- Career: 2002 - Present
- DOB: 12/21/1985
- Height: 5' 8"
- Weight: 160 lbs.
- Birthplace: Bartow, FL, United States
- Residence: Haines City, FL
- Team: San Manuel Yamaha
- Team Manager: Larry Brooks
- Mechanic: Oscar Wirdeman
#7James StewartJames Stewart's Website
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Traditionally, Spring Creek Motocross Park is where amateur riders make their professional debut because it falls right after the biggest amateur national of the year at Loretta Lynn’s. However, James was only 15 at the time, and wouldn't turn 16 until December of that year. But it worked out, as in perfect Bubba style, he’d make his pro debut on the biggest stage in the world. He’d race his first professional race in front of a sold out stadium for the first round of the 125 West Supercross series. He showed his blazing speed by leading early, but a crash in the whoops cost Bubba the win in his first-ever attempt. He again made history by becoming the youngest rider ever to win an AMA professional title when he ended the outdoor season standing on the top step of the podium.
James came out swinging in 2003. He won all but one main event in the 125 West Coast SX series and won the last eight 125cc outdoor races after missing the first four rounds because of a scary get off at the East/West shootout in Las Vegas. He was always a crowd favorite with his huge grins, funkified dance moves and who could forget his hot pink Fox riding gear. James had brought his now famous number 259 to the top, a promise he had made to his childhood friend Tony Haynes when he was just seven years old.
Tony was a childhood friend and mentor of James' who suffered a career-ending crash in 1993. When James found out the devastating news that Tony would never ride again, he asked if he could have Tony’s number. When seven-year-old James made the statement, “I’m taking this number to the top,” no one except James really knew just how far he could take the 259.
James took the 259 to new heights when he won the East Coast SX title in 2004, becoming one of the few riders in history to win all three 125 titles. He charged through the nationals, setting lap times that would put him among the top 250 class riders each week. This, of course, sparked more than enough speculation about what would happen when James made his move to de-throne the GOAT, Ricky Carmichael.
James encountered the stiffest competition of his career when he made the jump to the 250 class for 2005. One of the toughest riders in history, Ricky Carmichael, was standing in his way and had his own plans for success. James was super fast every time he hit the track, but ended up on the ground on more than one occasion. He came away from the ’05 season with some invaluable experience and was ready to level the playing field for 2006 when Kawasaki released their 450cc motocrosser.
The perfect storm was brewing for 2006 between the three title favorites, Stewart, Carmichael and Chad Reed. James won the first two rounds of the World Supercross GP in Canada with his new number-seven machine and engaged in one of the best title chases in supercross history. At the end of the series, he’d won the World SX GP but had come just two points short of winning his first AMA Supercross class title. The outdoors saw him self-destruct on a couple of occasions. Stewart was the fastest rider on the track at times, but he just couldn’t seem to put it all together against Ricky Carmichael.
The 2007 supercross series would be James’ year to shine. With RC stepping into retirement and Chad Reed unable to match his speed on an everyday basis, he was on the brink of claiming the throne that RC had held for nearly a decade. James was ridiculously fast every week, but he also had to deal with some spectacular get offs. Showing more maturity than in any previous season, he found the consistency he needed to finally wrap up his first AMA Supercross class title. With Reed signing a supercross-only contract, it looked like James would be a shoe-in for the outdoor title. A knee injury at Washougal changed all that. James was forced to watch the rest of the series from his couch. He tried to come back for the Monster Energy Supercross Series, but was forced to withdraw once again to get his knee fixed once and for all.
A broken wrist contributed to James losing his crown last year, but his speed is unquestioned. An innovator on and off the bike, Stewart is one of the highest-profile riders in supercross history, with two Supercross titles, two Supercross Lites crowns, three AMA Motocross Championships, two Motocross of Nations titles, and even his own reality show.
James’s influence can be seen at any local race track today, whether it’s the handful of people sporting hot pink riding gear or the kids on 65s dragging their foot pegs up the face of a jump to try to emulate the scrub. He’s helped to progress the sport in so many ways that it’s hard to imagine a world without Bubba.
When James Jr. was born, his father only hoped that his son would want to ride a motorcycle, let alone strive to become one of the best motocross racers in the world. It soon became apparent that James had the potential to exceed everyone’s wildest dreams. At an age when most kids were still trying to figure out what a motorcycle was, James was lining up behind a starting gate with victory, and probably the trophy girl, in his eyes. He was an obvious local standout and won his first Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championship at only six years old. At about this time he also got on board with Team Green Kawasaki, who he remained with for the rest of his record-breaking 11 amateur championships at Loretta Lynn's ranch. James became the most dominating rider in amateur motocross history.
James was introduced to the moto world when he appeared alongside fellow minicycle stars Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana in Fox’s Terrafirma. Looking back, it’s funny that three of the brightest motocross stars-to-be were all sitting on the same couch discussing what type of ice cream they couldn’t live without. Carmichael and Pastrana were both cool cats, but it was little James Stewart who grabbed the spotlight with talk of his multiple girlfriends and his unmistakable grin. He inherited the name Bubba as he came through the amateur ranks, but to the Stewart family he was always known as “Boogie.” James rarely runs the Bubba nickname anymore but, around his family, he’ll always be Boogie.
James is much older and wiser now, but his fun-loving attitude still shines through that same Bubba smile. He loves to ride his motorcycle and has done some outstanding things for the sport. He has been featured in publications like Rolling Stone and has even been considered for a motion picture deal with Tom Cruise. He’s an ambassador for the sport and genuinely grasps the fact that his fellow racers, who line up next to him week in and week out, are among the best in the world. Justin Fisk
Contributors: Cole Thorsen , Various Contributors , Alissa Gilligan , Bad Billy