Racer X Outstanding Performance: James StewartSunday, January 29, 2012 | 1:05 PM
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But this week the award does go to a race winner—because he faced the worst kind of adversity en route to the victory. This isn’t just about James Stewart’s 6-8-3 results through the early rounds of Monster Energy Supercross—even though since 2006, Stewart had not gone even three rounds into the season without grabbing a win.
Yes, Stewart had not produced the expected results yet, but coming into Oakland, there was something much bigger weighing on his mind. On Thursday, Stewart’s Florida mechanic Mark “Tex” Adams was hit by a car while attending to a motorist on the side of the road. Adams was killed, and the news sent shockwaves through both the Stewart and JGR/Toyota Yamaha camps. Adams was not only Stewart’s practice mechanic this year, but began working with the JGR team at its inception in 2008.
"It means a lot [the win after losing Adams]," said Stewart after the race. "It’s cool to see the motocross community come around me and really support, not only me, but him. I’m sad, but what about his family? We should be thinking about the people, the friends that he knows, just everybody around him. It was definitely special to win the race, and it was definitely tough to hear on Thursday that, out of the blue, he was gone. Definitely, this win was for him. It was really cool to see the team come together, and we’ll continue to do it for the rest of the year."
On Saturday night, the team and rider focused past the tragedy and put together an outstanding performance. Stewart fended off early pressure from Ryan Villopoto and then mounted a successful attack on Chad Reed to get the lead. From there, he locked down a win, erasing any of the “what’s wrong with James Stewart?” talk from the first three rounds.
The win won’t erase the pain of losing a close friend, but it’s clear James and his team are focused and ready to fight through whatever comes their way.
Stewart dedicated his win to Adams.
Andrew Fredrickson photo
Honorable Mention: Credit to a pair of Lites riders who landed on the podium. Marvin Musquin crashed out of last weekend’s main event but bounced back for a solid second in Oakland. And Zach Osborne completed his four-race return to U.S. supercross with back-to-back podium finishes. And GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac blitzed to his second-straight win. Outstanding performances all round in Oakland.
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.