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RYAN DUNGEY� NO LONGER A FACE IN THE CROWD

TEAM KAWASAKI’S JAMES STEWART

THE STORY OF JAMES STEWART’S RISE TO #1

THE SECRET TO MIKE ALESSI’S HOLESHOTS MX WITHOUT RICKY, HOW WE’VE THRIVED THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM PRIVATEER $4.99 July 2009


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ALONE AT THE TOP James Stewart has finally reached the pinnacle of our sport. While most will agree that it took much longer than expected, James has always known he was a champion, now everyone knows it.


112 NORTHEAST MX More and more riders are coming from states not named Florida or California. We check in on the northeast to find the next big thing and try to avoid the weather.

134 MX AFTER RICKY Ricky Carmichael has been gone from motocross for over a year now. Has American Motocross felt the impact? Has there been an Impact?

158 TOO LOUD

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Let’s face it, Motocross is a loud sport. Now that the issue is addressed, let’s fix it. We interview numerous team owners and mechanics about just how we should go about fixing this large problem.

164 PRIVATEER

Mike Alessi’s ability to get a holeshot from any gate he lines up at has left the rest of the field scratching their heads. Is it his bike, his small stature or something unknown to us that allows him to get to the first turn first.

A term you commonly hear, but what does it mean? The current definition is one that goes right around the answer. Racer X interviews the guys pitting out of their box vans to get their meaning of the word.

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ANY GATE

NO LONGER A FACE IN THE CROWD Ryan Dungey has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the lites class. How did a B class rider from Minnesota become such a force during the last year? We asks the questions and he gives us the answers.

July 2009 / www.racerxonline.com


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James Stewart’s dream to be the top star in both Motocross and Supercross is one that many kids have. Now that the dream has come true, how does James feel sitting at the top? By Dave Simons Photos By Simon Cudby

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f all the milestones James “Bubba” Stewart Jr. has reached, being the first African-American to dominate in motocross seems least notable - to him, anyway. He has a point, particularly when you consider everything the 23-year-old has accomplished. After racking up the record-breaking 11 American Motorcyclist Association Amateur National titles riding for Kawasaki Team Green, James was named 2002 Rookie of the Year in his debut pro season. In 2004, he won both the AMA 125 East Supercross Championship and the AMA 125 Motocross National Championship, and four years later, he became the second rider in history after Ricky Carmichael to complete a perfect motocross season - 24 wins in 24 races - after coming back from knee surgery, no less. He capped off his perfect season with the 2008 AMA Speed Athlete of the Year award. The athlete many call “the Tiger Woods of supercross” has made another indelible impression on the sport by breaking its glass ceiling. Teen People named him one of “20 Teens Who Will Change the World” in 2003. With an already impressive collection of wins and endorsements, what more can James do? James is one the sports biggest names and he certainly has lived up to his image. Racer X Ill got invited out to a special photoshoot with no more information given. All we knew was that we were supposed to be ready for something special, and that’s just what we got.

JANUARY 1ST, 2009 8:02 a.m. We don’t know where we are headed. All we know is that it is a private track in Southern California and that we are shooting a high profile star. That is all the information we are given and supposedly that is all we need to know according to the people who set it up. Apon arrival, we realize thta we are in for a treat as we are greeted by the people at Answer Racing and Yamaha.

It certainly now is very clear that we are photographing one of the very best; James Stewart. It has well publicized that James and Fox had an argument over the the last couple of months that ended in a horrible split between the two. James has been a Fox athlete for over 15 years, ever since he was 4 years old. James has also been on Team Green Kawasaki for his entire racing career except his first year when he was on a Yamaha pw-50. James is back on blue and ready to do battle in the upcoming 2009 season. James is always ready to compete with the very best in the world and has never once backed down from a challenege. James in fact looks forward to proving all of the nay sayers wrong.

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As we enter the track we realize thta this is going to be a special day. Not only are we the first to see James in his new gear and on the new bike, we get to watch James do what he does best and that is ride for the cameras and all of the media personnel. 9:13 a.m. James shows up in his 2007 Lamborghini and steps out like a new man. the same old smile that James has had for years. This time the smile shines more so than ever as James knows it is time for a change and some new scenery. He lays eyes on the pristine Yamaha YZ 450F waiting for him under the Yamaha tent. His new Answer Racing gear sits all laid out on a long table. No risks have been taken by either Yamaha or Answer in this first official day. They know the importance of this media day and have been waiting for it for months. The time has finally come and James is ready to show why both Yamaha and Answer Racing spent the big bucks on him. James does not take the fact that Yamaha went out on a limb and put up alot of money for him. he respects the fact that they wanted him for so much.


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...it’s like everyone is pulling

you in a different direction and sometimes it seems like I can’t just do what I want to do.

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Attention is something that the sponsors like. James Stewart is someone the people like. The match is perfect as he is an advertiser’s dream because he is young, top of his sport, and most of all a likeable person. His attitude and determination set him apart from other riders which really makes him stand out in a positive way. The young market is very relatable to James’ and today Yamaha and Answer finally see why they spent all that money on him. 11:34 a.m.

James gets ready by putting on his brand new Answer gear in the yellow color way. His mechanic warms up the bike as James looks around at the track. After 5 minutes and numerous checks of all the parts, James gets on the bike. The yellow gear clashes so much with the yellow that it looks natural. By looking at him you would never think that he had been on Green for 15 years. The fit seems so normal and comfortable for him.

