With Larry seemingly history, how cool is it that two team owners are battling it out on the track for the win?

There were probably some pretty good reasons why, at least for a while to start the season, James Stewart and Chad Reed started getting along better. They were together as the ‘old guys’ trying to fend off the young-gun onslaught of defending champ Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, Trey Canard and the rest. They were the proven talent whose capabilities had come into question after two equally horrible 2010 seasons. And they were both team owners, controlling their own destinies behind the desk as well as behind the handlebars.

Of course, the fact that Stewart was a team owner wasn’t that well-known at the time. In the off-season – when negotiating his deal with the San Manuel Yamaha team – Stewart wasn’t finding the kind of income he wanted. So, as I understood it, he brought in some of his own sponsors – namely Red Bull – and essentially used that money to buy out Mike Kranyak, the ‘M’ in L&M Racing. Stewart controlled 51 per cent of the team at that point but when asked about it earlier in the year he would only say that the rest of the changes to the team structure were still under negotiation so he couldn’t say much just yet.


Well, just before Atlanta the rumours really picked up, stating that Stewart had taken over Larry Brooks’ portion of the team to become 100 per cent owner. And, sure enough, at Atlanta Brooks was nowhere to be seen. Stewart said Brooks was taking time off for family stuff but everyone else has disagreed with this take. Even Stewart’s team-mate Kyle Regal said Brooks was out before he apparently knew the party line.

Last year, when working through a disagreement I had with Larry Brooks during my time at Racer X (I’d written about Stewart not talking to the press on the Racer X site and Brooks wanted my blood), I talked it through with Brooks and during the conversation he referred to himself almost with pride as the ‘most hated man in the AMA pits’. I don’t think that was accurate then – or now – but there are certainly some people who don’t like Brooks. That being said, there are some people who definitely don’t like me and I think I’m pretty frikkin’ awesome so simply saying that some people don’t like Brooks doesn’t mean it’s representative.

On the positive side, Larry Brooks was absolutely the racer’s manager. He loved his racers and he backed his racers 100 per cent no matter what the racer did or didn’t do. He backed Reed 100 per cent of the time and backed Stewart the same, at least in public. When dealing with the AMA, FIM, media or anything like that, any racer would love to have Brooks in their corner.

We don’t know yet what precipitated Brooks’ exit from the formerly named L&M (Larry and Mike) Racing team but we do know history. So while James Stewart obviously has full factory Yamaha support and Chad Reed is racing on a bike 99 per cent of which you can buy yourself if you have enough money, how cool is it that two team owners were battling for the win in Atlanta?

The face of racing is changing…