Professional rider on closed course competition.
Yoshimura Suzuki Racing
2013 YOSHIMURA SUZUKI FACTORY RACING
There are some racers who say they’d prefer to be lucky rather than good. Well, going into the 2013 Supercross and Motocross seasons, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing is hoping to be both. With newest team member James Stewart leading the charge on the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450, chances are that the combination of man and machine will be more than talented enough to create plenty of their own good luck in ’13.
Stewart joined the Yoshimura Suzuki squad mid-season in 2012 and focused on becoming accustomed to the RM-Z450. Heading into the upcoming AMA Supercross season, Stewart has already accumulated several AMA Motocross victories and countless hours of testing. In other words, he’s due.
Likewise, the RM-Z450 remains one of the most dominant motocrossers in the four-stroke arena and, with a prolific race winner like Stewart at the helm, is a formidable competitor. Embarking on his debut season with Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing, Stewart is eager to race the 2013 model in the premiere 450 class in both this year’s Supercross and Motocross series. For 2013, Stewart will be the sole rider for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing, acting not only as a quality representative for Yoshimura and Suzuki, but also as a respected ambassador for the sport.
Stewart and crew will be led by returning Team Manager Mike Webb, who already led Suzuki to 22 major Off-Road Championships as that team’s longtime manager. Additionally, the team continues to evolve and benefit from its ever-increasing partnership with Yoshimura, the performance giant behind Suzuki’s amazing championship domination in AMA Superbike racing. Yoshimura knows racing.
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s James Stewart
In an unprecedented mid-season move last year, multi-time AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion James Stewart joined the ranks of Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing. Excited to aggressively campaign the 2012 AMA Motocross National Series for the first time in several years, Stewart rose to the challenge and raced his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 to victory. The championship-winning rider captured the first four consecutive moto wins, taking the first two events’ overall victories handily. Unfortunately, an on-track mishap at round three resulted in injury. Although he rallied long enough to come back and pick up one more third-place overall result mid-season, Stewart wisely chose to sit out the remainder of the year in order to recover fully for the 2013 AMA Supercross season.
There are a lot of milestones that James Stewart has reached in his life. After racking up a record-breaking 11 AMA Amateur National titles, Stewart was named 2002 Rookie of the Year in his debut pro season. In 2004, he won both the AMA 125 East Supercross Championship and the AMA 125 Motocross National Championship, and four years later, in 2008, he became the second rider in history after Ricky Carmichael to complete a perfect motocross season – 24 wins in 24 races – after coming back from knee surgery, no less. He capped off his perfect season with the 2008 AMA Speed Athlete of the Year award.
Motorcycles have been a part of Stewart’s life since birth. His father loved the sport so much that two days after his son was born, he took him on a ride. As a result, Stewart himself started riding dirt bikes at a mere 3 years old, entered his first race the next year, and won the first of his 11 amateur titles when he was just 6. As the prodigy continued to amass wins, Stewart went on to break all of the 125-class records, took home four national titles – including one in 2002, when he became the youngest rider to ever win the AMA Lites National Motocross Championship – and three Supercross races.
Winning races has always come easily to Stewart, but not without cost. An aggressive rider, Stewart has admittedly struggled with injury. A 2003 crash at the 125 East/West Shootout in Las Vegas left him with a broken collarbone that forced him to sit out the first few rounds of the AMA Motocross series. After an almost unbeatable 2004 season, in which he took every round of the AMA 125 East Region Supercross series and all but one of the AMA 125 Motocross Championship, Stewart graduated to the premier class in 2005, but was sidelined with a broken wrist. He would go on to take the 2007 Supercross series title, but had to skip the final 15 races in 2008 to repair a nagging knee injury.
A true competitor, Stewart has an uncanny knack for coming back from injury stronger and more formidable than before. He returned from his broken collarbone in 2003 to win every race he entered. He rebounded from a disappointing start to his premier Supercross career with a win in just his third race. And he followed up knee surgery with a perfect motocross season in 2008.
But it was the 2009 AMA Supercross season that turned out to be the one to watch. After sitting out the season prior, Stewart ate it up and took home the crown. After a big crash in the season’s first race put him at an immediate points deficit, he faced an uphill battle to win the championship. But he persevered and captured a series-leading 11 wins in 17 races (including 11 in a row), and clinched the title in the season finale in Las Vegas.
Now, Stewart faces yet another challenge. Having joined the Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Team mid-season last year, now he is preparing to race the 2013 AMA Supercross season on the new Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 and with the support of a new team. Stewart has spent the last several months putting the new Suzuki through its paces and he’s excited about the upcoming season. But more than anything, he’s looking forward to racing again for the sheer joy of the sport.
Rider: James StewartNumber: 7Class: AMA Supercross and MotorcrossMotorcycle:
Yoshimura Suzuki Fuel-Injected RM-Z450