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Stewart and Reed Best Rivalry in Racing

Thursday, January 21, 2010
James Stewart and Chad Reed clearly dont see eye to eye on what happened during the race. - 2009 AMA Supercross - Jacksonville
Stewart and Reed don't much care for each other, one reason why their rivalry is the best going in motorsport - at least in our editorial opinion.
In the world of sport, rivalry brings out the best and worst in competitors. Which is, of course, why fans love them - the bitterer the better. Right now, there’s no better rivalry in motorsport than James Stewart and Chad Reed.

Examining great rivalries, the best require two important components:
1. A genuine personal dislike between the competitors (or at least the appearance of one).
2. Competition at the highest caliber.

Stewart and Reed have plenty of both. In the first regard, Stewart and Reed’s on-track relationship has blossomed in recent years from cool indifference to icy confrontation. Last round at Phoenix, it progressed to physical blows when Reed smacked Stewart (or was it a forceful swipe), after the two went down hard in a corner. Post race Stewart went over to Reed’s pit and pushed over his Kawasaki racebike. The latest incident continues the feud that started getting really nasty at the end of last year’s SX season. Bottom line - the two don’t get along. (Get the inside story in the Motorcycle USA Phoenix Supercross Insider.)

And the personality clashes in a rivalry are what make it compelling. A rival gets under your skin, makes you want it that much more. It’s doubtful James Stewart savors passing perpetual nice guy Andrew Short like he does sticking it to Reed in the corner. A rival pushes your buttons too, as it’s difficult to imagine Stewart attacking Short’s Honda in the pits either!

Chad Reed and James Stewart came together during the race sending both to the dirt.
Getting down and dirty at Phoenix - the latest Stewart/Reed dustup led to heated altercations on the track and off.
While gentlemanly competition of the may-the-better-man-win variety is laudable, it can get stale too. Spirited rivalries satiate the fan’s need to not just root for someone, but dislike someone else. It gets the bile churning. If you need examples, read the comments from Reed and Stewart supporters at the bottom of almost every Supercross article on our site (we assume this one too…). Saturday nights in a household with a Reed fan and Stewart fan must bristle with tension akin to a Hatfield/McCoy wedding… one verbal misstep and its go time!

As for competing at the highest caliber, Stewart and Reed have been the top tier riders of Supercross since Ricky Carmichael’s exit. Stewart may be acknowledged as the more talented of the two, faster on the track and winning more races, but Reed has been the only consistent threat to Stewart dominance (though Ryan Dungey is off to an impressive start for 2010). Reed does have a pair of AMA Supercross titles and a fresh AMA Motocross championship – they don’t hand those out to just anyone.

A third component of a great rivalry, more a byproduct really, is the role of the villain. Mat Mladin comes to mind, and his great AMA Superbike rivalry with teammate Ben Spies. Mladin spoke his mind with curt language and made it plain that he was at races to win them, not make friends with his teammate – or anyone else for that matter. Fans love him or hate him, there isn’t much in between. How about Max Biaggi, the ultimate villain to the mega-popular Valentino Rossi in MotoGP? Biaggi whined and pouted all the time, and even sported the mustachioed goatee of a melodramatic villain - sans cape and top hat.

Don’t most fans relish the antagonistic villains? Appreciate their flinty demeanor, their willingness to stir things up. Who didn’t snicker a little back in 2006 when Mladin said in reference to the upstart Spies that "he still has his mom hanging around wiping his bum.” Head games. Great stuff. What about Biaggi? The man that goaded Rossi into pre-podium fisticuffs back in 2001, probably just by being Max Biaggi. Imagine how boring the paddock would be if everyone were the aw shucks clean cut kid, who says all the right things, all the time. “The bike was really good. My team was really good. My competition’s really good. I’d like to thank my sponsors, they're really good…”

Stewart  7  holds off Reed  1  - 2009 AMA Supercross - Las Vegas
Last year at Vegas, Reed needed six points to catch Stewart for the title. When Stewart tried to let Reed around him, the Aussie made sure the pass was a hard one.
Reed seems to be the villain in this rivalry, though his supporters can argue it’s other way around. He says the right, wrong things. Take his preseason quote regarding Stewart in a USA Today interview: “I think our dislike for each other runs pretty thick. I'm excited to get on the racetrack and take it to him.”

Not the quote given by someone who plays the game of polite civility that assumes everyone gets along and hold hands all the time. It’s refreshingly honest: I don’t like him, he don’t like me - let's race. Reed’s performance at the 2009 Supercross Las Vegas finale was great villain material too: When Stewart slowed to let Reed by, knowing he could finish with enough points to win the title, the Aussie executed a rough pass, nearly running his rival off the track. Toss some whirling blades on the spokes and you have the chariot race from Ben-Hur! Not a race the fans or riders will soon forget.

