In a word, ridiculous. That’s the only way I can describe James Stewart’s debut in the 25th edition of the Paris-Bercy Supercross. Riding his L&M Racing/San Manuel Yamaha in his second race, Stewart obliterated the field here at the Palais Omnisport on the outskirts of Paris. The 22-year-old looked like he was in mid-season form, carrying over—maybe even building on—the speed he showed at the Rockstar Energy U.S. Open of Supercross just a month ago. Stewart started every race on the seventh gate here, left the first turn in the lead every time, and then rode away from everyone. Afterward he flashed his Bubbalicious smile, and the French fans ate it up.
Finishing second throughout was the ever-improving Justin Brayton on his MDK/KTM 450. Brayton gave chase to Stewart at every opportunity, but with Stewart always starting ahead of him, Brayton never got a chance to battle with Stewart. Even in the match racing sequence, where 12 riders are whittled down to two in a series of short qualifiers, Brayton could only watch #7 soar away. But #114 was definitely the second fastest man on the night, out-pacing new Joe Gibbs Racing MX Yamaha rider Josh Grant for runner-up honors.
Further back and looking the opposite of Stewart was Kevin Windham, who has not raced since the Las Vegas finale of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series back in May. KW looked rusty, and he struggled to find a rhythm on the extremely tight Bercy track, which is more of what we know as arenacross in America than a true supercross. Windham, runner-up in last year’s AMA Supercross championship to Chad Reed, was beaten by an old AMA rival in David Vuillemin, who was riding his new Bud Racing Kawasaki. DV12 was the fastest of the Frenchmen, but his main event scores were fifth and fourth, as Stewart, Brayton and Grant swept the podium both times.
The racing resumes this evening, and then the finale goes off late Sunday afternoon. For more info, check out www.motoverte.com