Craven was born in Ilford, Essex in 1915. He had a trial for Norwich Stars in 1937 but was rejected by Max Grosskreutz. After practising at the Dagenham track he was spotted by his childhood hero, the former Wembley Lions rider Colin Watson, who took him to Wembley for a trial, after which he was signed by Alec Jackson. He was loaned to the Birmingham Bulldogs for whom he finished the season as top scorer, returning to Wembley in 1938 where he initially rode at reserve, establishing himself in the top five by the following year. The war interrupted his speedway career and he joined the Merchant Navy. When league racing resumed in 1946 he signed for West Ham Hammers, staying with the club into the 1950s.
In 1947 he rode in Australia with the England Test team. He was part of the England teams that toured Australia in the 1951-1952 Test series. In 1952 he captained the England team against Scotland.
Craven was a qualified pilot, flying to speedway matches on occasion.
- Morgan, Tom (1947) The People Speedway Guide, Odhams Press, p. 76
- Storey, Basil (1947) "The Boy Who Carried His Hero's Leathers" in Speedway Favourites, Sport-in-Print, p. 12
- "Two New Stars for Speedway", Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 1947, p. 11, retrieved 2012-02-04
- "Showground Riders", Sydney Morning Herald, 10 November 1947, p. 8, retrieved 2012-02-04
- "UK Men for Speedway", Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 1951, p. 10, retrieved 2012-02-04
- "U.K. Rider to Rest", Sydney Morning Herald, 3 January 1952, p. 7, retrieved 2012-02-04
- "Malcolm Craven - Taught Himself to Fly Plane", Evening Times, 28 May 1952, p. 8, retrieved 2012-02-04