PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- James Stewart could make history this Sunday, Aug. 25, at round 11 of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship in Binghamton, N.Y. The 16-year-old rookie sensation, who rides for Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki, has the chance to become the first African-American champion in professional AMA Motocross. Stewart comes into this weekend's race at Broome-Tioga Sports Center with a 94-point lead on Australian Chad Reed. Stewarts needs only to score six points to clinch the AMA 125 U.S. Motocross title at Binghamton, which means he needs only a 15th-place or better finish in either 125 moto to clinch the title. In addition to becoming the first African-American motocross champion, Stewart could also be the youngest in the 30-year history of the series.
Stewart's entry in the pro ranks this year was one of the most highly anticipated happenings in years in the sport. Coming off perhaps the greatest amateur career in motocross, Stewart was expected to make a smooth transition to the pro ranks, but not even the most ardent Stewart fan could have anticipated his domination of the 125 series this year. Stewart, who grew up on a farm in Haines City, Fla., has won eight of the 10 rounds of the championship this year, and is currently on a six-race winning streak. This Sunday at Binghamton, Stewart could tie the record for the most 125 class wins in a season with nine. He then would have the opportunity to go on to break the record at the season finale in Delmont, Pa., the following week.
"I want to wrap up the championship for sure," Stewart said. "But I really can't think about it too much. I'm going out there to win at Binghamton just like I do every weekend, but having the chance to win my first pro championship will be in the back of my mind I know. I'm looking forward to it."
Boost Mobile Yamaha's Chad Reed has been about the only rider who's been able to beat Stewart on rare occasions this season. Like Stewart, Reed is a newcomer to the AMA Chevy Truck U.S. Motocross Championship after coming over from the World Championship Series. Reed has battled a shoulder injury he suffered at Southwick, Mass., early in June, but recently said the injury is finally getting better. Last week in Millville, Minn., Reed beat Stewart in the first moto after the duo traded the lead several times. While his chances at the championship are almost gone, Reed would still like to finish out the season proving he can beat Stewart. You can bet the Australian will be giving it 110 percent in the closing two rounds.
More history could be made at Binghamton besides Stewart's probable title wrap up. Ricky Carmichael could tie an AMA record that's been on the books for 17 years. On August 11, 1985, AMA Motocross legend Bob Hannah won his 27th AMA 250 Motocross event. Hannah's record has been safe all these years, but two decades later Carmichael is looking to join the legend atop the all-time AMA 250 Motocross wins list.
"It seems like this entire year I've been breaking records that Bob Hannah set," Carmichael said. "I never got the opportunity to see him ride other than on videos, but that guy was awesome. It's hard to believe all the records he set and now for me to have a chance to match or break a lot of those records is really an honor."
Carmichael clinched the AMA Chevy Trucks 250 U.S. Motocross Championship title last week and is in the closing stages of the greatest season ever in the series. He's undefeated this year and has the goal of finishing the 2002 as the first rider in AMA Motocross history to complete an entire year with an unblemished record.
For additional information on this weekend's activities contact Broome-Tioga Sports Center at (570) 346-0469 or visit www.broome-tioga.com.