Well, things have certainly not gone to plan in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship for the Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha team. Jeremy Martin, expected to launch the team into race winning contention outdoors, is now out for the rest of the season with a brutal arm injury. Garrett Marchbanks has also struggled in his return to racing after missing all of Monster Energy Supercross with a broken wrist. Of course, everyone is going to say that Marchbanks is too big for a 250, but in 2021, Marchbanks was top-five in points in the 250 Nationals after the series left High Point (Marchbanks raced a 450 outdoors in 2022 but he was no slouch on a 250 in ’21). This year he sits 18th in 250MX points after the first two rounds, with 16th and 18th place finishes overall.
Today the team announced that Marchbanks is 450 bound for the rest of the summer. ClubMX’s main goal is to qualify riders into this year’s first-ever SuperMotocross World Championship. Marchbanks is already behind the eight-ball in 250 points since he didn’t race supercross (he’s currently ranked 55th overall in combined SMX 250 standings) and with the beleaguered 450 field right now, there are better odds for Marchbanks to stack points in that class and possibly make the playoffs.
Here’s a good read from ClubMX’s Mike Bonacci:
Even though Garrett has lost weight and turns leader-speed lap times, he cannot seem to get the starts off the grates to be up front. Sooooo, starting at Thunder Valley, he will be our first racer to enter an event on the new 2023 Yamaha YZ450F platform. You are reading that correctly. Garrett Marchbanks makes the move to the 450 class this weekend. He also got caught up in the first turn crash at Hangtown causing him to score only a few points on the weekend. Having missed Supercross to an injury, we need him to score points to make it into the SMX rounds at the end of the season. With nine events to go, he stands a better chance to do that in the main class. Having extra time to develop the new bike for competition has been beneficial and we are confident in the settings we have. How? is likely a better question. Starting Sunday night, we built and tested his race bike. Comfortable with the build, we disassembled the bike, rented an SUV, stuffed it in the back and sent the mechanics across the country to meet up with our transporter in Denver. They should arrive on Thursday to reassemble the bike and treat it like any other race weekend. The life of a ClubMX mechanic now includes road trips. I am not making any predictions for Garrett this weekend, just hoping for the best.
To give some perspective, riders need to be in the top 30 in combined AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross points to just get into the LCQs at the SuperMotocross playoffs. Derek Drake is already into 30th in those combined 450 points based just on racing the first two rounds of the Pro Motocross Championship and scoring 37 points. Drake did not race a 450 in supercross.
The top 20 riders automatically are seeded into the two-moto SMX format and can skip the LCQ. Kevin Moranz currently holds the 20th spot with 96 points.
Marchbanks was ranked 12th in last year’s 450 standings and scored 172 points in the 12-round series.
The team also indicated that Preston Kilroy will remain in the 250 class for the squad for the rest of the year, and Phil Nicoletti’s return from injury in the 450 class, is coming soon.