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Monday Conversation I: James Stewart

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San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart seems to be unstoppable right now. Since crashing out of the opening round, he has reeled off five-straight wins and pulled to within three points of series leader Chad Reed, who is doggedly determined to not let James keep doing what he’s doing. We chatted with James after the race...

  • James Stewart has now won five races in a row and sits only three points away from Chad Reed in the championship chase.
Racer X: Take us through the track conditions throughout the day. It looked like dry jumps with mud in between. How was it to deal with?
James Stewart: The conditions were as good as they possibly could’ve been. My hat goes off to Dirt Wurx and Feld Entertainment and all of those guys. They honestly did a really good job with the track. The track was awesome. I liked both whoop sections – I was good through those – and it was a tough day. It was definitely a different sort of schedule, but hey, I’ll take it any day like that.

Late in the race, after the rain began to fall again, and the hardpack started to shine up, talk about how the track felt at that point.
I couldn’t believe how icy the track got. It was good, and I had some good laps going, and then I got caught up with lappers, and then Chad would catch up, and then I’d throw down a good lap and get away, and then 15 laps into it, I’m like, “Oh, geez!” because I caught up to some of the guys again, and I almost threw it away in the whoops one time – I completely slid out. I still was able to save it, and it was all good.

Were you keeping up with what was going on behind you? Because it seemed like late in the race, it could’ve cost you a lot to ride all-out on that track...
Yeah, I saw Chad behind me. We stayed the same, then I pulled away, and then I got caught up with lappers, and he threw a 59 in, and I came back and threw a 59 in, and it was good racing. I think, for me, it was kind of tough because the lappers were battling each other, and I knew once they saw me coming, that he was following close behind, but hey, you know what? It was a great race. I put myself in the best position, and I was able to get a win.

Your voice sounds a little hoarse. Are you a little sick this weekend?
No, no... Just maybe sick of all of this rain! (Laughs) That’s about it. I’m probably just getting old and my voice is getting deep. (Laughs)

What do you think of this track design had it been dry and stayed dry?
To be honest, there’s probably a couple things we would’ve jumped if it was dry [that we weren’t jumping]. I mean, I thought the track was awesome. I knew the whoop sections were awesome, and I knew I rode through there good every time. I just think it doesn’t matter – long whoops, short whoops – I feel good and comfortable in both, and I was able to pull another win out. So the track was a great design, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Pardon my ignorance, but have you won five supercrosses in a row in the 450cc class before?
Yeah, yeah, I’ve won seven in a row, actually, in ’07. I finished the season out. It’s all about... Actually, I won five in a row in ’06, too. Anyways... I mean, I think. I’m sure somebody’s going to come back and say, “Oh, no he didn’t!” But, you know what, I’ve been riding pretty good the last three weeks, and I can’t ask for anything better. Hopefully, we can just continue at San Diego, and maybe get a little bit better weather. If not, though, it’ll be all good.

{LINKS}Can you talk us through the points right now? You’re picking up three points a week...
I’d rather pick up three points a week than give up 10 in a week – or 18 – so all I can ask for is to keep it close when we leave the west coast, and so far, I am close. I’m going to San Diego, which is a place I like, and Chad likes that place – he’ll be tough – and it’s just all about getting in a good week of riding and being safe.
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