Shortly after a sodden nine-lap main event clocked in at 12m21.321s of elapsed time, 17 year-old Monster Energy Supercross Series rider Garrett Marchbanks of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team found himself standing alongside winning teammate Adam Cianciarulo on the podium at rain-lashed Petco Park in downtown San Diego, California.
“Garrett, first full year in supercross, at San Diego in the mud, he loved that,” said team mastermind Mitch Payton. “I didn’t realize he liked mud so muc,h and he was excited about it. He pulled his goggles off in the second turn and then rode the whole moto without goggles and never had a proble,m and just kept going, going and going. He rode a fantastic rac,e and that was really cool and inspiring and confidence-building for him.”
Eight races in and with an averaging finishing position of 12.1, the native of Coalville, Utah finds himself 10th in points with only this Saturday’s race at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas remaining. And it’s been a strong first year run for the No. 61 Kawasaki KX250F rider. Often running well inside the top 10, Marchbanks has done well for himself in ’19, and with the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series poised to begin, things just might even get better.
Q: Your rookie year in the Monster Energy Supercross Series is nearly complete. What’s your take on your first year as a supercross racer?
GARRETT MARCHBANKS: My year so far? I think it has been pretty good. There could have been some better races on my end, but besides that, we’ve taken all the good from it and I’ve tried to make the most of it. I’ve just tried to keep learning. I’ve been happy with it so far.
Q: Beginning with Sacramento and the Hangtown National last May, you ran in five Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 events. You placed in the top 10 at Hangtown, Glen Helen and Thunder Valley before a few injuries put you on the sidelines. Did those races, as well as the top 10 scores that came along with them, inspire confidence?
GM: Yeah, I went and did five rounds before I went out and got hurt at RedBud. It was awesome, and I was pumped with most of my results.
Q: How was it to line up in Angel Stadium for your first 250SX race? Over the year quite a few racers have told me A1 can be pretty intimidating and overwhelming when you’re a rookie.
GM: Yeah, it was definitely overwhelming for me. I was pretty nervous for the first race, but after I got sixth place in my heat race, that worked pretty well just for chasing the butterflies out. It was cool to be one of the first guys from Utah to make a main event. That was pretty cool. And it did live up to the hype that I had expected. The hype for it was bigger than I thought. I’ve participated in the Monster Cup before, and it was even bigger than that. It was all pretty cool.
Q: You placed ninth at round two over in Phoenix. A good race for you?
GM: Yes, it was. That race was a pretty big eye-opener for me just because of the starts. In the outdoors you can start around 15th and kind of move your way. I think I started around 16th or 17th place in Phoenix and only worked my way up to the ninth. That was a really hard one for me. It was just a battle from ninth place to 10th place to 11thplace. It was just a constant battle between three of us. and I was able to kind of get away from those dudes.
Q: You placed 21st and eighth at Anaheim 2 and Oakland respectively, but then bounced back in the rain and mud of San Diego to finish a remarkable second overall to your teammate Adam Cianciarulo. If you could talk about the San Diego race a bit?
GM: Yeah, San Diego was a good one. I’ve always been a huge fan of the mud. That’s what I always trained in when I lived in Utah. When I saw the mud, I was just so pumped for it. I knew I could have a really good night. At first I didn’t think I was going to hit the podium for how bad my start was in the main. I remember on the first lap and only two turns into the main, I ripped my goggles off because I just couldn’t see through my roll-offs. During the race I just never even looked at the pit board during the race, so I was just kind of going with it. I remember looking up after I crossed the finish line and looked up and saw that I had finished second, and that was really cool. I just didn’t expect that.
Q: And I know Ivan Tedesco, who has been doing a lot of testing and R&D work for Mitch and Pro Circuit, has also been in your corner and helping you out a lot this year.
GM: Yeah, Ivan and I have been working together on and off the track. It’s been working really well. Ivan helps me out a lot.
Q: How is it working with Mitch Payton, your mechanic Colter Ahrens, and the rest of the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki race team?
GM: It’s definitely different than the amateur scene. You’re not really around the team that much, so it was all pretty new to me last year in the outdoors. It was all pretty new to me, but after the second round, I got used to it. And all the guys around me on the team are all really positive. We don’t train that much together, but with Adam [Cianciarulo], we ride out at the track together every other day. It’s been pretty good. My teammates are awesome and they’re really cool dudes.