Injured for seven months, James Stewart will stay out of action after a brief return at Unadilla, the Yamaha star sitting out the rest of the 2010 AMA Motocross season.
Stewart made a much-heralded return to Motocross last round at Unadilla. The former champ logged a third-place result in the first moto, tussling over second with FIM MX wild card Clemente Desalle. Stewart was unable to finish the second moto, however, pulling off the track after four laps. An official statement from Team San Manuel Yamaha announcing his permanent exit from the 2010 season explained the Unadilla Moto 2 DNF as “lack of physical preparation and challenges with the bike set up forced him off the track in Moto 2.”
In the statement, Stewart goes on to issue a formal apology to fans and sponsors: “I hope my fans will understand. I have said before that I wanted to be on the track starting in Sacramento. But the slow healing nature of my wrist injury made it impossible to do that. Watching race after race and not being a part of the series was very hard. All along my motivation was to get back to racing and return to the Motocross National Series for my fans and sponsors. The reality is, though my wrist is feeling great, I’m not ready to race at this level. As much as I’d like to be out there, I need more time to prepare so that I don’t put my entire career at risk by getting injured again. A younger James might not have been mature enough to make this decision, but I’ve learned a lot in recent years and sometimes you have to do what’s right, despite what’s in your heart. I’d like to apologize to my fans, the Outdoor National series and my sponsors. You’ve been incredibly supportive of me throughout these recent months. I am sorry if what I’ve said or done has disappointed anyone in any way, but I’ll be back on the track at Anaheim 1 and ready to race. I plan to work hard over the next few months and do what I know I need to do to prepare for a chance at the next Supercross Championship title”
Team San Manuel Yamaha Team Manager Larry Brooks goes on to say: “We had every intention of racing Southwick and beyond, but sometimes you have to see the bigger picture and make a decision based on what’s right, not on what you’d like to do at the time. We’re a Team and we have to do what we feel is best to ensure we have every opportunity to win the next Championship.”
Passed over for the Motocross of Nations squad, Stewart is now gone for the remaining Motocross Nationals.
Stewart made headlines after Unadilla when he criticized his being passed over for the 2010 Motocross of Nations squad. In earlier statement from Team San Manuel Yamaha regarding the MXoN snub (Stewart Feels ‘Lied to’ Over MXoN Decision), Stewart went so far as to say “I feel like I was straight-up lied to.” The statement also made clear that a factor in Stewart’s return for the final four motos of the 2010 season was his chances of making the MXoN team.
“But the other main reason I chose to come back for the last four, beginning with Unadilla, was because of a discussion I had with the decision makers for Team USA in Colorado this year regarding the Red Bull Motocross of Nations. At the time, I was told that if I was to make my recovery, begin testing, and get back to racing by Unadilla, that I would be given a spot (or at least a shot at a spot) for the final team. Being on the MXoN team in the past has been one of the greatest experiences of my entire career, so after they told me I had a shot, my team and I were excited, and began to get ready to race outdoors!”
With Stewart’s withdrawal from the remaining MX rounds and his absence from the MXoN, J Stew fans will have to wait until the January 8th opener at Anaheim 1 to see Number 7 back in action.
So readers – what do you read between the lines in these off-track politics? Let us know in the comments section below!