Chesterfield’s ClubMX To Field Strong Contenders In SuperMotorcross Openerby Hunter Thomas September 7, 2023 0 comments
CHESTERFIELD, S.C. – ClubMX that’s based in Chesterfield, S.C. is going all out for this weekend’s first-ever SuperMotocross World Championship playoff race at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.
If you aren’t familiar with ClubMX, it’s a motocross training facility that’s located in the hills of Chesterfield County in South Carolina. The club has more than a decade of experience competing on the highest level of professional dirt bike competition. This weekend at zMAX Dragway, the club will have three drivers competing at zMAX Dragway in the opening rounf for the SMX World Championship, and they include Garrett Marchbanks (450cc), Phil Nicoletti (450cc) and Preston Kilroy (250cc).
“The sport is broken up into two categories,” said team manger, Mike Bonacci. “Supercross, which runs in the winter and Motocross, which runs in the summer. Supercross is traditionally indoor stadiums, and Motocross is outside in a big field, basically.
“What they’ve done is tried to blend the two for these last three rounds, which they call the playoffs, and they call is SuperMotorcross, and so what that is, is the tracks are a combination of some Supercross elements and some Motocross elements. Heading into Charlotte, it’ll be the first race ever for a SuperMotocross race. In terms of the track and how it’ll race and stuff, will be interesting because it’ll be the first time anybody has set foot on one of these style tracks, which I think it pretty cool.”
One major advantage ClubMX has is that the club can try its best to recreate the zMAX Dragway course on its property. ClubMX has an incredibly experienced staff with decades of expertise, and it also has the equipment to carry out the unusual task. In fact, ClubMX is one of the largest facilities in the country. That being said, not only are the club’s riders conducting R&D work on the course, but the mock track is open to other pro riders as well.
“We have the ability at ClubMX that we have actually built what we think is going to be the track that we’re going to see in terms of a SuperMotocross track,” Bonacci said. “So, we have actually built on our property, something similar to what we’ll race on this weekend, and that’s what the guys have been training on for the last few weeks.”
Garrett Marchbanks is the only ClubMX rider locked into a main event. He’ll be competing in the 450cc race. He enters the weekend seeded in 12th; however, he will not have to worry about a LCQ. The Coalville, UT native finished out the PRO Motorcross Championship sixth in the standings.
“His trajectory has been upwards for the last few years of which now, he has been competing for podiums every week on the circuit,” Bonacci said. “Very competitive guy. Very fast guy. He kind of leads our team pretty much, especially going in to these SuperMotocross Playoffs. Twenty-two-years-old. Good kid. Outdoorsman. But really good on a bike. He’ll be the one to watch in the main event.”
Phil Nicoletti will have to race through the 450cc LCQ to make it into Saturday’s main event. The 34-year-old is one of the older riders in the field, but he’s entering zMAX Dragway coming off of a seventh-place finish, which was earned at Ironman Raceway. The Cochecton, NY driver has quite the fan base cheering him on as well.
“Phil is going through the LCQ process, but Phil is one of the elder statesmen in the sport. He’s 34-years-old, but still rides really, really good,” Bonacci said. “In fact, his last moto of the season was his highest finish of seventh-place out of 40 guys, which is pretty damn good. Phil is very competitive and very much looking to fight his way into the main event. Phil is probably one of the most popular guys in the sport.”
Preston Kilroy is ClubMX’s lone 250cc competitor in the SuperMotocross World Championship. He’ll also have to battle his way into the main event through the LCQ. He just barely missed out on being locked in as he’s ranked 21st in the PRO Motocorss standings; however, SuperMotocross only locks in the top-20. That being said, he’s riding the wave of momentum as in his last moto, he finished in 15th out of 40 drivers.
“Preston is a little quieter of a guy, but at the same time, he’s very competitive. He also had his best finish of the year last week at Ironman (National) two weeks ago. Ironman, the last outdoor event, he finished in the top-15 out of 40, so he’s peaking at the right time for this SuperMotocross Playoff.”
The stakes are certainly high in the SuperMotocross World Championship, and every club wants their driver to be the inaugural champion. No club has clocked laps around zMAX Dragway, so there’s no one with an advantage, but that doesn’t mean there’s no apprehension among the paddock. The one really great aspect to the weekend for ClubMX is that zMAX Dragway is just over an hour away, which is by far the closest venue.
“The good thing is no one has been to it, so that’s a plus,” Bonacci said. “It’s close to home, which is also a plus for us. I wouldn’t say as excited as I would anxious. Anxious is probably more the word of we really want these two guys to make it into the main event, and that’ll be the initial focus, you know, working with them to make it into that main event.”
The SuperMotocross World Championship opener at zMAX Dragway will broadcast live on USA beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will also be available on Peacock at 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Photo Credit: ClubMX