This Week in Yamaha History: Stewart Takes Oakland

This Week in Yamaha History: Stewart Takes Oakland

January 25, 2012 3:00pm
Oakland has had a spotty history on the AMA Supercross schedule, appearing first in 1979, then again in 1980 and 1984 before disappearing until just last year. In the meantime, the series found a home in nearby San Francisco. But as that race grew, AT&T park literally ran out of room for fans, as even bad weather couldn’t prevent the event from selling out.

Last year the tour returned to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (known now as Coliseum) for one primary reason: the building can fit more people. The fans showed up and were treated to a great show.

James Stewart kept the drama going throughout the day by logging fast laps at times, but then crashing at others. Heard that before? He crashed hard in the first free practice and again in the first timed practice, leading him to sit out of the third practice. But Stewart returned to win his heat race and log the fastest lap time of the heats, setting him back up as a favorite in the main.

Stewart took the win in Oakland last year.
Photo: The Medium Group

The previous weekend, Stewart led the Los Angeles Supercross but then crashed while being challenged by Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto. This time around, Stewart set up a strategy of riding smarter, not faster. In Oakland, Villopoto looked like the man to beat when he jumped out to an early lead, but Stewart put a hard block pass on Ryan Dungey early and then jumped past Chad Reed to get into second by the end of lap one. This seemed to set up a Villopoto versus Stewart duel for the win, until Villopoto washed out in a slippery corner and threw it away. Stewart cruised past and took the win on his San Manuel-backed Yamaha—his second win of the year.