August 17, 2010

James Stewart: Face meet Palm

Honestly, I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to see James Stewart Jr. race a motocross motorcycle. Numerous opportunities, in fact, and each time it was well worth the cost of admission... from the high and lows of his debut supercross race way back when (at Anaheim, California on a 125cc two-stroke), to the laid back fun at his free public ride day in Southern California. And I honestly feel sorry for those MX fans that have not seen the man ride yet. There are a lot of them out there, and I can understand why they would be upset if they had paid money to see him do his thing... and he just decided not to do it.

And according to Stewart himself, that's exactly what he did at Unadilla. Today, he broke his media silence by dropping, if not a bombshell then at least a small concussion grenade of insight in his "An Open Letter From James Regarding Unadilla and MXoN" (posted by Garth Milan at He "straight up" said:

"...I just decided to pull off, lick my wounds, and learn from the weekend."

Learning is a good thing, but sometimes the lessons are hard. I have a good friend that drove 5 hours to Unadilla to see James race the year that Stewart got injured in practice. He never got to see the man ride (no, television doesn't count), so he actually balked at the opportunity to make the trip this year to upstate New York. In fact, he did not go, because he was afraid he would be disappointed again by his motocross hero. What did my friend learn this weekend?

Last year, I truly felt sorry for the motocross fans in Italy and Australia, who had waited all year for their first ever opportunity to see James race in person, and whose hopes were dashed when James fell ill after the Bercy Supercross and canceled his remaining international race schedule. It wasn't James' fault by any stretch, but the result was unhappy fans nonetheless.

But this time in New York, James admits plainly that he believed he had "nothing to gain" by completing the moto.

Rather than submitting to an interview with his friends and enemies in the moto press, he once again chose to directly address his followers and foes. In my opinion, he took his time to prepare and present his thoughts, and I respect that. But after reading this open letter, it pains me to think that he misses the significance of some of his own words.

I haven't even commented on what he wrote about not being selected for the 2010 Motocross of Nations team. Read it for yourself.

Meanwhile, I will go back to looking forward to seeing Stewart ride at the season finale National at Pala in SoCal. But I might start a new habit of not looking forward to hearing or reading what he has to say.

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