Video: Everts v Stewart 2006 MXoN
It was one of the most iconic day’s racing in motocross history as ten-time world champion, 33 year old Stefan Everts, gave young American phenom, James Stewart, a riding lesson in his last ever motocross race, with Everts going out on top with his unique and technically perfect riding style.
A lot of the American public didn’t give Everts a chance, predicting he would get beat by 30 seconds or more such was the disrespect of the world championship at the time in a still very insulated America. Thankfully times have changed since and MXGP now has that respect but Everts made a lot of people eat humble pie in the US that day.
However, the rest of the motocross world already knew the truth and marveled at one of, if not the greatest of all time, doing what he does best one last time on the world stage and proving his greatness once again by putting an emphatic exclamation mark on his career.
Both riders of course would leave an indelible mark on the sport with the iconic Bubba scrub used the world over and Everts standing technique also imitated across the globe but never quite done to the level of the legendary Belgian.
This was two of the most talented riders in the history of the sport and opposite ends of their career going at it for one time only and it was the best race I have ever been at. The crowd and atmosphere was incredible, Cairoli won the second moto on a 250 against the 450s and against Villopoto, Pourcel and Townley in a stacked 250 class in what was a glimpse into the future of MXGP and AMA racing. But it was Everts v Stewart (in his first race outside the USA for his international fans to see in person) that had the world talking before and it was Everts in the final race of his career that everyone was talking about after.
Everts said of the race in his biography and an unhappy Stewart who then said in the press conference he was racing for the team: ” We started passing each other, and I saw him scrubbing on some of these jumps but couldn’t really pull away. I made the pass on the outside of the off-camber where he was going on the inside. I think if he had tried to catch me again and pass me he would have done but he couldn’t. For me that’s the point and that’s the end of it.” ( Everts would visit James while in Orlando in 2007 at Ricky Carmichael’s last supercross race to chat and quell any bad blood, and Stewart even signed a shirt for Stefan and Liam).
“Its nice of course for me to end that way, to win two motos against James Stewart in the last Motocross des Nations. I went out the best way I could have dreamt of. When we did the podium and all that , just for a little moment when the fans started to shout my name, it was a great moment for me. I hoped that it would be my day and even though I didn’t feel at my best, that podium moment is something I won’t ever forget in my life.”
Article: Jonathan McCready