James Stewart claimed his first AMA Supercross championship with his twelfth victory of the season at Seattle on Saturday night - a result that also handed him his second World Supercross GP crown in succession.
Suzuki's Ivan Tedesco earned the $1,500 Progressive Direct Holeshot Award but subsequently fell - with his bike then hit by Stewart's only remaining title rival, Yamaha's Chad Reed, costing the Australian an early second position. Reed restarted in last place, eventually recovering to sixth, while Stewart rode to race and double championship glory.
"To have this championship is a dream come true. I have waited for this my entire life. I was nervous all day. I want to thank my team and family for all of their support this year," said Stewart.
With the recent retirement of Ricky Carmichael, the sport and its future seemed to be passed along to Stewart at Detroit. And, to Stewart's credit, he has taken things in stride, both with the gracious manner in which he paid tribute to Carmichael's retirement earlier in the season and his recent dominance of the sport, including five straight wins leading up to the title.
"I am definitely happy to be in the position I am in and I hope that I can continue to help the sport grow from here," said Stewart. "I also hope that I can continue to kick it up that extra notch to give the fans the show they came to see. I will still be working hard as ever because there will always be another fast guy coming up to challenge for the win."
Stewart's titles were not exactly handed to him, with Carmichael winning once and Reed claiming two main event wins. And while most in the sport can agree on Stewart's talents on the track, Kawasaki team manager Mike Fisher says it's what goes on behind the scenes that makes this year all the more enjoyable.
"Our entire team puts in so much work that when we win championships like this, it's a huge payoff," said Fisher. "Our testing staff and riders spend endless hours at the test track perfecting even the smallest of things, so this is what makes it all worth while."
Stewart's season started off with trying times north of the border in Toronto, where a late-race crash injured his foot at the series opener. He would ride through the pain a week later in Vancouver and limped away from the Canadian rounds with a sore foot and an important 42 points in the standings.
The series took a break over the Christmas holiday which allowed Stewart the ability to heal and make a triumphant return to racing with wins in the next three races at Anaheim, San Francisco and Anaheim again.