The Moment: St. Louis

The Moment St. Louis

April 11, 2011 1:20pm

The momentum was not at all on James Stewart’s side heading into St. Louis. Pretty much anything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for him over the previous two months, and there were plenty of other riders who looked to be on a roll. Trey Canard had won two out of three and logged the fastest lap in St. Louis practice. Ryan Dungey was closing on the points lead. Chad Reed seemed to have taken his riding to another level.

Stewart got around Dungey early to take over second.
Photo: Simon Cudby

In St. Louis, Stewart got a good start and was fast. But he had gotten good starts and had been fast in plenty of other races this year. Over the last two months, it had not worked out.

But this time, Canard was knocked from the contender list as soon as he got a bad start. Stewart was third, and made a pass on Dungey on the first lap. Dungey couldn’t get him back, Stewart avoided the sort of contact and drama that had been plaguing him, and soon rolled past Ivan Tedesco to get the lead.

Stewart then made quick work of Tedesco on his way to victory.
Photo: Simon Cudby

Then he approached a rhythm lane with six jumps. All day, riders had tried different combinations, even going inside and single, double, tripling. But Stewart sized it up and thought about triple, tripling. He went for it, and, finally, he made it without drama. At that moment, the old James Stewart mojo had made a return.

That leap gave Stewart enough breathing room over Dungey to ride without much pressure the rest of the way. Dungey nailed the jump later, but it was too late. Stewart had finally taken a big risk and saw it pay off. Don’t look now, but he’s just 16 points back with three races to go.