Garrett Marchbanks has been racking up titles throughout the course of the spring nationals, proving himself to be one of the top contenders in the B class this year. The Utah native earned the 250 B championship at the eighth annual Daytona RCSX as well as a second place overall finish in the 450 B class. Marchbanks contracted the flu a couple of days prior to the JS7 Freestone Spring Championship, but he powered through the sickness and fought his way to a title in the 450 B class with a pair of first place finishes. The Team Green Kawasaki rider is looking to build some positive momentum and add to his title tally heading into the Cal Classic this upcoming weekend at Pala Raceway. We caught up with Garrett to chat about the beginning of the 2017 season, sending outrageous wall jumps at South of the Border, and get the lowdown on his butt patches.
You’ve started off the 2017 season with a couple of titles throughout the spring nationals. Are you happy with where you’re at heading into the rest of the season?
Ehhh, I’ve been workin’ pretty hard this year comin’ into ‘17 and I’ve been happy with the championships that I’ve been coming out with. Daytona was pretty good, I had some bad last motos there. I came into Freestone with the flu and just struggled a little bit from that. I’m finally gettin’ over that, and yeah...I’m pretty excited for Cal Classic and hopefully I’ll get some championships from there.
You managed to come away from the RCSX at Daytona with a first in 250 B and a second in 450 B, how’d the racing go for you down in Florida?
It was great. The first day was awesome, I won all of my motos. The second day I went into the championship motos and got nicked on the handlebars comin’ into the second turn, so I had to come from dead last to like fifteenth or somethin’. The other ones were good -- I won the championship in 250 B and almost got the 450 B title, but Carter (Halpain) has been riding really well.
You were in the Schoolboy 2 moto at Daytona when it started downpouring in the middle of the race — it was actually so bad they delayed things afterwards, how difficult is it to push through those conditions when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for it? Did you even have time to throw some roll offs on?
I’m not much of a fan of the roll off system; I struggle on eyesight with that sometimes. I’m more of a fan of tear offs and when I went out there I packed twenty-one on there. We practiced mud a lot during the week, so I was pretty confident in myself going into that moto.
What did you think about the track at the RCSX? You guys are riding on the same track as the pros, but it ends up being quite a bit different by the time they change things up from one day to the next.
The track design is really short -- that’s the thing that’s disappointing about the Ricky Carmichael race; they shorten it up a lot. I got hurt last year with a broken wrist, but the year before that in Superminis, there was only four turns I remember. We could ride the stuff that the pros ride -- maybe tame it down a little bit for the little guys afterwards - but it’s a bummer that we have to watch that track and then they tame it all down for us. This year was good on Saturday, but Sunday it seemed like they kinda just let it go afterwards. We were hittin’ the plywood on the start, so...
Freestone was a week of ups and downs for you as you were battling flu-like symptoms throughout the week of racing. You still managed to come away with the title in the 450 B class, are you content with how the week went in Texas?
No, for how hard I pushed all week -- like the first couple of days I was a little nervous just how I was handling it. By the end of the week I was getting a lot better and I knew that I was the fastest, it was just hard for me to push like that the whole time. So, when I got the hoelshot in 450 B, I knew that I could just run away with it.
When did you start feeling sick heading into Freestone? Is that sort of a side effect of all the traveling and everything, and how does that affect your preparation for a week long race?
No, we were training at South of the Border and it was a race weekend and then practice started (for Freestone) on Tuesday. We went to the race and it was super cold the past few days -- we were out there riding in the weather like that, and it was just really hard on us. From there I started feelin’ pretty bad and then I got sick the day before we flew out to Freestone, so that’s when I knew I had the flu from there. We were really confident from killing it at Daytona and with being the fastest one there, but I could only last three laps out of a seven lap moto. My arms and legs felt like jello or like noodles almost, and I couldn’t do anything about it. So, it was just kind of like survival mode from there, just trying to hold onto the bike.
There were loads of different conditions throughout the week of racing at JS7; dry, dusty, windy, rainy, hard-packed, rutted — it seemed like the track was different every moto. Do you have to make a lot of changes to the bike to try and keep up with the changing conditions or is it just something you kind of ride through?
I just kinda ride through it, I’m not too picky of a person. We never changed tires -- I usually just run the the 32 or the 3. Whatever I practice on is what I race on, and that’s what I feel comfortable on. I was really happy with the bike that week and it handled really well. I’ve been getting bigger on the 250, so we changed suspension; I didn’t like the heavier springs, so we went back to the softer ones, but besides that it was pretty good.
You’ve been putting in motos at SOB throughout the offseason, how long have you been training there and what do you like about the facility?
The facility’s awesome. I’ve been here for almost two months now and everything’s great; the facility is great, the trainers are great. They maintain the track very well and groom it everyday. You’ve got Brandon Hartranft, Jerry Robin, Freddie Noren, and Justin Cooper’s out there every once in awhile. It’s a good group out there and when it comes to summertime everyone will be there, and it should be really good.
How is it for you being able to train regularly with established professionals and A riders?
Yeah, me and Brandon especially ‘cause it’s just been us two mostly -- we push each other pretty hard through the week. We’re usually about a second from each other and it’s like if one person cuts a second off then you’ve got to cut that off, so we just keep getting faster almost every other day and it helps us out a lot.
I saw a couple videos on your instagram of you sending some insane wall jumps at SOB. Is that just a way to keep your training fun, push yourself to the next level, or what?
A couple of the first ones that you see on my instagram were in Nevada at a WORCS race that they had out there, and I just get tired of rolling stuff and gettin’ bored with it, so I just like to see how far I can go. I saw that they built one out at SOB for the qualifier out there; I was rollin’ it and I kept smashing into the face of the tabletop, so I was like “Y’know, I’m gonna try this jump.” So, I just gave it all that my bike’s got and I made it all the way onto the tabletop, I almost made it all the way over!
Is anyone else jumping those or have they decided to jump them after you did?
No, they actually tore it down so no one else would do it. They said it was too scary and they didn’t want anyone else getting hurt, so they tore it down.
So, you were setting a bad example for all the youngins out there and they had to shut it down?
Yeahhhh, I guess I was, haha!
You had two of the coolest butt patches I saw at spring nats. Tell me the story behind ‘The Yeti’ and the ‘Clifford’ butt patch.
The Yeti was ‘cause I was called ‘Manchild’ on mini bikes and when I won the Baja Brawl last year, Kevin Kelly just started calling me the Yeti -- they said “I ain’t no manchild anymore.” So, it just kinda stuck with that. Then I was riding in California and my old mechanic, Hayden, was with me and I just liked my red set of gear -- I always wore red gear, and he started calling me Clifford the Big Red Dog. So, we decided to get a butt patch of that with my red gear and it stuck.
Are there any tracks on the professional circuit that you haven’t gotten a chance to race that you most look forward to competing at?
I dunno, there’s a lot of them that look really good. I think Southwick is one that I really look forward to. I love the sand -- I dunno, I’ve ridden sand my whole life and when I trained at Club MX.
What’s your preparation been like for Cal Classic back at SOB?
I’m feeling really good now. Our main focus was to just get over that flu, which we did. We finally started getting some good training in and some good starts in -- it’s actually cement out there and you don’t see too many nationals any more with cement starts besides Oak Hill. They don’t have any cement starts out here, so we’ve just been doing them on the sidewalk. We’re feeling really good right now and I’m pretty confident.
Who would you like to thank for helping you out?
Kawasaki, Monster Energy, Pro Circuit, Fox, Scott, Leatt, Dunlop, Hinson, Maxima, SOBMX
/ Words /Images / Lake Kilpatrick
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