The Moment: Freestone

The Moment: Freestone

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With James Stewart holding Ryan Dungey at bay—despite heavy pressure—for the last 90 minutes plus six laps of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, it’s tempting to think James is taking advantage of good starts to create good fortune. But, he actually has not. Stewart has started behind Dungey in each of those three motos, but has made passes so early that it nearly becomes forgotten by the end of the race.

At Hangtown, Dungey challenged early leader Mike Alessi, and while those two were battling, Stewart snuck around Dungey to take second, and then quickly overhauled Alessi as well to get a lead he would never relinquish. In the first moto at Freestone, Stewart started about fifth, but on lap one, he dove in front of Dungey on the outside line of a left-hand turn to make a pass. From there he cleared Nico Izzi to get the lead, and he never lost it.

Second moto, Alessi and Dungey got good starts again, but they came together momentarily after turn one. While they slowed each other, Stewart dove inside and passed them both in the second corner. Dungey would get Alessi for second and close back in on Stewart, but he couldn’t make the pass.

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Stewart got around Dungey early in moto one and was able to hold on from there.
Simon Cudby photo

Put it this way—Stewart has led all but two laps this year, but has yet to pull any holeshots! (It was close in the first moto of the year at Hangtown, but the award went to Andrew Short). JS7 is doing his damage on the first lap. As much as folks are talking about his finishes, it’s his moves during the earliest moment of the race that are helping shape his strong early season.

“First moto, they over watered the track a little bit and I knew it would be critical to get out front,” said Stewart. “I didn’t want to go through all of my tears offs. Second moto, Mike [Alessi] and Ryan [Dungey] kind of came together there, and I was to sneak inside of them. That’s the way you do it—helps you stay clean!”

And, so far, undefeated.

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