When Things are Clicking a First Win Seems Easy
Success takes dedication and hard work, and sometimes the best make it look effortless. Young athletes with potential burn out, blow up, fade away, or transition into also-rans more often than they rise to the top. But sometimes those breakthroughs are closer than we know. Such was the case on Saturday night inside Daytona International Speedway. It wasn't a NASCAR race, or anything on four wheels, and it didn't even take place on the famous trioval. This breakthrough happened on a brutal Supercross track carved into the famous speedway's infield.
At the 50th running of the Daytona Supercross, a sophomore racer with zero wins and only a single podium finish in the series made history. His name is Garrett Marchbanks, he is only 18 years old, and he made it look easy. He joins the few racers to mark their first Supercross win at Daytona. Another notable rider who went on to big things who scored his first Supercross win there: Travis Pastrana.
At the beginning of the race program this past Saturday night, in the second 250SX Class Heat Race, Marchbanks won his first heat race. It was a major step in a Supercross racer's career. An hour and a half later that same night, Marchbanks launched his Kawasaki race bike off the steel-grate starting line and onto the Florida soil. Twenty one other riders did the same thing, but Marchbanks did it better this night and emerged from the first turn with the lead.
Two of the sport's bigger names tangled in the fifth corner, allowing Marchbanks to gap the field by over two seconds. In most stories like this, the more established racers quickly overtake the fledgling near-rookie, but on this night Marchbanks rode like a hero. He maintained over a two second lead until the very end. The 250SX Class races run for 15 minutes plus one additional lap once the race clock is expired. As the race clock closed in on :45, the current points leader and defending champion, Chase Sexton, pulled up on Marchbanks's rear fender and applied the pressure. In most cases the young rider would succumb to nerves, exhaustion, or mental fatigue. Marchbanks did none of those things.
With eight seconds left on the clock Marchbanks and Sexton charged down the rough front straight and over the official lap-scoring line. They would have gotten the white flag had they crossed the line those eight seconds later. Instead, Sexton was gifted two more laps, approximately two and a half minutes, to force a mistake or find a line around the less-experienced rider. But Marchbanks held strong. When he took the checkered flag he pumped a fist in the air then rode up the famous Front Stretch of the Daytona banked course and lit up a huge burnout for the fans.
Everything's different now for Marchbanks. He knew he could win – but now he's proven it. Not only to himself, but to his mechanic, his team, his sponsors, and the thousands of new fans he picked up from his performance. Marchbanks made it to the next level. He is a Monster Energy Supercross 250SX Class Main Event winner. He can rest on that accomplishment for only six days, because this coming Saturday the racers line up again, this time inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.