Young Star Puts Motocross On Map

Above the deafening whine of the engines, you can still hear the buzz in Pontiac, Michigan as people gather around to see a young man race his bike.

"A lot of people turned out to Michigan just to see this young man ride," says one spectator.

The young man is James Stewart, a teenage phenomenon who goes by the name "Bubba" and dazzles audiences around the country racing his motorbike to dizzying heights, reports CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

"You wouldn't expect to see a black kid with dread locks (in this sport), and that's Bubba," says Stewart. "But to me, we all look the same in the helmet."

Maybe they all look the same at the start, but certainly not at the finish line.

Stewart's father put him on a motorcycle when he was just four years old. Now at 18, Stewart is dominating the professional circuits of dirt-bike racing, a high stakes sport that is all about speed and agility. Stewart won the last 14 races, and has sponsors clamoring for his endorsement.

"When you look back to the day when we were kids and thought, 'Who would ever get paid $4 or $5 million to ride a motorcycle,'" says ESPN commentator Todd Harris. "He's phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal."

Big time companies are banking on Stewart, not just because of his wins, but because of his winning personality. Being one of the first African-American champions in any major motor sport only enhances his marketability.

"It destroys some stereotypes. It knocks down some barriers to people being open-minded about what others are capable of doing," says Peter Roby from Northeastern University.

When asked if he feels the pressure of taking the sport to the next level, Stewart says, "No, I don't, because this is what I love to do. I love winning races."

Stewart makes winning look easy, but describes a lot of hard work behind the scenes.

"I get up in the morning. I go to the gym. I come back and ride. By the time I'm finished riding I go home and go to sleep," he says.

His father, James Steward Sr., says, "A lot of people don't understand what he has to go through to be where he his at."

Even a competitor like Travis Pastrana says Stewart may be the sport's best ambassador. "It doesn't matter who James Stewart is -- the way he rides that motorcycle is good for our sport."

And with a new star on the rise, the sport is quickly gaining momentum.
  • Raksha Shetty

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