It's been a dream start for Kawasaki in the early 2007 Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series, with James Stewart atop the standings coming into Anaheim II this Saturday thanks to wins at the first two rounds of the 16-race championship.
Additionally, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki riders are one-two-three in the AMA Supercross Lites West Series after two rounds.
Stewart, who won Anaheim I earlier this month, brings a six-point lead over Ricky Carmichael into Anaheim II, but since Carmichael, who is transitioning into a NASCAR racing career, is not slated to race this weekend his real competition is coming from third-ranked Chad Reed of L&M Racing Yamaha. Reed, who is riding with injuries suffered in pre-season testing, is 10 points behind Stewart.
While Stewart has always had the speed in years past, over the course of a season he's sometimes lapsed into mistakes that have led to crashes and injury. This year Stewart, the 21year-old from Haines City, Fla., seems to be riding with newfound confidence and calmness. He points to his ultimate goal of winning his first AMA Supercross Series championship as his guiding light this year.
“I have to be smart out there,” Stewart said in the post-race press conference in Phoenix this past weekend. “I know what my goals are. Things just aren't bothering me. I'm so focused on what I'm doing that even when I have problems with lappers it's not rattling me. I've always had fun racing, but the difference this year is that I'm a lot stronger. Riding against Ricky I've learned a lot. It's also been a lot of hard work.”
Stewart is coming off an impressive win last weekend in Phoenix, where he recovered from a poor start and passed Carmichael, then went on to a 1.227-second margin of victory.
Stewart's Phoenix victory was his 13th AMA Supercross Series win and it placed him 11th on the all-time wins list. He's three victories away from breaking into the top-10 on the all-time list.
Reed is simply trying to stay close as he recovers from his injuries. So far a pair of hard-earned third-place finishes have kept the Australian close in the championship battle.
“I think it's more work to get healed than to maintain fitness from week to week,” Reed said. “My main concern is to prevent too much damage [in the point standings]. What I'm doing now is trying to minimize that and I'm doing all I can.”