The Malcolm Stewart Project
Action photos by Mike Emery
We ran into Tony Alessi and Malcolm Stewart on a wind-blown afternoon at Milestone MX Park last week, and it appears as if things are shaping up nicely between the former West Coast 250 SX Champion and the Motoconcepts Racing Honda team. First, we chatted with Team Manager Tony while Mookie got suited up…
Tony, how are things looking with the Malcolm Stewart project?
The Malcolm Stewart project is looking great. Obviously, Malcolm won the Montreal SX and then backed that up with a top-five finish at the Monster Energy Cup, which is really showing him to be a relevant contender for podiums and possibly race wins in next year’s season. He's stepped up his training program in a huge way, and he has already lost nearly 20 pounds. I'm getting great reports from his trainer, Gareth Swanepoel, and all of his fitness numbers are coming up. Everything is going in the right direction, and I'm excited to see what he can do next year.
Malcolm Stewart has always been a talent, but we've never really seen a super-fit Mookie…
That's true, when I first started talking to him about his fitness it was if I was speaking in another language. That's when I realized that he had never really had a fitness program, he just rode a lot. We got him in to do some fitness testing and saw where the numbers were, so we knew what areas we could contribute to fixing. If Malcolm can do that good at Montreal SX and MEC without being fit, how fast is he going to go when he is in good shape?
I know you can’t comment officially, but how is the funding for Malcolm's position on the team coming along?
It's definitely looking better, we have three potential sponsorships that are in the works right now. One is an outside industry sponsor, one is an energy drink, and the other one is an engine component company. If any one of those three comes through, his program is funded.
Obviously, he is a fun guy to have around and a pleasure to work with…
He is exciting, fun, and funny. The people, the kids, and fans love him, so we have a crowd for Malcolm anywhere we go.
After watching Stewart shred some laps aboard his MCR Honda, it’s apparent that he has gelled well with the bright red machine. We caught up with him after he took his helmet off…
How's it going Mookie?
You know, we're out here at Milestone just getting blown away.
It's never good when the "high wind warning" shows up on your phone…
Yeah, never a good thing to see that. I mean, when I unlock my phone I see a nice photo of my truck and I. I don’t know what you see when you unlock your phone, but I see greatness (laughs).
I have not seen you in about a month, and you’re looking good. How is it all going with Swanie?
It's going well. When I first signed on with the crew I felt like I was the weakest link throughout the group, but know we're hanging in there. I've already lost 18 pounds, so I feel like this is a big turning point for my program. I can wake up every morning without worrying about my bike, I have a great program going with Swanie, and obviously, I have to throw Roy's Cyclery in there for helping me out with the bikes. As far as being out here in Southern California, I definitely feel that it is the way to go for my program.
You guys are working in the gym, but also doing a lot of cycling…
Yeah, we're mostly doing road biking right now. However, we are going to start doing some mountain-biking soon; maybe do some Indian Truck Trail, Skyline, Greer…just mix it up. I just get told what to do, I just have to listen to daddy (laughs).
How does working with Swanie on a program differ from when you were on GEICO Honda with John Wessling?
I mean, they are two totally different programs, but at the end of the day they're both trainers and are good at what they do. When you have a trainer, you just get told what to do and all you have to do is follow the orders. I'm the type of person where if I don’t see it on paper I'm not going to do it, and I'll be the first one to admit that I'm hard-headed. Obviously, working with Swanie is great, and so was working with Wessling back when I was on GEICO. Things are different now that we are in the big-bike class, as we have some more competition to deal with, so I think we'll have a much better shot this year between the Alessi and Swanie program. Hopefully, we can go out for Anaheim One next year and swing it.
The one year where you really worked with a trainer and got gnarly resulted in a championship, so a fit Mookie in the 450cc class could do some damage…
Yeah, I have the speed and the talent to get it done, I just have to put the whole program together. I think that fitness was the biggest missing link for me, aside from having a secure ride. Those are two big plays right there, and people don't understand how much it takes out of a rider when they're scrambling to get a ride. It's hard to get it done when you’re behind on fitness and help. Now that I don’t have to worry about those things, I can just do what I need to do in the gym and go ride at the track. It's going to take time, but I already see such an improvement in just two months of working with Swany, so there is no saying where we will be with another two months till Anaheim.
I heard you were 20-percent body fat when you started training…
We might be able to tack on a little bit more than that (laughs). That's baby-fat, baby. I'm still young, I’m only 26.
On Swanie's program, are you still allowed to go to "B-Dubs" on 50-cent wing night?
No no, there's no more 50-cent boneless Thursday night and that's what sucks. It's sad that I know what nights are the deals, Traditional Tuesday's and Boneless Thursday's baby. And obviously, the special deals on football Sunday's, but those days are done.
Do you wake up in the morning and have a protein shake and egg whites now? How hard is it to be on that kind of program?
Let's just say when I first started putting good things in my body and sticking to the program, I was just pooping everything out (laughs). I was like, "What’s going on here?" (Laughs). It takes time to adjust, obviously everyone knows bad food tastes great and good food takes some getting used to. I found a really good program with BC Fit Meals, and they've definitely helped me out with my meals. There was a lot of things that I didn’t eat when I first started with the meal plans, but now I'm starting to like some new stuff.
Do you actually like Brussel sprouts now?
No, that's one thing I still don’t like.
How about collard greens?
With neck bones in it, absolutely (laughs).
So Tony says that it looks very promising that things are going to work out with the funding, and that we will see you under the tent…
Yeah, I look at it like nothing is promised, though. Hopefully, we can lock something down soon, maybe in the next week or so, as time is running out. However, I just can’t be thankful enough to be riding their bike currently. If things don’t work out, I won’t be racing because I have already put everything into it. There are a lot of great riders out there, and it sucks to say, but that's just how things go. It can be devastating, I mean I went through that whole time where I won the championship and then had nothing. In my mind, I didn’t want to race anymore. You work so hard to just have everything fall apart. As I said, I'm happy with where I am and all I can do is cross my fingers and hope everything works out. Either way, I can say it's been a hell of a season for me so-far with just the overseas races and working with Swany. At least a fit Mookie on the sidelines is still a lot better than an un-fit Mookie.