That’s not to say every race should be a blood sport or feature cheap takedowns or punches, but over the course of a season a few heated moments aren’t a bad thing. The really bad news is that Reed is out six weeks now with a broken hand and will return with the title well out of reach.

Returning with nothing to lose, let's hope Reed gets immediately up to speed and challenge Stewart for wins. With any luck, the rivalry can continue to fester into some epic racing for 2010.
2010 AMA Supercross Gallery
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AMA Supercross Rider Bios
Jake Weimer Bio
Jake Weimer was one of the more underrated 250 riders before nailing down the West Coast SX Championship in 2010. For 2012, he'll aim to recover from a difficult season plagued by injury.
Kyle Regal Bio
Based out of Kemp, Texas, Kyle Regal is a former rookie who skipped the Loretta Lynn’s amateur nationals in favor of turning pro during the 2009 season.
Justin Barcia Bio
Justin Barcia is one of the most highly touted amateurs to come from American motocross breeding grounds. His recent showing in the premier class has proven he's a real contender.
Tommy Searle Bio
British rider Tommy Searle is another speedy european rider who splits his effort between racing in the U.S. and overseas. He is currently contesting the MX2 World Championship series for CLS Kawasaki.
Grant Langston Bio
Few have had a career as long and trying as Grant Langston's. From loses to wins, Grant knows racing and knows it well. Since 2010 he has been officially retired.

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BT EXPRESSN -NOTHING CHANGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!  March 14, 2010 12:01 PM
JAMES, The more things change, the more they stay the same. Chad Reed is one of the most diritest riders out on the track and just like in Boxing "PROTECT YOURSELF" at all times. When he raced against ricky he never tried to do the dirt like how he races against you, for he thought he would be the next "champion", wrong answer and the AMA sees nothing wrong with it and I wonder why??????.Please understand that I can relate for there was NO market to see someone outside the lines who did't fit the "STATUS QUOE".
AD -Don't Pour Gas On Fire  January 28, 2010 09:44 AM
Stewart's a class act reeds a bum he took a cheap shot...I wish he would try that wit me....
Amd -Who did what?  January 25, 2010 10:08 PM
The Cliffs Notes version of the episode was that Stewart came down too tightly in a turn and collided with Reed, who was going up the inside and trying to pass.(Say no more)

I like James and Chad but I must admit James has little or no respect for anyone he passes.His attitude seems to be get outta my way im comming through whether you like or not!Great for racing but the poor bloke he landed on in pheonix probably disagrees.If he does drop the bike he just gets back on kicks it over and slams into some other dude
comming past.Super competetive for sure but have a bit of a look there are other people on the track James.
redrum -stewart and reed  January 24, 2010 07:47 PM
I personally think that reeds is a poor sloppy racer compared to any of the true greats that have been out of competition for a few years. He rides smooth yes he is consistent and he is also one of the dirtiest riders ive seen worse then Tyler Evans ever was.I do think they should fine him or better yet not let him participate in the series i mean come on watch the video he slaps stewarts head.
richard remy -wickedwon  January 22, 2010 06:59 PM
never was a stewart fan. big taker,big crasher. But he showed a champion size heart at phoenix. he got tough and got up and he finished, twice!! GOOD RIDE !! reminds me of a man named HANNAH.
justin -reed and stewart  January 22, 2010 05:15 PM
If you watch the races stewart always bangs into reed for the pass reed just had enough rc didnt do that to him stewart has to hit nearly everyone he passes no brains.but they both need to wake up to them selves.
rrh -Stolen  January 22, 2010 10:36 AM
Keep an eye out for them stolen pro bikes!!
Mark -Stewart and Reed  January 22, 2010 10:03 AM
The rivalry is overrated and more hype than anything. Reed doesn't have pure talent to beat Stewart and never will in straight-up no mistakes racing. Reed can play dirty but that can back fire on you too with injuries case-and-point. I have some advice for James Stewart's "new" attitude this year for supercross, "just to be in the top 5". Drop that attitude now! Go balls-out like you use to in order to distance yourself from other racers, because if you lower your expectations you make it easier for the competition to catch you, and they have. A2 make the change James!
Tim B -What Rivalry?  January 22, 2010 09:30 AM
For a good rivalry the two opponents need to be competitive and constantly banging bars. Chad Reed has hardly ever been at the front with Stewart let alone have the speed to hang with him. Reed constantly finishes far behind Stewart in second place so I can't see that being called an on-track rivalry. They just like to run their mouths after the races.
MTGR -This is not a rivalry  January 22, 2010 08:14 AM
Anyone who thinks these two help the image of this sport is sadly mistaken. You need 2 professionals actually racing each other for there to be a rivalry. These two guys did more real dicing in the first few laps of A1 last year than they have in all the races from then on combined. (at least, before Stewey took them both out).

