You’ve no doubt heard the news that today James Stewart disclosed that he will be withdrawing from the Australian SX scheduled for the end of this month. In and of itself this is a blow to the Australian fans who were looking forward to watching the most enigmatic Supercross racer of all time. Unfortunately for James, this situation can be classified as anything but “in and of itself”.
Despite the career-spanning rivalry between James and Chad Reed, James really does have Australian fans and when James announced in 2009 that he would be making the Brisbane Super X, fans were stoked. That 2009 announcement seemed about as realistic as Chad choosing James to be god-father to one of his kids. Remember, 2009 was the year Chad and Larry Brooks broke away from one another and LB saddled up with James which was like Larry throwing napalm on a Chad Reed wildfire. Over the course of 2009 we saw the greatest racing between the 7 and 22 we ever have and man was it ever bitter!!
During the overseas races of 2009, James suffered food poisoning which forced him to abbreviate his Bercy trip and ultimately pull out of the Brisbane Super X. Australian fans were disappointed but certainly it felt like more of an “ok, I kinda didn’t expect that to really happen anyway” deal than actual outrage. Two-rounds into 2010 James and Chad got together in Phoenix which left Chad with a broken hand and James hoofing it over to the Kawi pits where he *allegedly* kicked the 22 Kawi off it’s stand, onto the ground. All was right with the world again as the 2009 Brisbane invite, acceptance, forfeiture was a dirty memory. The real Chad and James Show was alive and well.
Even without conspiracy theorists running rampant, the 2015 iteration of James pulling out of the Australian Super X would have enough teeth to bury any goodwill Australian fans held for James. You know the old saying, “fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me…” James didn’t plan this encore but that’s irrelevant in the eyes of the Australian masses. Anyone with a smidge of common sense with regard to public relations would have told James, “I don’t care if you fly there and claim injury in practice and end up just signing autographs, you get there.”
But there’s more.
This withdrawal has it’s own nasty sting buried in the not-so hidden details. This withdrawal claims to be based off of the aggravated wrist injury suffered initially at the Monster Cup yet James is still remaining committed to the Lille (Bercy) race this coming weekend. Clearly there is more at hand(wrist?) than simply recovery time and chances are that decision is based on the guaranteed start-money. Can you imagine a different reason for announcing withdrawal from a race 3 weeks from now but not the coming weekend based on an already aggravated injury from a month ago?
It’s just so standard that an announcement from the Stewart camp can’t be simple and logical, there HAS to be an aspect of “WHAT?!”
Maybe what they said in that PR is all true? It probably is but you know what is more important? Explaining the decision that is NOT in that PR, and that is, why he is racing this coming weekend with the very injury that will sideline him in 3 weeks?