s just that I don’t like falling. I fell two or three times all year, and I fell four times at this race – I tipped over once in practice, and I fell twice yesterday and once today. I don’t like that. I just don’t like that anymore. So that was a real bummer. The other bummer part was that I felt like... I didn’t let the team down, but I felt like I had it pretty much in control and all of that, but then I ended up falling. But at the end of the day, I was pumped.

You talked a bit about Sebastien Pourcel in the press conference, with him maybe making some pretty aggressive moves on you. Do you think this is going to be a new thing you and your teammates are going to have to learn to deal with at this race?
I think so. Nobody [on the U.S. team] talked any crap before we came over here, because we respect those guys tremendously. I said all along that it was going to be tough, and it was. Even when we beat those guys yesterday [in the qualifying races], I told Ryan [Villopoto] and Timmy [Ferry] that it would be a different story today – that they wouldn’t ride the same – and then when he [Pourcel] took Ryan out that first moto, and then [David] Philippaerts tried taking me out, and then Sebastien tried taking me out, and then tried getting me again, it just kind of bummed me out because I felt like they should just try and beat me straight up and be done with it. I never tried to hit him. But I’m not going to complain about it. Racing is racing, and I guess if I was in his situation and knew I couldn’t go the whole distance, I’d probably have to take him out, too. [Laughs]

At that point, it became a math problem to see if the USA was still going to win. What were you thinking out on the track not knowing how that was going to work out?
I knew we were in trouble because we didn’t have a huge points lead before that. I knew we were in trouble. But I knew Timmy [Ferry], like Roger [DeCoster] said, he was our insurance policy. He might not be the cheapest or most expensive policy, but he’ll get it done if you need him. He was there, and he stepped it up. He passed a couple of guys when he knew I was down, and I was kicking and kicking and kicking, and I looked up and just waved my hands to him to say, “Let’s go, dude, I’m out! Go get ‘em!” And he did. That’s what made this race really special. Like Roger said, my season was done a few weeks ago, and I went 24-0, and that’s still something that I never expected, and whatever happened here wasn’t going to take away from that. But to top it off like we did, winning with the USA, that was awesome, too.

Where does winning this event fit into all of your accomplishments?
I’m definitely proud of it. I feel like we’re the best country and everybody believes that, and that’s why I think sometimes they have to take some shots at us to get us off our game. At the end of the day, though, we all had issues – Ryan had issues the first moto, and Timmy had issues in the second moto – but we were still able to come together as a country and make it. When one person suffered, the other person pulled through. That’s what teams are about. If I’d have won both motos and we would’ve lost as a team, I wouldn’t be happy. Now everyone's partying, and we're going to have a good time.