90% of this "rivalry" is stupid takes outs, pit rumors, and press hyping of unprofessional comments. An ongoing spat between two immature brats not a heated rivalry between two professionals.

I hope Dunger, V2, and the rest keep elevating their game. Once Reed and Stew are always fighting outside the top ten (like this last time) they can go away. Hopefully the new crop will produce some real racing action and true rivalries.
Frank121 -RU Serious  January 22, 2010 08:10 AM
Maybe when and if Reed comes back he can take Stewart out for good because as you say thats good racing? You don't see Biaggi taking out Rossi so how is it in your words good for our sport when Reed states before the Season opened that he hates James and then does everything he can to take him out? Every lap he kept getting closer to t-boning James in that corner and when the other riders slowed him down he accomplished what he wanted to do .... take him down! Bubba made a mistake going to his pits after the race, he should of taken care of that business after last years Vegas race! Reed is a dirty rider and has NO CHANCE at titles unless the top riders are hurt or do not compete! I hope he sits out the rest of the year, it will be Good CLEAN racing without him between Dungy, Villipoto, Stewart and the rest!
Arnie Marrero - Bart Madson watch your Emily Post.  January 22, 2010 05:36 AM
Writing yellow is not good business.
mississippi george -interested spectator  January 22, 2010 04:23 AM
it's only a "rivalry" if each party wins periodically-not if one wins and the other attempts to knock the first out of the competition.
maybe it's time for someone in the ama to take a peek at the films before reed returns from his latest "accident". i believe the sport would benefit from sanctioning him for his behavior.
cls -Oh, yeh.  January 21, 2010 06:45 PM
Oh, yeh. I almost forgot: Stewart is the fastest guy in Supercross these days, hands down. RC was great, but he can't run w/Stewart. I'm truly not sure Stewart doesn't "pace" himself during a race to prevent errors and generate a little more excitement. The guy is crazy fast.
cls -Sportsmanship.  January 21, 2010 06:41 PM
I understand the gist of the article, and I'll certainly not overstate my point. However, having said that, what has happened to sportsmanship these days (decades.)? You don't have to be a milksop, but there's no reason to be petty, either. These guys are making very good money and a lot of people watch them, kids especially. Grow up; race hard; and keep your noses clean. You don't have to like each other, but be professional and adult. Good grief...
DR -Rivalry  January 21, 2010 04:41 PM
This is what made our sport even greater... Both are champions in their own way. James' speed can never be matched, but a little bit reckless. Reed as other articles described, is one of the most consistent and smoothest rider in the track. But we the fans always love to see healthy competition. As far as the two attitudes are concern, they are not proving anything. I'm not a fan either of the two, but loves Supercross and never missed seeing every season since MC's time. Just race and have fun.... The fame and money are just consolations...
WiseGuy -Bart?  January 21, 2010 04:24 PM
Reed smacked Stewart? Did he raise his hand and let it drop down on Stewart? Is that what you saw?
MN -Rivalry  January 21, 2010 04:17 PM
I agree the rivalry is great. Stewart is a immature brat for kicking Reeds bike over. And Carmichael could thrash the two of them. I would love to see Dungey put Stewart in his proper place, second.
TG -Charmichal Stewart and the Racist  January 21, 2010 04:13 PM
RC may have dominated in his time, but lap times are lap times. No one has said he's the goat, but he is the fastest man alive right now. You think RC could beat him? If RC thought so he would prove it. And Dungey? For the championship...maybe, he's riding good. But there are a lot of other players I would predict before him for the overall.
MV Man -Rivalry  January 21, 2010 01:20 PM
These two may not like each other, but rivalry? On and off the track it's like Rossi and Biaggi....one is clearly superior. The sport of supercross has had many great champions, but none has had the pure speed of Bubba! Only one rider can beat Stewart, and his name is Stewart. For now, James isn't concearned about Reed. He's looking for a shovel to dig himself out of the hole he's in so he can chase Dungy!!
Rob -Good read  January 21, 2010 12:53 PM
These two make my world go round in excitement and leave me anxiously awaiting the next race between them.