Surely it's been a year James Stewart would like to forget. Things went his way at Anaheim I, but from that point on it was all downhill. The following round at Phoenix he suffered a bad crash in his heat race which left him with broken ribs and a broken wrist, hardly able to walk. He still managed to line up for the main event only to tangle with Chad Reed and hit the dirt again. Tempers ran high in the pits and Stewart had an outburst at the Kawasaki rig, and in the end, both parties were left with injuries and penalties.
It was an ugly end to Stewart's Supercross season, and now his motocross season is shaping up to be even worse. His ill-fated race attempt at Unadilla not only didn't go as planned, but the figurative carrot being dangled in front of him was yanked away before the gate even dropped. The carrot, according to Stewart, was the promise of being considered for the Motocross of Nations team.
Feeling slighted by the incident, Stewart issued a statement on his website, JS7.com explaining his point of view, which evidently didn't earn him very much fan fare. The letter was taken down from Stewart's website, but not before it was splashed all over the internet along with hot and cold remarks from fans.
The San Manuel Yamaha team has now issued a press release stating that James will not be racing any of the remaining rounds of the AMA Motocross Championship, officially ending his 2010 season - one he and the entire team are most likely ready to leave behind them.
Following is the press release issued by San Manuel L&M Yamaha...
After more than a week of training and testing since the Motocross Outdoor National race at Unadilla, a difficult decision was reached today by James Stewart and Team to withdraw from the remainder of the Outdoor National race series. Due to his abbreviated Supercross season, Stewart, with the full support of his team, had hoped to return to the track much earlier in the outdoor national series. But a slow healing injury kept Stewart out of the series until recently, when he received medical clearance just a few short weeks before Unadilla.
With only four races remaining in the outdoor series, both Stewart and his team worked hard to train and test. And despite a very sincere attempt to return to racing, the rush to do so was visible. Though Stewart had a good run in Moto 1 at Unadilla, lack of physical preparation and challenges with the bike set up forced him off the track in Moto 2. Though they’ve had some time to make adjustments, James and the team have decided they just aren’t ready to compete in the series.
"I hope my fans will understand," Stewart said. "I have said before that I wanted to be on the track starting in Sacramento. But the slow healing nature of my wrist injury made it impossible to do that. Watching race after race and not being a part of the series was very hard. All along my motivation was to get back to racing and return to the motocross national series for my fans and sponsors. The reality is, though my wrist is feeling great, I’m not ready to race at this level. As much as I’d like to be out there, I need more time to prepare so that I don’t put my entire career at risk by getting injured again. A younger James might not have been mature enough to make this decision, but I’ve learned a lot in recent years and sometimes you have to do what’s right, despite what’s in your heart.
"I’d like to apologize to my fans, the outdoor national series and my sponsors. You've been incredibly supportive of me throughout these recent months. I am sorry if what I’ve said or done has disappointed anyone in any way, but I'll be back on the track at Anaheim 1 and ready to race. I plan to work hard over the next few months and do what I know I need to do to prepare for a chance at the next Supercross Championship title."
From team manager Larry Brooks: "We had every intention of racing Southwick and beyond, but sometimes you have to see the bigger picture and make a decision based on what’s right, not on what you’d like to do at the time. We’re a team and we have to do what we feel is best to ensure we have every opportunity to win the next Championship."