After a 16-month suspension, James Stewart made his return to racing at the 2015 Red Bull Straight Rhythm event in Pomona, California. And he came back in style – winning the event for the second year in a row. Straight Rhythm combines the jumps and whoops of a Supercross track, but eliminates all the turns, making for a drag race-style race. Each round is a best-of-three format.
In the first two rounds of bracket racing, Stewart took wins over fellow Suzuki riders Nick Schmidt and Josh Hansen. In the semifinal, Stewart faced defending AMA Supercross and Motocross champion Ryan Dungey. The two each split wins, setting up a do-or-die third race. There, Dungey got out to an early lead, but Stewart attacked the whoop section in his customary style, took the lead, and held on to it over the last two jumps to take the deciding win and move to the final.
In the final Stewart would face fellow Suzuki RM-Z450 rider and top qualifier, Ken Roczen, who had a relatively easy path to the final and hadn’t lost a race all day.
It was Stewart’s skill in the whoop section that ultimately gave him the edge in race one, and in race two a slight mistake by Roczen pushed him over the center line. Believing he was already disqualified, he checked up, handing the win and the championship to Stewart. Making the event even sweeter was James’ younger brother Malcolm winning the championship in the Lites class.
You can watch the entire three-hour broadcast of the 2015 Red Bull Straight Rhythm event by visiting the Red Bull Motorsports website. Or, you can catch a quick recap below.