James Stewart was perfect the last time he ran a full motocross season, becoming the second rider to win every race.
Since then, he's battled injuries and shifted his focus to Supercross, leaving his outdoor bike parked in the garage.
Now, after four years, one of the most successful riders in motocross history is ready to make a much-anticipated return.
So what if he doesn't have a team. Stewart said he was going to race outdoors this season and is sticking to his word.
"It's not all about the money to me," he said. "I love racing and that's why I'm here; I want to do it."
Stewart has been one of motocross' biggest stars, winning races in bunches while becoming the first black racer to win a top-class motor sports championship in the U.S. He's been the star of a reality television show, "Bubba's World," and has a charisma, not to mention a feast-or-famine approach, that draws fans in.
A three-time national champion -- two in Supercross to go with his perfect run in '08 -- Stewart has the most wins all-time in the 125/250cc class with 28 and has 16 more in 450.
His return this weekend at the Hangtown Classic outside of Sacramento, Calif., has generated a huge buzz and given the sport a giant boost with defending motocross champion Ryan Villopoto and former champ Chad Reed out with injuries.
"It's hard to put into words having the guy we all call the fastest man on the planet back," said Davey Coombs, vice president of the Lucas Oil Motocross Championships. "He spent three years concentrating on Supercross and had lost his appetite for outdoor racing, but, man, watching him go fast is astonishing."
Stewart will be taking on his first full motocross season in four years without the support of a team.
The 26-year-old from Winterhaven, Fla., signed with the motocross arm of Joe Gibbs Racing last year with an eye on four-wheel racing down the line.
It didn't work out like either side hoped.
Stewart won a pair of races with the team, but struggled with the new Yamaha, which has a new chassis from the 2009 model he rode to 11 victories.
Though he didn't have a problem with the team, run by Gibbs' son, Coy, Stewart felt it was best to break from the team because the new bike wasn't a good fit for his riding style despite numerous attempts to adjust it to him.
So, after just seven months with the team, Stewart left JGR and signed with Yoshimura Suzuki Racing a few weeks later. But since that deal doesn't kick in until 2013, Stewart will race this summer without the support of a team. He's not exactly riding for free -- he's getting support from numerous companies -- but it is a little bit of a different scenario for a rider who's been one of the best in the world.
"For me it's kind of cool," said Stewart, who still would like to hook up with JGR to race cars sometime in the future. "To be one of the top guys, to be someone who's maybe supposed to win a championship this year, I'm ready to go."
And go he will.
Since he started, Stewart has had an all-or-nothing mentality, either winning or wrecking while trying to in seemingly every race he's entered.
It's a fun style to watch for fans, but it can be painful for Stewart, leading to as many wrecks as wins.
He suffered a broken wrist in his first season in Supercross in 2005 and went through a slew of injuries, missing the 2008 Supercross season with a knee injury and just one outdoor race in 2010 because of a wrist injury.
Stewart had a concussion and a broken hand during the Supercross season and doesn't figure to back off the throttle once the outdoor season kicks off at Prairie City OHV Park on Saturday.
"When he wins, he wins big and when he crashes, he crashes big," Coombs said. "If he solves the crashing thing, like he did when he won every single moto in 2008, these guys are going to be in trouble. But that was four years ago and there are a lot of guys who have gotten a lot faster and they're not going to hand it to him, that's for sure."
Win, lose or crash, Stewart is ready for it.