Stewart On The Verge

Paul Carruthers | April 24, 2007

The following is from AMA Racing…

James Stewart is on the verge of winning the biggest title of his career. This Saturday, April 28 at Qwest Field in Seattle, the 22-year-old Kawasaki ace from Haines City, Fla., needs only to finish ninth or better to wrap up the 2007 Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series championship.

Stewart comes to the Seattle Supercross, the 14th race in the 16-race AMA series, having put together one of the finest seasons in the history of the series. He has 11 wins so far and is enjoying an impressive five-race winning streak. Stewart is poised to become the next dominant rider in AMA Supercross, following in the footsteps of the two winningest riders in the sport’s history in Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael.

McGrath, who retired from full-time Supercross competition after the 2002 season is the all-time championship and wins leader, with seven AMA Supercross titles and 72 wins. Carmichael took over the Supercross reign from McGrath and went on to win five titles and earn 48 wins before retiring from Supercross last month. Now Stewart is set to chip away at the records established by McGrath and Carmichael. Already this year Stewart has gone from 14th to sixth on the all-time wins list. Stewart has 22-career AMA Supercross victories.

“I’m going to Seattle to have a good time,” said a relaxed Stewart. “I’m happy that I’m in very good position this season and now we just have a couple more to go. Seattle can be muddy at times so I’m going to have to be careful there if that happens. If I can win, that will be great. If I have to take second I’ll take that too. My focus all year has been on winning the championship and that won’t change.”

L&M Yamaha’s Chad Reed is the only other rider with a mathematical shot at catching Stewart. Reed has been consistent all season finishing on the podium at every round and winning in February in San Diego. Even that fine performance wasn’t enough to keep pace with Stewart’s dominating season.

Stewart’s teammate Tim Ferry is the comeback story of the year. The likable Floridian appears to have wrapped up third-place in the series. Ferry has also mounted a solid comeback from an injury that could have ended his career.

The AMA Supercross Lites West class has already been decided. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto, from Poulsbo, Wash., is the champion and he will in effect be taking a victory race in front of his home state fans in Seattle. Villopoto’s 2007 Supercross season has already been outstanding, but if he wins Saturday he’ll have earned seven victories in eight races.

Villopoto is not the only rider from the Pacific Northwest that fans will be rooting for at Qwest Field. Yamaha’s Joshua Hill, of Yoncalla, Ore., is another up-and-coming rider in the Lites class. Hill comes into Seattle ranked third in the standings and has scored five straight top-five finishes.

The Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series round from Qwest Field will air on CBS on Sunday, April 29, at 12 pm eastern.

Tickets for the Seattle Supercross are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Qwest Field Box Office, select participating Yamaha dealers or charge by phone at 206-628-0888 in Seattle or 253-628-0888 in Tacoma. Gates open at 12:30 pm for Seattle Supercross Pit Party where fans can meet the riders and watch practice and qualifying. A special Family Section is also available for non-alcoholic family fun. When ordering tickets through Ticketmaster, request Family Section for an alcohol-free family atmosphere.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.