James Stewart has found himself holding aces and
eights for the last several years. Not a good hand to
be holding if you use “Wild Bill” Hickok as an example.
Stewart began drawing losing hands when he stiffed the
Joe Gibbs team in the middle of the 2012 Supercross season. Stewart walked away from JGR, but he also walked
away from the trust of the remaining motorcycle manufacturers. He became a rider you didn’t want to gamble
on. His move to Team Suzuki wasn’t a matter of James
“always wanting to ride a Suzuki,” but more like “any
harbor in a storm.” There were lots of bright moments on
the RM-Z450, especially winning the first two races he
rode on the yellow machine in 2012; however, as would
happen in 2012 through 2016, something always went
wrong. He would win one and crash out of two. Sadly,
James’ last win was in 2014.
In 2016 he rode four Supercross races and three 450
Nationals. He was injured for most of the season, but
upset Suzuki when he kept skipping 450 Nationals to
stay at home with his pregnant wife. No one can fault
a dad for wanting to be there at the birth of his first
child, but the baby didn’t come for many weeks. After
James missed three races for the same reason, Suzuki
was incensed. James probably wasn’t concerned about
missing races, because he had a year to go on his Suzuki
contract. In his opinion, he was all they had.
Surprise! Suzuki had a nuclear option. Reportedly, a
clause in James’ Suzuki contract stated that he had to
finish in the top five in a series for a 2017 renewal. James’
32nd- and 31st-place finishes gave Suzuki the out they
were looking for. They fired him.
James must have thought that his phone would start
ringing for 2017, but it didn’t. Yamaha had been burned
by Bubba and banked everything on Chad and Cooper.
Kawasaki had Eli Tomac. Honda had spent big money for
Ken Roczen. KTM’s Roger DeCoster wanted nothing to do
with Stewart family drama, and Husky followed Roger’s
lead. While Stewart stayed secluded from the public and
the press, the motocross industry moved on without him.
James Stewart is a great rider but a bad reader of