Martin Davalos is a unique character who has competed at the top of the sport since his first professional race, nearly netting a top-10 finish in 2006 at Round 7 in St. Louis, Mo. The likable racer left his home in Quito, Ecuador as a teenager to follow his passion for racing dirt bikes. The racer brought with him a fearless will to jump out ahead of the pack whether qualifying times told him he had the pace to remain there or not through the full race.
But the young man's will was strong, his talent developed, and he gained the pace. He turned his efforts into five wins in the 250SX Class of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, the undisputed top level of such racing. He managed two wins in 2014 and earned the runner up spot in the series. He would go on to finish on the podium 24 times and inside the top five at 46 races in the class over his 101 career starts. He owns a place in the sport's record books for having the most starts before that first win in the 250SX Class, at 55, and sits second in total class starts in the division.
Davalos had recently transitioned into the 450SX Class and was holding his own against the best racers in the world, being awarded the 2020 450SX Class Rookie of the Year award by the American Motorcyclist Association and landing seven top-10 finishes and one top five finish in his 33 starts in the premiere class.
Davalos was considering retirement at the end of the 2021 season, which wraps up this Saturday, May 1 at the second of two races being held at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. But a top racer's team obligations stretch beyond performing on race day, and at a recent Media Day event on Friday before the first Utah race, Davalos crashed. The event was a chance to preview the track in front of local and national media showing fans what they could expect at the upcoming race. Unfortunately, the story for Davalos was a broken collarbone and a concussion. The injuries would require him to sit out the penultimate round and surely the final.
So Davalos made the tough call that every professional athlete faces and dreads. The day to officially hang up his boots and step away from the starting line. It wasn't the way he had planned, but the racer with the big heart and welcoming smile from the small Latin American country didn't have much convention to his career, so why have anything conventional surrounding his retirement?
The amiable racer is sure to remain a fixture at the races. He's delivered results for several of the top teams and it's not unlikely to see him find a support position at one of them, perhaps sharing his unique journey and experiences with the young racers entering the sport today. Like all aspiring athletes at the top of a sport's competitiveness, it's always a benefit to have someone who's won at the highest level in their corner.
Feld Entertainment, the promoter of the Monster Energy Supercross series, wishes Martin Davalos a speedy recovery from his Media Day crash and another long and successful career in the sport through his next ventures. We'll miss you, Martin… See you soon!
450SX Class Results from Round 16, Salt Lake City, Utah
1. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
2. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM
3. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
4. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha
5. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda
6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
7. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna
8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
9. Dean Wilson, Murrieta, Calif., Husqvarna
10. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
450SX Class Championship Standings after 16 of 17 Rounds
1. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (362)
2. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (340)
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (312)
4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (273)
5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (249)
6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna (236)
7. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (230)
8. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (218)
9. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (208)
10. Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., KTM (190)