After missing most of the AMA 250 Supercross series due to an injury suffered in Phoenix, Kawasaki’s James Stewart came back to win a 250cc supercross main event in his rookie year — quite an accomplishment. He backed that up with two more main event wins before getting hurt again at the final round in Las Vegas. In the end, Stewart missed 10 supercross races due to injury this year.
The 250 class them moved outdoors for the motocross championship series. Here, Stewart would face the greatest AMA outdoor motocross rider ever, Ricky Carmichael (Suzuki). Stewart again showed great speed, but bouts with “dizziness” and injuries have Stewart headed for another rookie series with plenty of motos unfinished or unstarted. In the first seven rounds of the series outdoors, Stewart has failed to score points in a total of eight motos (out of 14 motos held so far this year). Stewart’s most recent injury relates to a concussion suffered at the Unadilla round a couple of weeks ago — a concussion that kept him out of the Colorado race last weekend, and will cause him to miss the Washougal race this coming weekend.
Obviously, 2005 has not turned out the way Stewart or Kawasaki had planned. The first year in the 250 class can be tough for any rider, even Carmichael (Carmichael certainly struggled in Supercross, although he won the Outdoor Motocross championship in his rookie year). Stewart has done more than struggle, and it has undoubtedly been a hard lesson for a young rider who has done nothing but win (and dominate) for many years. Let’s hope that Stewart will take the lessons learned in 2005 and come back to show his true potential in 2006 by riding consistently and without injury.