It’s been a good week for motocross rider James Stewart.
The 29-year-old grabbed a redemptive win at the Red Bull Straight Rhythm in Pomona, California, a specialized race without turns that features two riders jumping out of an elevated box at the starting gate, going head-to-head on a rhythm track with dragon backs and gap jumps forcing them to time their air and acceleration in short bursts of speed. As a welcome back, Stewart defeated one of his rivals, Ryan Dungey, in the semis before taking out Ken Roczen in the finals for his second consecutive Straight Rhythm title. For frosting on the cake, his little brother Malcolm won the “Lights” division.
The Florida native tested positive for illegal use of Adderall in 2014, which he uses to treat ADD, a legal drug if athletes obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption. But in an oversight, Stewart says he failed to do so until after his positive test. The result was a 16-month ban that left the motorsports community split on the outcome: some felt the penalty was too harsh, others agreed with the ruling.
But that made the win all the more sweet for Stewart. And he has a chance to add to his trophy case this weekend at the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas, another major showcase that pits the best riders in the world against one another in head-to-head action. Racing on a track inspired by 5-time supercross champ Ricky Carmichael (who, ironically wasn’t suspended after being caught using illegal gas in 2006), athletes compete in three, 10-lap main events. The Cup garners loads of hype in the action sports world as Monster uses the race to showcase its staple of supercross athletes. Stewart took the overall title at the 2013 Monster Energy Cup and hopes to return to form. He’s using his downtime this week for a little “training.”
Man, training never looked so fun.
The Monster Energy Cup airs live on Fox Sports 2 Saturday, October 17 at 9:30pm PST.