Jordan Stewart Interview
In the latest of his interviews, Ryan Nassau caught up with Aussie star Jordan Stewart:
Q: You first joined the Redcar Bears in 2018, initially what were your aims when you first landed on British soil ahead of your debut season in British Speedway, what did you hope to achieve in that first season?
A: Initially, my aim was to maintain my starting average which was 5.2 at the time. Unfortunately, I started off the year struggling and midway through the year I started to pick up my form. Additionally, I took on board some advice from people and then I took my engines elsewhere, unfortunately I didn’t maintain my average as I found things a lot harder than I originally thought.
Q: At the start of your first campaign with the Bears you struggled with finding the right set-ups for each individual track and thus you found it hard to hit the ground running, did you ever have any thoughts that your team place at Redcar might be under threat?
A: I did a couple of times actually, when I first arrived I was new to everyone including Ben Duffill and Kevin Keay and with not knowing them that well I thought I might have been in danger of being dropped but Ben pulled me aside a couple of times to tell me I wasn’t going anywhere and there was no pressure on me. Then I started to have fun on the bike and enjoy my racing which in turn helped me to start scoring points. I’m lucky that I went to such a great club in Redcar who believed in me and stuck by me.
Q: The catalyst for your turnaround came against the Glasgow Tigers when you notched a very impressive 16+1 to help the Bears defeat the Tigers 48-42, looking back does this go down as your best individual performance as a Bear to date and if not, what performance do you class as your best?
A: Yeah that meeting was probably my best so far but I also enjoyed Berwick away last year, I only scored 3 points but me and Greavsie (Nathan Greaves) got a 5-1 in heat 14 which virtually won us the meeting so that was pretty cool as well. Heat 14 has been pretty kind to me but I always ride better when I’m put under some pressure and Ben and Jade know that they can bank on me coming good in heat 14.
Q: In modern day sport loyalty is often hard to find, especially in a young sportsman. It was heavily rumoured that after your first season with the Bears that you received a strong offer from another championship club, were you ever tempted by this and did the faith shown in you by the Bears promotion early in that first season convince you that Redcar was the right place to be?
A: Obviously, I did have a couple of different offers from clubs but I had no intentions of going elsewhere in my second season. Redcar do a lot for me on and off the track and they are a massive help in my career and I am a loyal rider. Honestly, I owe Redcar a lot and I love rocking up to the track every friday and racing around the track. In my opinion, it’s the best track in the country so why would I want to be anywhere else
Q: Last season your away form improved dramatically, from a meagre 2.51 in 2018 to an impressive 5.71 in 2019, is this an area you see yourself improving again in 2020 and if so, do you have your eyes firmly set on the third heat leader position at Redcar?
A: 100% I do, this year I want to be a heat-leader, number 1 if possible. You’ve got to strive for success and now I’ve found my feet I want to really go for it this year.
Q: When the 2020 season finally gets underway you will be doubling-up by also riding for the 2019 Premiership champions the Swindon Robins, on a personal level what are your aims in your first Premiership campaign and did having two other Australian riders in Jason Doyle and Troy Batchelor help convince you that Swindon was the right place for you?
A: With Swindon I’m aiming to be a good team rider and maintain my average and hopefully improve meeting on meeting. I know it’s going to be harder and a step up riding against better opposition. With the likes of Jason and Troy you can’t get much better guidance and advice than them. I also gel well with Rosco (Alun Rossiter) and Lee Kilby (Swindon co-promoter) which is good. I had one other premiership offer but Swindon were the ones who really wanted me which really helped make my mind up.
Q: Do you think it’s important that Redcar have kept the same top 5 this season?
A: Yeah, obviously I ride with Tofty (Micheal Palm Toft) and I like riding with him as he just sits on the white line which gives me the whole track to attack. Charles likes to gate and go but the top 5 from last year really gelled well and got along well. It’s massive when the whole team gets along, we were all pushing each other on to improve and the team’s confidence was sky-high. A lot of other teams have no team spirit but at Redcar the feeling is different, everyone gets along and we all enjoy having a laugh. I love Redcar.
Q: In recent years British speedway has failed to attract the elite level riders consistently but do you believe with the recent big name acquisitions of Nicki Pedersen at Sheffield and Jason Crump at Ipswich that British Speedway is once again on the rise?
A: Definitely, like you said with Nicki going to Sheffield it will bring more people through the gate as he’s a racer and people enjoy watching top racers. With Nicki, Jason Doyle, Jason Crump and Neils Krisitan Iversen riding against each other week in week out, that should hopefully help British speedway improve. Racing in England is good for your career as the tracks are tough and it improves you as a rider.
Q: One of the many highlights of last season came in the club’s final meeting when we clinched the KO Cup against our closest rivals the Newcastle Diamonds. Arguably, you were a deciding factor in the Bears clinching the trophy with a 9 point haul despite failing to score in your last visit to Brough Park, was the miraculous turnaround in your fortunes down to a strong amount of resilience and strong mental fortitude or simply just having a better night at the office?
A: I’ve always struggled when I’ve rode at Newcastle, Brough Park is one of them tracks where you’ve just got to rock up, forget about it and ride the place hard. This time I turned up with the mentality that I’ve got nothing to lose as it was my last meeting of the season and it was a massive night for the club.