Kawasaki's James Stewart has put his injury littered debut premier-class season behind him by beating defending champion Ricky Carmichael for victory in the opening round of the 2006 Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP championship, held at Rogers Centre, in Toronto, Canada.
Stewart, racing in his first ever World Supercross GP ahead of the January AMA season start, took the holeshot by leading the field into turn one - then led the first three laps, before falling at the first turn.
That mistake allowed Suzuki mounted Carmichael, who had started fourth but worked his way into second by lap two, to take the lead. However, Stewart was soon past former AMA champion Chad Reed and back on the rear wheel of his fellow Floridian.
Bubba then studied his opponent - and remained locked to RC's rear wheel right until lap 17 of 20 - when he made a pass stick and held on for his first-ever World Supercross GP win. Carmichael finished second with Reed third for Yamaha.
"I felt really comfortable tonight," smiled Stewart. "I felt really strong this year and feel like I can get this. I knew the fans really wanted a race. If you had your butt kicked last year by this guy (Carmichael), you'd come ready to race too. I have been a winner my whole life and have a lot of work to do."
"Every time I ride I learn something new," commented Carmichael. "It's always motivating to get beat when you win a lot. It makes it fun to get your butt whipped. There's only one way to go and that's to get better. I will learn from James (Stewart) and get better."
As previously reported, Stewart, Carmichael and Reed were all riding 450cc four-strokes, rather than the 250cc two-strokes traditionally preferred for indoor racing.
When asked about his choice in switching to the machine he won this season's AMA Outdoor series aboard, Carmichael added: "It's a proven bike and the best bike and I don't think anyone who has chosen to ride the four-stroke this year will switch back."
In the newly renamed 'Supercross Lites' class, Honda's Andrew Short jumped out to an early main event lead with KTM riders Josh Hansen and Nathan Ramsey in second and third respectively.
Short then led the first six laps before pulling off the track due to a rough landing on the triple jump. Hansen led the next two laps, but former Suzuki rider Davi Millsaps made the pass on lap 9 and went on to win on his Honda debut.
"I felt bad that Short crashed out because I wanted to race him," said Millsaps. "I am really happy to get my first win on a Honda. This is big for me and our team."
Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP Event Results:
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kawasaki
2. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, Fla., Suzuki
3. Chad Reed, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
4. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki
5. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Honda
6. Michael Byrne, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
7. Jason Thomas, Melrose, Fla., Honda
8. Justin Buckelew, Riverside, Calif., Honda
9. Jeff Gibson, Westerville, Ohio, Honda
10. Doug DeHaan Thorndale, Ontario, Honda
Amp'd Mobile World Supercross GP Season Standings:
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Kawasaki, 25
2. Ricky Carmichael, Havana, Fla., Suzuki, 22
3. Chad Reed, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 20
4. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 18
5. Nick Wey, Dewitt, Mich., Honda, 16
6. Michael Byrne, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 15
7. Jason Thomas, Melrose, Fla., Honda, 14
8. Justin Buckelew, Riverside, Calif., Honda, 13
9. Jeff Gibson, Westerville, Ohio, Honda, 12
10. Doug DeHaan Thorndale, Ontario, Honda, 11
Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Lites Event Results:
1. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Honda
2. Josh Hansen, Temecula, Calif., KTM
3. Billy Laninovich, Corona, Calif., Honda
4. Jake Weimer, Corona, Calif., Honda
5. Michael Willard, Thornville, Ohio, KTM
6. Mitch Cooke, Brookfield, Nova Scotia, Honda
7. Brady Sheren, Surrey, British Columbia, Kawasaki
8. Ryan Lockhart, Springhill, Nova Scotia, Suzuki
9. Dennis Ewing, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda
10. Kyle Keast, Lindsay, Ontario, Honda