Malcolm Stewart has been out of action since round two of Monster Energy AMA Supercross in Glendale when he went down hard in the whoops and sustained a broken femur. Stewart was a surprise of the early season, running in second for the opening 11 laps at Anaheim 1 before going down and showing great speed in Glendale before his crash.
Now, almost four months removed from the crash, he is excited for the 2020 supercross season (he will not be racing the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship). He just got his medical release that will allow him to throw a leg over his bike soon and last weekend in Vegas he signed a deal with SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda that will bring him back to the team for the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.
Our Steve Matthes caught up with him on the PulpMX Show earlier this week. You can listen to the conversation here.
Racer X: It’s been a long time since we’ve seen you on the track. Looking forward to doing it again. When do you start riding?
Malcolm Stewart: Actually I just got my release papers, so I should be good to go next week.
That’ll be sweet. You can’t wait, huh?
No. I’ve been wanting to ride since the day I got hurt.
Congratulations on the new deal. We’ve talked about you going into this year and you had two years of trying to figure things out, what you were doing, teams that were not ready to go at the start of the year and teams that weren’t as good as they wanted to be. Then of course you got hurt. Did they come to you? Did you go to them for 2020? What transpired for you to want to stay there?
I like being on the team. Everybody’s been great to me, treated me no different than anybody else on this squad. It’s just one of those things that I’ve enjoyed working with everybody. Vince [Friese] was my riding partner. Obviously I got hurt. I think the team was more proud of me with all the dedication I put prior, before the season, like the training and the way I was riding. We went to A1 and had a decent result. Then obviously I got hurt, but I think it was more like the team just wanted to give me another shot and be nice. So we talked some things out and obviously I didn’t even know I had a contract or anything. They just kind of came up and did it. I was signing autographs at Vegas and next thing I know, bam. They dropped it right in front of me. I was like, okay, here we go.
Did this really happen in the autograph line?
The good news, it was more like it just said my name. It was pretty cool. I think the surprise was cool. I couldn’t be more happy. It kind of took some relief off my shoulders so I’m not back in a situation where I’m scrambling for a ride last minute or anything. I can actually just know that I got a motorcycle. All I have to do is just focus forward.
How is the leg? How is the healing? A hundred percent? Are you good to go? Did you lose a lot of muscle? How much side effects from the injury are you going to have, or did you have? Did everything heal okay?
Yeah. From the first time I did it, it was a little tough just the movement and everything. Then obviously my trainer, Gareth Swanepoel, Doc G., everybody started doing everything they can to help me get back. So for me, it was just going through the process. I didn’t see too much. It was weird because I was working so hard, so I didn’t really see the results until like every Sunday. I’d work six days and then, bam. For the longest time I couldn’t get it to bend. I couldn’t even get it to spin around on a bicycle for the longest. Then how I actually got it to spin one day, I would go as far as I can and then when I went to go step off the bike, I spun it on accident. And yeah, I laid there for a while. But I feel like I’m back to a 100 percent. I haven’t rode a motorcycle yet. For sure, strength is going to occur once I start back riding. The good news is the team doesn’t do outdoors and I have nothing but time to get ready.
This whole supercross season has given us guys a lot to talk about with Cooper Webb winning and Dylan Ferrandis and Adam Cianciarulo, of course, this weekend. Let’s start with Cooper Webb. Can you believe he’s the 450 supercross champion? Seriously?
Cooper’s always been a great rider, from when he was a little kid and coming up. Whatever he did from last year to this year, it fixed it. A lot of people didn’t expect Jason Anderson to win last year either. A lot of people obviously banking on [Eli] Tomac to win everything. You never know. I think that’s what’s cool about our sport is you never can bank on one guy winning. There’s always somebody else coming up. It ain’t no [New England] Patriots sport, which is cool. It’s always good to have the mix. I think this supercross season kept all the fans on their feet. You never knew who was going to win. I think it was cool.
Did you watch every round? Are you one of those guys? Or are you one of those guys that you want nothing to do with it? You just want to read about it and move on with your life?
