James Stewart Portrait

There can be no doubt JS7 was one of the greatest riders ever to grace a track. Some of the things he on a bike did defy explanation and the era he battled Ricky and Chad was so huge for the sport that neither RV, RD nor ET could elevate the hype to an even vaguely similar level since. However, while there are a few guys that attracted controversy in their careers, not many were to the level of James Stewart. Let’s take a look at some of the standout WTF moments.

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Bubbas World…probably still better than Swamp People


The ‘reality’ TV show that was so bad he didn’t want to do it and we didn’t want to watch it.
The most controversial part was just how this made it to air. Although, since then Foxtel have dished-up one show after another about bearded, lonely redneck hicks chasing non-existent mountain monsters or non-existent lake creatures, which they use to fill the time-slots between Hitler documentaries and fishing shows; so maybe it’s not quite as bad as we remember by 2020 standards.    


James allegedly told WADA (World Anti Doping Agency), that he wasn’t taking any medication. Then they found the banned substance, Adderall (which is an amphetamine), in his system. He didn’t have the TUE (Therapeutic Use Exemption), that allowed him to take it. Thus, it was deemed an attempt to hide a prohibited and performance enhancing substance and beginning of the end of James’s career was in play.
“My career was ruined in a sense because I didn’t fill out paperwork.”
The punishment was a 16-month suspension from racing. As the AMA is a signatory to the FIM, this also meant JS7 couldn’t race in Europe should he have wanted to.
Many felt the punishment was far too harsh. James was bewildered that he could be banned for taking something they said was fine once he eventually did file the paperwork. The rules aren’t kept a secret so there are few excuses up the point of being caught, but the process of determining guilt and the punishment is secretive and convoluted – just see how that screwed Broc Tickle’s life recently.

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Classic aggressive James – Red Bull Content Pool


In 2011 James used red and blue lights on his car to appear as a police vehicle in an effort to slow a car down in front of his so he could get by. In that car, however, were real off-duty police officers. He was pulled over and arrested.
While this qualifies as a controversy, it’s really a young bloke being a dickhead and getting busted.
James released a statement saying: “Thanks to all that are standing by me. I hope to resolve this incident quickly and show people that I am someone that upholds the law and someone they can respect as a competitor and as a person.”
We saw a comment online (where all the dumbest comments live), that said his statement was, as sincere “as Tiger Woods and O.J. Simpson… they were all sincerely sorry that they got caught.”
O.J. Simpson…let that sink in. Sometimes when you hear the dumb building up you gotta turn the hose on it people.


How about the time Pirelli-backed James swapped his sponsor’s tyre for a Bridgestone in a practice session and then for a Dunlop in another at Anaheim. He set his fastest lap on the Dunlop. To add to the eyebrow-raising hoopla, Dunlop did not give James that very rare works tyre; it appears it was one he had left over from previous seasons on the brand or another team gifted it to them. They did give it back to Dunlop after the session though…which is odd.
The team claimed that given James was not used to the Pirellis and they were having trouble with set-up, they tried the Dunlop in an effort to eliminate the possibility that it was the tyres given them grief.
From memory – and our memory is not good – James did give Pirelli its first supercross win so in time all is forgiven right?

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It was a massive bummer that James never came to Oz
– Red Bull Content Pool


At first he said he was coming, and we all rejoiced. The fastest, baddest, coolest, craziest man on a dirtbike was coming to Sydney in 2015 and tickets were more sort after than the one Charlie got to get into the chocolate factory that had that owner with the mega creepy vibe. Watch the original again…we don’t want to say too much but it’s not OK. And to make it worse, his name is Willy…
And then James’s team said he wasn’t coming.
But then he was sad about not coming. “I was pretty devastated to see the response after I announced I couldn’t make it to Australia,” said Stewart. “The fans have always been one of the best things about racing to me and after seeing their reactions, both good and bad, I knew I had to figure out a way to get down there. I spoke to the team and we worked out a couple things that can make it work. I’ve always wanted to head down there and race.”
Alright! James does love us and he’s coming to Sydney after all!
Yeah nah. He got hurt at the Bercy-Lille Supercross.
James stopped answering phone calls. He was an epic no-show. The Sydney crowd booed his soz video.
Wait, had we done this before?
Oh yeah – that time Stewart pulled out of the 2009 Super-X round in Brisbane because he didn’t want to compromise his immune system after recovering from food poisoning.
“I am so disappointed I can no longer come out and race in Australia and I apologise to all of the Australian fans. I will definitely be there next year to make it up to you all. It is doctor’s orders that I cannot race and my health has to be my number one priority,” said Stewart, who was most definitely not here the next year.

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The best way to remember one of the greatest of all time
– Red Bull Content Pool
Damien Ashenhurst
About Damien Ashenhurst 1723 Articles
Managing Editor of DIRT ACTION magazine. Damo doesn't like cheese or ISIS. Can often be found riding in mud because it's closest to the natural environment of a squid.