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Garage Finds | James Stewart’s Jersey and Supercross Championship Plate


Garage Finds | James Stewart’s Jersey and Supercross Championship Plate

Presented by Backyard Design

In 2006, James Stewart earned the World Supercross GP Championship, which was the entire AMA AMP’d Mobile Supercross Series, minus the Daytona Supercross and plus the two World Championship rounds that kicked off the series in Canada. While Ricky Carmichael earned the AMA title in a narrow points battle over rival Chad Reed, Stew easily captured the World Championship aboard his factory Kawasaki.

In early 2006, I visited James at his home in Haines City, Florida, to work on a magazine feature for TransWorld MX, and also to gather some super-hot website content. One of the videos I filmed with James was a tour of his Rolls Royce Phantom, which he had recently purchased on impulse when the salesman at the dealership talked down to him. I can remember struggling to hold my video camera steady as James rambled on a number of hilarious one-liners about the car as he showed me everything from the super-tech dashboard to the golf umbrellas that popped out of secret compartments in the passenger doors. The video got a ton of views and positive comments, but as always, a few internet bandits criticized Stew for spending money on such an over-the-top car. Now that I think about it, I think the video actually showcased several exotic cars in his garage, and people were quick to judge. Ah, jealousy…

At the Colorado round of the MX Nationals, I was walking through the pits when I heard a “pssttt!” from the window of one of the gigantic motor coaches that I walked past. I looked up and it was James, inside his home away from home. “Come here, I have something for you,” he said. I walked to the door, and he handed me a copy of his World Championship number one plate. (Made by Pro Plates, racers can order copies of their original award to give to sponsors and friends.) “Thanks for the love in the mag! P.S. I got a new whip!” was written next to his autograph. James always thrived on criticism, and he got a kick out of the people who left negative comments about all the cars he had in his garage. Getting another new car was his way of secretly laughing in his critics’ faces. Needless to say, I was super flattered that of all people, he had thought to get me a copy of his number-one plate. 

In 2009, Stew left the factory Kawasaki team and joined Team San Manuel Yamaha, and proceeded to dominate the Monster Energy Supercross Championship, winning 11 of the 17 rounds, and dethroning defending champion Chad Reed. That season, he also left his career-long sponsor Fox Racing, to join Answer Racing, which rebranded itself ANSR to take advantage of its new superstar rider. (It was here that James was first paired with Roger Larsen, who went on to launch Seven MX with Stewart in 2013.) The James Stewart signature line of gear launched by ANSR that year proved to be the best selling line the brand had in decades. Inside the tail of the jersey was James’ clothing motto, “Look good, feel good, race good.”

At the Las Vegas series finale, James was awarded his championship trophy, even though the finale was won by Ryan Villopoto, who was finally beginning to find his rhythm in the premier division. No matter, the championship was huge for the San Manuel Yamaha team and everyone in the Stewart camp. After the race, James again surprised me; this time with one of his celebratory jersey.

It’s been over three years since James has lined up, and only a few weeks since he officially announced his retirement, and I can honestly say that the sport just isn’t the same without him. Stew forever changed the sport in many ways and broke down boundaries for African Americans in motocross. Now that he’s finally announced his retirement, he’s promised to come around the races more often. Personally, I can’t wait to see him.

Backyard Design Bike Graphic of the Week

KTM Factory Series

Price: Starting at $179.95

Backyard Design was founded in 2010 by two privateer Supercross racers: Jared Hicks from Alabama and Philipp Klakow from Germany. What started off as a project to fund their Supercross racing efforts has now grown into a worldwide graphics manufacturer, with dual headquarters in the United States and Germany. Backyard Design is known for being one of the first custom graphics makers to have a completely interactive website, where customers can design their own kits with a few clicks on a computer mouse.

Sean Lipanovich is a professional motocrosser from Southern California who also runs a successful motocross school and motocross vacation rental business. When he’s not working, he is a regular at the Swapmoto Race Series, where he is a consistent front runner in the pro classes. Lipanovich turned to Backyard Design to design his latest set of graphics for his KTM 450 SX-F, and he started with the Factory Series template on the web site. “I’m super happy with the end product,” he said. “The entire process of designing was a cinch and I got exactly what I was looking for.”

We just used our first set of Backyard Design numberplate backgrounds on the 2020 Husqvarna FC 250 and 350 today, and we were very impressed with the material they were printed on, as it was thick and durable, yet pliable and easy to install. We are looking forward to creating our very own Backyard Design kit and sharing it here in Garage Finds very soon!

Check them out at www.BackyardDesignUSA.com and stay tuned for an all-new and even better web site soon!

The 2019 Loretta Lynn’s AMA Amateur National numbers have also been released, and Backyard Design is offering a whopping 40% discount for those headed to the ranch! Use LORETTAS2019 as the discount code at checkout!

Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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1 Comment

  1. Austin Nicholson July 25, 2019

    I absolutely love this type of content ont he website!!! I have a small moto mancave myself so seeing stuff like this makes me drool!!! Would KILL to have something from bubba in my collection but id settle for something from justin cooper lmfao