450 Words: San FranciscoWednesday, February 3, 2010 | 7:30 PM
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In this article…
- Josh Hill
- Ryan Villopoto
- Ryan Dungey
- Josh Grant
- Mike Alessi
- Chad Reed
- Kyle Partridge
- James Stewart
- Davi Millsaps
What no one knew at the time of that crash was that Stewart was already hurt. The defending AMA Supercross Champion had landed on privateer Kyle Partridge earlier that evening, one of those wrong-place, wrong-time deals where it appeared that Partridge got the short end of the stick and did not qualify through the LCQ.
But the damage would turn out to be much greater for Stewart. The San Manuel Yamaha rider injured his chest, shoulder and wrist—the last of which would prove the most costly in hindsight. Even after qualifying for the LCQ and crashing with Reed, Stewart gutted out a fifteenth, and then went quiet. And by that, I mean he decided not to tell anyone about his wrist injury.
What followed was a week of guessing on the industry’s part, as well as a short video that the team produced where James answered some questions about his injuries. Then he showed up at Anaheim 2 and, after being called out by shock-jock satellite radio host Jason Ellis over the PA before his heat race for not coming out for opening ceremonies, he gutted out another good finish—third this time, helping him to keep the red-hot Ryan Dungey in his sights.
Did you know that Tom Brady of the New England Patriots has spent years deemed “Questionable” on the team’s mandatory injury report? Coach Bill Bellichick preferred to keep the other team guessing rather than let them know of any weaknesses that Brady may have.
Does anyone remember what happened to Mike Alessi at the Thunder Valley National last summer? Everyone knew he had a busted left knee, including his longtime rival Josh Grant. After the two collided on the first lap, it led to lots of finger-pointing, as not to mention more knee surgery for #800…
So we now know that Stewart’s wrist injury was more serious than we thought—he wasn’t out there in SF and it's hard to tell when he will be back—but I personally find it hard to fault him or his team for not wanting to explain his status to any and everyone before he attempted to race. I know some of my colleagues in the media may not agree, but I understand their wanting to keep the situation to themselves.
My point is this: When you are wearing a big red plate with a fat white #1 in the middle of it, you are aware of how easily that may be mistaken for a bulls-eye. Don’t blame James Stewart and Larry Brooks from trying to camouflage it a little, even as they tried desperately to hold on to it.
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Check out THE MOTOCROSS OF 40 NATIONSin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
The 2013 FIM Motocross of Nations at Teutschenthal, Germany, hosted teams from a record forty countries. Here’s how it played out for each of them. Page 90.