USA Insider No.64 presented by Lucas Oil – Stewart Injured
5 years ago
Jason Weigandt Welcome to our weekly web-exclusive column, Transmoto USA Insider Presented By Lucas Oil. Penned each week by our man on the ground, Transmoto's US Correspondent, Jason Weigandt, USA Insider presents the story-behind-the-stories of the AMA supercross and motocross scene. Well, that didn't last long. The happy vibes from James Stewart's return to the US outdoor circuits and the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship has been short circuited in the most unexpected way possible. A photographer ran across the track while Bubba was leading the race, and the distraction led him to crash. I mean, hey, we've always known that Stewart draws the attention of the press, but never quite like this! It all created a wild day as we put together live TV for five hours. (Check out my column from the Racer X site on some of the craziness behind the scenes) As for Stewart, once the race was over I headed to the Yoshimura Suzuki pits to check in with the team. From what I'm hearing, the photog was a Brazilian guy who has been shooting races for a good 15 years - he should have known better and he knew he should have known better. Suzuki guys even told me he stopped by the pits to apologise, and he was on the verge of tears. I've been a media guy for over a decade now and I can tell you there is no fear worse than becoming part of the story. You want to report on what happened on the track, not impact it. Anyway, at that point the news on Stewart's wrist sounded grim. Team Manager Mike Webb explained something we know all too well in this sport: wrists are tricky, and it can hurt really badly and only be sprained, or not hurt too bad and end up broken. At that point only a bunch of x-rays and tests when Stewart got back home would confirm anything, but the fact that he couldn't line up for moto two and salvage even a few points didn't seem like a good sign. But yesterday, Stewart tweeted that, so far, the wrist seems okay. Hopefully he comes back to racing this weekend in Pennsylvania, because he's down 36 points on Ryan Dungey already, and we've pretty much seen that no one else can beat the Dunge. Stewart has said all along that he's only racing this summer to learn his bike, have fun and give back to his fans - he has never mentioned winning a championship or getting race wins as his goal. But there's not a soul in the pits that believes that. These dudes don't win races without wanting to win races. Meanwhile, Dungey continues his trademark consistency, and all the while we are seeing other riders on the new Dungey-inspired KTM 450SX have trouble even making it to the finish. KTM's US off-road boys tried racing the new 450 in the National Enduro Series back in January, and ran into all sorts of overheating and clutch problems. That actually sent the likes of GNCC Champion Charlie Mullins back to his old carburetted 450 for a few months until they worked the bugs out of the new bike. Now that AMA Motocross is underway, privateers are struggling on the new orange mount. Grant Langston's team has Les Smith on the bike, and Les has run into an issue in just about every moto this season - he even had to revert back to a bone stock motor over the weekend in Colorado. Dungey's bike, meanwhile, is running something as novel as a giant fan on the back of his radiator. So far, no overheating, electrical or clutch problems for the new series' points leader. We'll see if Stewart can get back in this points - and if Dungey's still-somewhat-unproven new bike helps him.