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They proceed to put the bike on the stand and examine everything. James sits in a plastic lawn chair and looks just thrilled about the change he has made from green to blue. 2:12 p.m. After more and more practice sessions it finally looks like James is getting comfortable on the new machine. For the average rider, James’ slow practice laps are race speed for them. James’ normal speed is something that 99.9% of the world can only dream of. The ability and determination give him that drive and it certainly shows even after a few laps on the bike.

He takes his foot off the stand and pushes off gently out onto the track. A couple practice laps lead to some heated laps as just starts to find his groove. He starts to get on the pipe in certain areas but it’s obvious that he is holding back. After about 20 laps he comes over, takes off his helmet and there is the signature smile. No words needed to be exchanged between his mechanic and

James begins to start attacking the whoop sections and throwing it sideways over the big triples. It beings to look like there was no transition for James between green and blue. He starts to explode through the berms and he is in complete control through every section. Right then and there I was willing to give the 2009 Supercross Trophy to him. We all know what can happen through out a season though. I thought to myself that if James can keep it on two wheels, there is no way he should not win this upcoming championship. His fluid likeness on the bike is something that words can not describe. It is something you have to see to appreciate and that’s why I am encouraging you and anyone you know to get out to a stadium this

him. It’s obvious that he approves the blue. James continues to smile about his new found bike and admires the work that the mechanics put into making it the best machine they can. The look on his face shows his excitement about the change and there isn’t a mark of sadness about leaving Kawasaki in the past. Stewart rarely has anything negative to say about anyone and keeps to himself.

winter and enjoy the show. It has been quite the day already and there is still much more to come. James talks about his new ride some more and we discuss the upcoming season. He seems to be the same James from his rookie season on the KX 125. That same smile is apparent and James keeps everyone relaxed with his humorous yet serious style. It’s the only thing James knows.


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3:47 p.m.

The laps are ticking away and James is fully in the groove by now. He had a bobble in a turn earlier in the morning, but now it seems that he is riding flawlessly. Nothing seems to throw him off of his game at this point. I walk over to the bottom of the big triple to get some nice air shots of James and before I can get there he is already throwing ridiculous whips. I knew that this was going to be one of the easiest photo shoots I’ve ever had as James is very happy with his bike and it is showing in his riding style. As a photographer, you want someone that is enjoying what they are doing. With James, it has never been a problem, but today is something special. The photos in this article were so hard to choose mainly because there were so many incredible shots that I got.

5:06 p.m. As the Sun starts to set behind the trees James starts to do some play riding. He slowly rolls over to a large hill and examines it. He rides over to me and says “I’m gonna hit it... over there near the bottom and just watch.” If there is one thing I’ve learned after all the years of shooting James it is that if he says he is going to do something, you better believe he is going to do it. I was not going to let this opportunity go to waste so I got in position and waited for the magic to happen. James slowly rolled up to the face of the hill and then full throttle hit it the face. He went straight up, laid the bike completely flat, looked at me, then brought it back for a safe landing. It was amazing.

These are the things that James Stewart can do and it’s easy to see why sponsors want him. It is not only his ability to ride a dirt bike, but his energy he does it with.As the sun is almost completely lost behind the trees we head over to the truck. Moments later James rolls over and asks how he looked 20 feet up in the air. He is still a young rider at heart who enjoys the chances he gets. he understands that not everyone in the world gets to race motocross at this level and gets paid to do it as well as he does. This si what seperates James from alot of other riders. He knows that this is his job and he takes it serious.

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He knows that alot of people are counting on him for good results in the up coming season. His duty is to give the sponsors the championship. James will be the first to tell you that giving a championship to his sponsors is awesome, but doing it for himelf and his family is the real prize. With all the pressure on his shoulders James is keeping a peaceful attitude and keeping his head squarely on his shoulders. James continues to talk about the new Yamaha and knows that the end of the day is finally dwindling down. He does a few stoppies on his way over to the truck and finally hands the bike over to the mechanics. He takes off his helmet and there is that same old smile we have all grown to love. Wether you hate him or love you, you have to admire his love for the sport of motocross. James will never take the sport for granted and that is what makes him a special and perfect canidate for the spotlight of the sport. He is always cheerful and ready to spend time with the fans or help out when he can. For someone as busy as James, he sure does make time to interact with the fans and the media. His willingness to help the sport grow he really made him stand out amongst the crowd. His riding ability is amazing, but his people skills are even more special. As the day comes to an end I walk over to James to get a few last words. I begin by asking him how it was. His response; “Dude, did you see my almost throw it away over there?” He wasn’t even thinking about what brand of bike or all the other changes that have happened to him during the off season. James is a rider at heart and he belongs on the race track. When asked what the major difference was between the KX 450F and the YZ 450F, he simply replied “Not much, the front end is a little more stiff, but we can fix that.” The little things are not going to stop James Stewart from winning this upcoming championship. Now the only question everyone has is, can James keep it on two wheels long enough to win the championship? And of course, how big will his smile be at the end of the season?


It’s gonna be good because

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Get ready for this year.

I don’t have anything to lose...

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JACQUES LEMANS


Racer X Illustrated