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James Stewart is not about to change riding style

Despite suffering several injuries because of aggressiveness, he went into the supercross season opener at Angel Stadium on Saturday with no plans to hold back.

January 08, 2011|By Jim Peltz

James Stewart is perhaps the most feared rider in big league supercross racing — if he's healthy, that is.

As the Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opened Saturday night at Angel Stadium, Stewart returned as a two-time champion, having won the title in 2007 and 2009. Supercross is the stadium version of motocross, or off-road motorcycle racing.

But Stewart also has a habit of crashing and sometimes getting injured. In fact, Stewart either has won, or crashed trying, in 93% of his races since joining the sport's top level in 2005, according to the series.

That aggressiveness cost the Floridian again last year. After winning the opening Anaheim race, Stewart collided with Chad Reed at the next race, in Phoenix, and a week later it was found Stewart had a broken bone in his right wrist. The Yamaha rider was done for the season.

Reed, too, had his season cut short because of injuries from the Phoenix race, but he's back as well to challenge reigning champion Ryan Dungey and others.

"With all the new competition [back] in, it should be good," Stewart said. "I'm excited to see where we're at."

In 2008, Stewart competed in only two races before he aggravated a knee injury in practice and was forced to sit out that season as well.

But Stewart, nicknamed Bubba, said he had no plans to ease up on the throttle merely to survive the full 17-race season.

"I'm not going to change my riding style," he said. "I'm going to be who I am. It's why people get excited to watch me race. I can't help that I give 100% every time I ride. If I crash because I'm actually trying I can sleep better at night."

Stewart, 25, said that the wrist injury last year was "was tough."

"It was a long injury [to heal] and it was definitely new for me to have such a small injury be so bad," he said. "It's healed now."

Stewart also said he has no plans to follow other former supercross riders, such as Ricky Carmichael and Travis Pastrana, into NASCAR stock car racing.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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