Kawasaki’s James Stewart was one half of the happy ending to one of
the greatest supercross seasons ever. He shared the limelight with
Ricky Carmichael by taking he Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP title,
so both of them got #1 jerseys and big trophies.
The Las Vegas finals in 2006 were a story no one
would have dreamed of a year ago: There was a three-way battle for the
AMA title, the racing was live on Speed TV, Amp’d Mobile phones, XM
Radio, and the internet. Carmichael’s legendary career is reaching its
end just as Stewart’s is starting to peak, and it all came down to 20
laps. When it was over, Stewart was the winner in Vegas, taking the
World SXGP title and edging out Reed for second in AMA points. Stewart
and Carmichael stopped after the finish in the main and hugged each
other, then turned to the crowd and bowed together. The coolness just
seemed to never stop. We caught up with Stewart at the AMA banquet on
Sunday night for this season-ending Alpinestars Monday Conversation.
the world watching on live TV, Stewart crosses the finish line to take
his first title in the 450 class, the World Supercross GP Championship |
Racer X: James, what an exciting season!
James Stewart: Yeah, for me, the season has been awesome. I achieved
what I wanted, to come in healthy and stay strong the whole season, and
I came out with a title. I always wanted to get at least one of these.
Racing with Ricky and everybody has been an honor. I’m just happy.
The way the last main event played out, you had the lead right away, so
did you pause to watch behind you and keep an eye on Ricky and Chad?
|Stewart soaked his mechanic, J-Bone, after the podium ceremony. Team manager Mike Fisher managed to stay out of it. |
No, it was out of my control. My only hope was one of those guys going
down. I'm not one of those types of guys that would just got out there
and clean somebody out and try to win the title. I wanted to fight
fair. I got the holeshot and did my own deal and came out with a
You mentioned Friday in the press conference that this World
Supercross GP meant the most so far because the top three of you all
raced it. Do you think it's going to become more significant in the
I have to consider it so. The top five in the AMA series are the top
five in the world. I feel like they're both equal. It was just two
extra races - they should just combine them all together. I'm happy. If
anyone is going to try and take that away from me ... I busted my ass
all year. I raced against everybody, so there's no reason I shouldn’t
be happy for it.
Do you think this year for you parallels Ricky’s 2001 a little bit?
That was the year he learned to hang it out in the 250 class and stay
on the bike most of the time.
Yeah [laughs]. I think so, for sure. For me to be able to do it
a little quicker, I think it took him three years to be able to do
that, and to race him in two years and beat him at some races is
awesome. I felt like I had the speed all year and just made a few
mistakes that cost me a little bit, but like I said, I'm happy with
everything I've done this year.
Are you disappointed that Ricky is going to do partial seasons after
this year and you and he won’t get to throw down for 16 races? Or 17?
|Stewart takes a bow with the GOAT |
No, I'm glad he’s gone, actually [laughs]! No. No, to me, I told
Ricky as soon as I got off the bike and we hugged each other, I just
wanted to tell him that, “You are the most fun person I have ever raced
with in my life.” I have great respect for him, and it was an honor to
race him. He said the same thing about me. He might stick around and
race - you never know. If he does good in the first few races, we may
have another series battle. It should be fun.
This thing when the two of you took a bow together, did you have that planned or what?
We didn’t have it planned. I don’t know if he could have guaranteed he
was going to win the championship, or me. Vegas hasn’t been my best
place. We did it, and it just felt like it was the right time to do it.
We gave the fans a bow. That might be the last time you see us out
there riding as hard as we can.
Are you going to make the outdoors as close as supercross was?
That’s my plan. You know, last year, things weren't going my way. I
feel like I'm healthy right now, and it should be good. We'll find out
at Sacramento. It’s definitely not going to be a runaway. I want this
season to go down just like supercross did, to the last race, and may
the best man win.
Enjoy the banquet and that world championship.
Thanks, I will!