Although he has not enjoyed the type of success that fans expected him to, the spotlight is often placed on Malcolm Stewart purely because of the fact that he is the younger brother of James Stewart. Despite this, the hype surrounding Stewart has lessened in the past year, as we have seen fewer flashes of raw speed and fewer big crashes. Malcolm has seemingly improved in the final handful of rounds in the 250SX West series, as he has started to grab some headlines again.
I have to wonder if his results have suffered this year, because of the pressure that has been placed on him. Just a couple of months ago, the JDR J-Star KTM team (that Malcolm is a part of) revealed that they would not be heading outdoors. So whilst he was attempting to put in some solid results in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, he was also trying to sort a ride out for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross championship. Despite his good results during the final few rounds, Mookie is still shopping around for a ride for the remainder of the year*.
Right now, it sounds as though Malcolm will be hitting selected nationals as a privateer on a bike that is yet to be decided. I think that it would be interesting to see him jump onto a 450 and mix it up in that class. Obviously the younger Stewart brother is a bigger guy; surely this has hindered him slightly throughout his career on a 250f. Despite this, he has enjoyed a bit of success aboard the smaller bike; for instance Malcolm won a heat at Salt Lake City over a week ago now.
In my opinion, the penultimate round of the 250SX West series (Salt Lake City) was the best race of Malcolm’s professional career. Stewart finished up in fourth in the main event along with his heat race win. Although Malcolm has finished fourth a couple of times in the past, I think that Salt Lake City was the best that he has ever ridden. Although he didn’t match that season best finish at the Las Vegas finale, he did post another solid top ten result (a seventh) in the west coast main event. Stewart then followed that performance up with a ninth in the East/West shootout.
I found it astonishing that Malcolm Stewart landed in the top ten just four times throughout the 250SX West series. Although he is known as being slightly inconsistent (does that remind you of another Stewart?) he is a rider that should be comfortably inside of that top ten at most rounds, if not all of them. When Malcolm ventured into the professional ranks, it was presumed that he would grow out of those crashes and inconsistent results; however he still has not shaken that trait.
I would presume that it is that trait that is putting some teams off hiring Malcolm Stewart. It can be counteracted with multiple wins, however. But Malcolm has never landed on the box at a professional event, so he has not really proven that he can do that yet. When the 250SX West series concluded Malcolm finished in ninth, one spot behind his rookie teammate Joey Savatgy. Although, it was not what he would have expected at the start of the season, in the final two rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series Malcolm Stewart proved that he could potentially be a podium and race win contender in the future.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of KTM Images/Simon Cudby
*UPDATE: It now seems that Malcolm may end up on a Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda as a replacement rider for the injured Christian Craig. Christian will now miss the entire Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series after injuring his wrist in Las Vegas. So if this were to come true it would be a good fit for both parties, as they are both looking for something that will last the remainder of the year. Reports suggest that Stewart is currently testing the Honda out in California; so unless there is a major issue, you can expect to see the younger Stewart brother on the team at Hangtown.