Stewart Nominated for Athlete of Year

November 3, 2008
James Stewart - Steel City
James Stewart was only the second rider to run the table in an AMA Motocross season and helped the US to a win in the Motocross de Nations.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is proud to announce that James Stewart, the newly crowned champion of the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, is one of five nominees for the 2008 AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year award. The winner will be announced at the 2008 AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet on Sunday evening, Nov. 23, at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Ala.

Dating back to 1976, the AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year award is the highest honor bestowed on a professional motorcycle racer competing in AMA events. Past recipients of the award include such legendary names as Bob Hannah, Scott Parker, Kenny Roberts and Ricky Carmichael.

Nominees who have been announced for this year’s award include Stewart, AMA Flat Track Champion Kenny Coolbeth and AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies.

Stewart, from Haines City, Fla., earned his nomination by winning all 24 motos in the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF to claim the No. 1 plate. He’s only the second rider in the history of the sport to accomplish this clean sweep. The first was Carmichael.

“I am truly honored to be nominated and proud to be in the company of the other nominees, and humbled by those who have received this award previously,” Stewart said after learning of his nomination.

In addition to winning the 2008 AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, Stewart was part of Monster Energy’s AMA Team USA three-rider crew that claimed the coveted Chamberlain Trophy at the 2008 Red Bull FIM Motocross of Nations held Sept. 27-28, in Donington Park, Great Britain.

Stewart adds the AMA Motocross title to a trophy case that includes the 2007 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship.

The 2009 season will mark a new chapter for Stewart, whose relationship with Kawasaki dates to his early amateur days. Next season, Stewart will be racing a Yamaha YZ450F.

“I will be riding for Team San Manuel Yamaha, and am extremely enthusiastic about this new set-up,” Stewart said. “I think change is good. It will be a different look, but I know, with what I see in the team so far, they have the same drive that I have and they want to win just as bad as I do, so working together with them is great. I can’t wait for the season to start. I’m sure we’ll raise some eyebrows.”

To see first-hand whether Stewart wins the AMA SPEED Athlete of the Year award, attend the AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet, where AMA Pro Racing will honor its professional champions, joined by their families, friends, fans and industry leaders. Held at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum, the banquet will take place among a stunning collection of more than 1,200 historic and popular motorcycles.

Tickets to the AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet are $125. Tickets to the AMA Sports Awards Banquet, which honors the champions of AMA Sports events on Saturday evening, Nov. 22, are $85. Tickets can be purchased online at A downloadable registration form is also available. Printed orders can be faxed to: (614) 986-1962, Attn: Cyndi Freeze-Cain; or mailed to: AMA Racing, Attn: Cyndi Freeze-Cain, 13515 Yarmouth Drive, Pickerington, OH 43147.