Malcolm Stewart is 11th in the 450SX standings with four races to go in the season. (Darren Rutmanis photo)

Malcolm Stewart: ‘We’re Not Where We Should Be’

NASHVILLE — Believe it or not, sunlight has been the missing piece in Malcolm Stewart’s AMA Supercross season. It’s not a theoretical statement, either. He’s talking literal rays from the sky.

A moment to explain.

There were a handful of races in the opening stretch of the Supercross season that turned into “mudders” when the weather decided to not play nice with the series. San Francisco and San Diego were two of the three rain-plagued rounds.

“Mother Nature hasn’t been on our side this year. I feel like a lot of things that we do, the team will work really hard, get a setting, have really good confidence and then we go to the race and it’s raining and we don’t know if the setting worked,” Stewart explained.

That has made it more of a guessing game for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna squad as they’ve attempted to forge their way to a top-five finish, but so far, their efforts have only produced a handful of top 10’s.

“It’s part of racing, everybody goes through it,” Stewart said. “But for me, more so, I’m just glad to be back racing.”

The No. 27 rider was taken out of contention prior to the third round of the season due to a knee injury, so the fact that he’s still healthy and staying competitive heading into round 13 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, on Saturday is a really good sign.

Malcolm Stewart has earned eight top-10 finishes this season. (Darren Rutmanis photo)

“When you have a year off with an injury like that, you know, 10 months off the motorcycle — it’s a long time, right? And people don’t understand, you can’t just bounce back, especially depending on the extent of it,” Stewart said.

The most difficult aspect of his return this year was figuring out his race craft again — not necessarily maintaining fitness or fighting lingering effects from the injury.

Add in the bad starts, crashes and rain he’s experienced, and that explains Stewart’s 11th-place rank in the 450SX standings with four races left in the season.  

“It’s definitely been up-and-down. A lot has to do with getting back to racing, finding that flow and staying out of traffic,” Stewart said. “Starts have definitely been hurting me lately, and I’ll take full responsibility on that.”

He admitted that while a lot of it has been “wrong place, wrong time,” the main issue is he got buried in the pack too early in the season and now there’s only so much the team can do to pull themselves out of the hole.

“We’re trying everything we can to get back up there and fight for it,” Stewart said. “Adding some good guys to the (450SX) group also makes things tough as well. I mean, whether you’re winning or getting 10th, it feels like the same effort.”  

If there’s one place Stewart can find encouragement for the amount of effort he’s putting in, it’s within the walls of Rockstar Energy Husqvarna.

“The team believes in me a hundred percent, as much as I believe in them,” Stewart said. “We’re not terrible, but we’re not where we should be. I love the attitude about the team because they know that we have a lot left on the table, and it’s just a matter of time.”

That’s the very reason he showed up to Nashville this weekend — to prove himself and, hopefully, earn a result that properly rewards the team’s hard work. It’s the same approach he’s embraced for every race weekend thus far.

With that being said, Saturday’s race will still be a little unique for the Florida native.

“I’ve never raced in this stadium. This race has happened maybe two or three times, and I’ve been hurt every time,” Stewart said. “So, I’m probably more excited than anybody else in this pit to race here.”

Watch SPEED SPORT’s interview with Malcolm Stewart below.