Notice that this column now has a sponsor? That’s right! Troy Dog joined the Blu Cru and you should too! I have one in my garage right now and I can’t wait to go shred it this summer! Thank you to Yamaha for believing in my ELITE columns on this dirtbike website enough to sponsor me. What a dream come true!
With the week off of the series here between High Point and RedBud, I figured it was a great time to visit some of the most overlooked stories of the summer. The Lawrence brothers, Eli Tomac, Chase Sexton, Ken Roczen, and Ryan Dungey headlines are definitely super important, but everyone is talking about them! Here are four riders who deserve some press.
*Note: Derek Kelley is getting his own column later this week and that’s why he’s not included on this list.
Shimoda’s stock from the supercross season to now has skyrocketed. It’s clear to see that his motocross skills are no joke and he’s starting to become Mr. Consistent. In his last eight nationals he’s gone 6-2-4-2-3-4-5-3. Not bad for a guy who had to try out for a fill-in ride. He’s now become the third best rider in the class this summer and a serious contender for race wins. If I’m Mitch Payton, I’m grateful for Shimoda because he’s currently sitting third in the standings after four rounds and is the team leader. He’s also in just his third outdoor season, so I believe he hasn’t reached his potential quite yet. He will get stronger and faster. I think he will get his first overall win at Southwick.
Going into these great outdoors I had high hopes for Muc-Off/FMX/ClubMX Yamaha’s Garrett Marchbanks. If you heard me before the season started on the PulpMx Show I called him out as a sleeper on the 450. I know, he’s got potential and that’s not necessarily the most “out there’ take, but I figured since he didn’t have much pre-season hype that I should jump on the bandwagon. So far, the “Man Child” has delivered! He’s currently sitting tenth in 450 points and he’s gone 11-11-10-9 in the first four rounds. I do believe it’s only a matter of time before he starts creeping into the top five, but his consistency has truly taken me by surprise.
I know that Savatgy is fast. That’s not the big story here. The story is his comeback from a bad injury and jumping on the Monster Kawasaki team after a split from the disintegrating Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM team. At High Point he went 5-8 for 7th overall, which is really right where he belongs. I’m surprised he’s doing so well this early on. Later on in the season I don’t think it’s a stretch that he can make it onto the podium at a round or two. This comeback is just another good story that shows the fight that Savatgy has left in him. If he can stay injury free then he’s great, so let’s keep these good vibes going. He’s 12th in points and he should get within the top seven before the season is over.
I’m going to be honest, I don’t know much about Derek Drake, yet. One thing that I do know is that he is the RM Army’s great hope in the 250 class until his teammates Carson Mumford and Dilan Schwartz return from injury. [Slaw Note: Troy is an idiot and forgot Preston Kilroy is back in action.] It’s hard to stand out in a class filled with almost 20 factory bikes, but Drake has shown some strong motos. His best finish was at Hangtown in moto 1 with a strong 13th. He also went 15-16 at Thunder Valley in a consistent showing. My take on Drake is that if he can stay finishing motos he’s going to finish inside the top 15 in points. He’s had a strong season in 2022 and hopefully he can keep it rolling.
Main image: Kawasaki