After more than six months off the track due to injury, James 'Bubba' Stewart made his return to racing at the Unadilla Outdoor National in New York, USA over the weekend.
Round nine of the 2010 AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series was one of the most hyped races of the year, thanks to the return of former MX champion James Stewart to the starting line. There couldn’t have been a more fitting event site to mark Stewart’s return, as the legendary circuit in New Berlin, New York, is one of motocross’s most fabled racetracks.
As the gate dropped for moto one, Stewart found himself right back at the front of the pack, battling the points leaders for the holeshot. Though he was barely edged out of taking the lead around the first corner, in typical Stewart form he would waste no time beginning his attack on the leaders.
With Ryan Dungey up front and Belgian rider Clement Desalle in second, James found himself scrapping it out with Red Bull teammate Andrew Short for third. As the top of the field settled in, Stewart looked like he was not missing a beat, passing both Short and Desalle and reeling in Dungey.
'I just wanted to give it all I had today. I’m just happy to be back out here' – James Stewart
However, due to an unfortunate bobble in the closing laps of moto one, Bubba would again be set back to third to battle with Desalle. A valiant effort was made by Stewart to take back the second spot, but time would run its course and a tired Stewart would have to settle for third, with Shorty slightly behind in fourth.
“I just wanted to give it all I had today. It’s been a while, and the first race back is always tough, just to get settled back in to the groove of competing. I’m just happy to be back out here,” said Stewart on the podium.
When the gate dropped on the second 450cc moto, this time it was Short who would just miss out on the holeshot to Justin Brayton. Within a few turns, however, Andrew made the pass stick to take over the lead position. After five hard laps up front, Short was finally passed by both Desalle and Dungey, relegating him to the fourth position.
Red Bull Honda’s Kevin Windham bounced back from a moto one crash to also do battle with Short on the final laps. The Red Bull team-mates swapped positions all the way up to the chequered flag, with K-Dub eventually making the pass on Short to earn the fourth spot. Still, with Andrew’s strong first moto finish, a 4-5 was good enough for fourth overall on the day. Short also holds a solid second place in the overall points race with three rounds left to go.
Unfortunately for the number seven of Stewart, moto two didn’t go nearly as well as the first, ending with a DNF. Still, his podium position in the first outing proves that James definitely has what it takes to be back on it, battling in the front.