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I still wanna be like Mike. He's got enuff dough 2 quit basketball, play baseball and start his own race team at the snap of his fingers.

When the world’s most famous athlete becomes even remotely involved in any form of sporting or business activity, it is big news, and when reports slowly began to appear around the web that Michael Jordan was putting together an AMA road racing team, there was a flurry of speculative postings both in the United States and world-wide.

Jordan, in fact, has organized support for road racer Montez Stewart (31) of Matteson, Illinois, to compete in the 2004 AMA Road Racing Championship. He will ride a Yamaha R1 in AMA Superstock and a Yamaha R6 in the AMA Supersport races at Daytona International Speedway on March 4 and March 6, and will take part in the CCS-Formula USA events this weekend as preparation for the AMA races.

Jordan, who reportedly owns several sports motorcycles and has become interested in road racing, met Steward through a mutual friend in the Chicago area and decided to help the successful CCS rider who was described by Ken Abbot, CCS-Formula USA Road Race Competition Director, as “probably the dominant rider in the Midwestern Region of the CCS by the end of the 2003 season.”

Once Jordan decided to lend a helping hand to Stewart he made use of convenient synergies that have facilitated the rapid formation of a very respectable team on, apparently, fairly short notice:

Michael Jordan is managed by Peter Falk, Chaiman and CEO of the SFX Sports Group, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, commercial rights holders and organizers of the AMA Supercross Championships and, with Dorna Sports of Spain, the World Supercross Championship. Clear Channel additionally promotes and organizes both amateur and professional road racing on a nation-wide scale through the CCS regional series and the Formula USA National Championship series. Clear Channel also acts as promoter of the British Grand Prix at Donington Park, England, a round of the FIM 125, 250 and MotoGP World Road Racing Championships.

The machines that Stewart will ride this weekend at the CCS-Formula USA races will be fairly standard, but his R1 and R6 bikes for the up-coming AMA Daytona races are currently being prepared by Gemini Technology Systems in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. Gemini worked with Harley-Davidson on the VR1000 AMA Superbike racing project. Principal sponsorship in support of the new team comes from Jordan Brand, Parts Unlimited, Alpinestars, Gatoraid and PJ-1 Lubricants. Stewart’s Yamahas will be fitted with Dunlop tires.

Jordan’s representatives would not comment or even accept queries other than in written form and by fax, understandable considering the quantity of requests for information, public appearances and interviews that are directed to the NBA legend daily. Stewart was also advised not to make any statements prior to Daytona, but a Clear Channel spokesperson stated that Jordan “wants to help this rider and wants to remain in the background. Jordan met Stewart through a mutual friend and wants to give him an opportunity.”
The same source relayed a comment from Stewart: “I need to concentrate on getting ready for these races. I’ve raced for a few years and I’ve won a lot of races and lost a lot too, and I’ve raced a lot of beat-up bikes. This is a big opportunity for me.”

Stewart will compete in the Repsol Superstock class on Thursday, March 4th. In Superstock only very limited preparation is allowed under AMA rules. The Yamaha R1, in the hands of Yamaha factory riders Jamie Hacking, Damon Buckmaster, Jason DeSalvo and Aaron Gobert has shown itself to be the fastest bike in the class during pre-season tests, but factory riders are also entered by Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda (via the Erion satellite team in the latter case) in a class that is expected to be the most hotly contested of the four AMA championships.

Stewart’s ride in the AMA Supersport race will take place on Saturday, March 6th. In this class the Yamaha R6 took Jamie Hacking to last year’s Supersport Championship. Kawasaki and Suzuki factory teams are also entered, although Honda has withdrawn for 2004, choosing to concentrate on Superbike and the new Formula Xtreme class.

A finish in the top 20 in either Superstock or Supersport would certainly be a positive result for Stewart who has never enjoyed the level of support he is now receiving and has ridden mostly at CCS level with sporadic entries at Formula USA and AMA events at Midwestern venues.

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