James Stewart competed for the first time after a season on the bench due to a suspension after a failed drug test. Stewart is undefeated at the Straight Rhythm. His brother, Malcolm, won the 250cc class.
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2015 is in the books, and in his first professional motocross race of the year, James Stewart returned to defend his title as the Open class champion in spectacular fashion. In the Lites class, James’ younger brother MalcolmStewart, stayed perfect all day to take his first championship ever as a professional.
Round of 16:
Through the first round races, it was business as usual for the star riders like Ken Roczen, James Stewart, and Ryan Dungey, each making easy work of both races to move on. Vince Friese had the highlight of the first round, although under circumstances that he probably wasn’t too happy with: Friese lost his back brake coming up to one of the speed checks and launched it, sending himself and his 450 about 25 feet straight up and down onto the face of the following jump. Somehow, Friese saved himself from a wreck and rode the next race, ultimately losing to Andrew Short. But overall, business as usual for the Open class riders in the first round, as every faster qualifier moved on.
Ken Roczen vs. Tevin Tapia
Andrew Short vs. Vince Friese
Justin Brayton vs. Adam Enticknap
Dean Wilson vs. Thomas Ramette
Ryan Dungey vs. Deven Raper
Kyle Partridge vs. Kyle Chisholm
James Stewart vs. Nick Schmidt
Josh Hansen vs. Mike Alessi
Ken Roczen faced off against his riding buddy Andrew Short in the quarters, and left him behind right there as he worked his way up to the semifinals. The KTM riders Dean Wilson and Justin Brayton found each other in this round, a replay of the semifinals from 2014, and again it was Brayton edging Wilson to take the ticket to the next round, despite Wilson’s feverish attempt to put the bike in front the No. 10 Brayton. Ryan Dungey had some unexpected competition in the likes of Kyle Partridge, but weathered that storm, eventually laying down the fastest time we’d seen all weekend at a 41.7. James Stewart once again took on Josh Hansen in the quarterfinals, for the second straight year, and once again made quick work of Hanny to move on.
Ken Roczen vs. Andrew Short
Justin Brayton vs. Dean Wilson
Ryan Dungey vs. Kyle Partridge
James Stewart vs. Josh Hansen
It all started to heat up in the semifinals. Ken Roczen took on the 2014 Straight Rhythm second place rider Justin Brayton, and while Brayton kept Roczen on his toes in each race, Roczen was able to get the job done and secure his spot in the final. It was the second semifinal that had fans on their feet – James Stewart and Ryan Dungey, facing off for the first time in 2015. In the first run, Stewart looked to have the advantage, using an incredible line jumping the dragon back into the whoops, but Dungey somehow gained an edge in the rollers and took the win. But Stewart was able to put two perfect runs together to take the win over Dungey, gaining him a spot in the final.
Ken Roczen vs. Justin Brayton
Ryan Dungey vs. James Stewart
The stage was set for an incredible final. The 2014 Straight Rhythm champ Stewart facing off against the prodigy Roczen. Roczen had not lost a single race all day, and looked to be on his way to a perfect day, a la Stewart in 2014. But after the first run, it was Stewart just edging Roczen, his whoops speed making all the difference. Coming into the second race, Roczen looked steadfast on taking the final to a third run, but as the two left the gate and hit the first section of the track, Roczen made a minor mistake, and completely checked up, handing the race win and the championship to Stewart, who cruised home for his second straight Red Bull Straight Rhythm title.
Ken Roczen vs. James Stewart
It was Malcolm Stewart leading the way into the quarterfinals in the Lites class after taking the pole position. Stewart faced off against his GEICO Honda teammate Matt Bisceglia and made easy work of their two races, easily taking the win and a ticket to the semifinals. The other two GEICO Honda riders, Jordon Smith and RJ Hampshire faced off next, and it was in their first race that Hampshire got out of shape in the whoops, dropping the front end and going straight over the bars, slamming into the dirt and ending his day at Straight Rhythm 2015.
Malcolm Stewart vs. Matt Bisceglia
Jordon Smith vs. RJ Hampshire
Jessy Nelson vs. Austin Politelli
Shane McElrath vs. Michael Lieb
The Lites semifinals saw the battle of the teammates, as Malcolm Stewart took on Jordon Smith, while Jessy Nelson went up against Shane McElrath. Stewart had been perfect all weekend, and kept the streak alive against his GEICO Honda teammate, who was unable to bring the aggression that Stewart brought to the track in either race, giving Malcolm the go-ahead for the Lites final. In one of the upsets of the day, McElrath was able to take the top spot over his teammate Nelson in their two races, putting McElrath in the final against Stewart.
Malcolm Stewart vs. Jordon Smith
Jessy Nelson vs. Shane McElrath
It was going to be a tough mountain to climb for the TLD KTM rider Shane McElrath, as Malcolm Stewart had taken a page out of his brother’s playbook from 2014 and had topped every single race of his weekend Straight Rhythm. McElrath and Stewart battled in each race, and while the TLD rider rode the wheels off his KTM250, it was not enough to defeat Stewart, who stayed perfect on the day to take his first title at Red Bull Straight Rhythm, securing a Stewart sweep in both classes.
Malcolm Stewart vs. Shane McElrath