Let’s just say Saturdays were my worst days, if that’s what you’re asking. I watched. Of course I’m going to watch. I had my teammates there, so why not? I’m obviously there cheering them on and as well as training with Gareth Swanepoel and stuff. I had the 250 team to cheer for. So of course watching that. Then obviously for the Lites [250SX] thing, it was one of those things I was definitely bummed. Me and Adam are close, so to see that happen, I could definitely see the whole crowd’s faces. They were kind of down. But that’s racing, man. That’s just bottom line. That’s how it is. Vegas is one of those rounds that you can’t sleep on it.
If you’re Adam Cianciarulo—you’re a racer. Do you let this just kind of overwhelm you for a couple days and back to work? Or is this something that motivates you to win the outdoors? What’s it like, do you think, for AC?
If you’re asking me “Did he sleep Saturday night?” No. He didn’t. Losing a race hurts, and losing a championship hurts even more. It’s kind of one of those things obviously it didn’t affect Joey Savatgy. He came back and he had a great season this year. Two years ago that got taken away from him in a corner, less than 50 feet [from the finish line]. For Adam, it’s just one of those things that he’s a great rider indoor or outdoor, and he knows that. I think it’s more just focus on outdoors. But it does suck to lose it like that, for sure. Absolutely.
That would be really tough. Maybe he’s motivated to kick ass in the outdoors, right?
Yeah. If anything, I’m actually more proud of him and how he had his program. His whole program changed. As a rider and how his attitude is, I think that’s what made him a champion. Putting himself in that situation. He had some bad crashes earlier in the season. Put himself back in there. He had Houston winning the [first] Triple Crown [race]. So overall the kid did everything he can do. In my book, I think you should be more happy looking from last year to this year, you crushed it. At that point you just got to look at the positives.
After Vegas, what did you do? Did you go out at all? Where’d you go? What happened?
I played some blackjack. Lost. Vegas never lets me win, ever. Only thing I’ve won is a championship there and that was it. Other than that, the casino never lets me. I feel like the dealers don’t like me. They know when I get to that table, I’m going to take this guy’s money. Once I get past $500 I just walk away from the table sad.
Did your injury keep you from fishing, or were you okay?
I spent most of my time out there [California]. I just figured fishing isn’t going to make me any money. My priority is to get this leg back as fast as I can. Got to set the priorities straight. I went fishing one time out here on a Sunday, but other than that I haven’t really fished at all.
Do you eventually have to get that rod out of your femur? Is that what happens eventually, or do they leave it in there forever? How does that work?
Obviously I talked to the doctor and it’s kind of one of those things you have the option to take it out. A lot of people do. Some people leave it. I’m half in on it. I just don’t want to get put back under. I don’t want to do it again. I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to worry about that time when it gets there, and hopefully we never get there again.
Are you lined up in the fall? Is it too early to talk about Bercy, Paris, Geneva, and all that stuff, or is it too early to go there yet?
I am going to Montreal and of course Monster [Energy] Cup. I’m sure I’ll be going to either Bercy or Spain or Geneva. Everybody loves me over there. I love the organization. For me it would be cool to go back again, for sure.
When Mookie goes to Europe, he’s a big deal. People love Mookie. I don’t know if they think he’s James. They really love him. I love the fact that you will pose with people. You will talk to them. You’re not scared to go around and meet people. You have a great attitude. I think it’s awesome. You’ve really built yourself a following there.
For me, I’m a people person. I just like enjoying myself. That’s what it’s all about, to have fun. You got to make memories of it. I know when I sit back when I get older I can always be like… I don’t want to sit and be like, “I wish I did this, I wish I did that.” I’m doing everything I can and having fun with it. I’m enjoying myself. I’m even more stoked now I just got my release papers. Now I can finally ride a motorcycle. I was at the gym talking to the boys and I was like, it has been a long time but it hasn’t been forever, but to me in my mind it feels like I haven’t rode in five years.