Unsung Hero: Ronnie Stewart

Unsung Hero Ronnie Stewart

April 28, 2015 3:00pm

With the still-new East Rutherford supercross and a 250 East Region Championship garnering most of the attention heading into last weekend, there was a somewhat unexpected element that actually stuck out: the Ronnie Stewart fans. Stewart didn’t become a main event regular until late last season, but in New Jersey, the privateer brought an entourage that trumps anything from the biggest factory stars. We caught up with Stewart after he finished sixteenth in his final supercross race of the season.

Racer X: Last year we saw so many Ronnie Stewart fans here. Would you say there are more this year? It looked like there were more to me.
Ronnie Stewart: Yes, there were in my section alone—my immediate family, friends, and fans—there were 350. Last year it was 118. It nearly tripled. That was just in our immediate section that we had, so that was really cool. It was a bit of mixed emotions. Definitely overwhelming to see so much support and everybody having such a good time and rooting me on. It was a special event, definitely.

You live in Pennsylvania, but I heard you grew up in this area?
There’s been a lot of different talks! I was born fifteen minutes from here in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. My whole family is from West Paterson, West Milford—all the surrounding towns around here. Since then we’ve been moving west. I spent most of my life in central Jersey, and now I live right over the border in Pennsylvania. Technically, now I live in east Pennsylvania, but it’s only an hour and five minutes from here and I spend most of my time in New Jersey. Although my physical address is Easton right now, I definitely would say that I’m from New Jersey.

So were you getting hit up for tickets left and right? How did all these people get here?
It was a huge effort made by my mom and my sister Nicki. They organized the whole thing and got the tickets and t-shirts. It was definitely chaotic, but they pulled through. I really appreciate them doing that because it definitely is pretty cool how so many people were there supporting me. It was definitely tough to organize it all. It was over $14,000 worth of tickets [Editor’s note: Ronnie later confirmed the exact number, $15,050], so it was difficult to collect all the money and make the payment, but we were able to pull it off and that was really cool.

Stewart's East Rutherford finish was his highest of the season.
Stewart's East Rutherford finish was his highest of the season. Photo: Cudby

That’s pretty impressive! What’d you think about the day-time format today?
I really enjoyed the format. It was really fast-paced. Personally, I’m not much of a night person, so it was really nice to race during the day. I’m always a little bit tired at night, more so than during the day. So it was a benefit for me to race during the day. Now that we’re finished up early, it just makes packing up and everything a whole lot easier. I could spend some time with my family and friends that are here. All in all I liked that we were racing during the day.

Talk about your races. How’d it go today?
The races went pretty well. I started off on the wrong foot. I got a bad start in my heat race. Whenever you get a bad start, you’re buried in the back of the pack and you’re not racing how you want to race. You’re not attacking the track how you want to attack the track and hitting the obstacles that you want to. So I started off on the wrong foot. I ended up going down and then building my way through. I finished sixth in my semi. Then, in the LCQ I was able to get second. So, that was good. The main goal was to get into the main event. I believe I ended up sixteenth place in the main event, so I will definitely take that. That’s the last race for me in 2015 supercross. Definitely looking forward to the outdoors. This race was my last race with Team Dirt Candy, so I definitely would like to thank them for all the support that they gave me to get me to where I am now. I’m definitely looking forward to the sponsors that I do have and building my own program moving into the outdoors. It’s very exciting. I’m going to have a big transition to make starting now. Definitely looking forward to it.

Are you going into outdoors as a full-on privateer?
Yes, for the most part. Right now I actually don’t have much in place as far as bikes or suspension, but we’re going to work really hard this week and next week and see if we can put something together for the outdoors. We for sure will be there; it’s just a matter of how prepared we’ll be at the beginning of the season. But I’m confident that we can pull through and make something of the season even if it’s the last half of the outdoors.