Motocross is in His Blood

Published in the August 1, 2007 issue of Stow Independent

By Jordana Bieze Foster

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In a sport where many competitors never finish high school, the diploma that Robby Marshall earned in June distinguishes him from other professional motocross racers. But what's really set him apart this season has been his performance on the track.

Returning ahead of schedule from a March supercross crash in which he fractured both an arm and a leg, Marshall has had strong showings in several national events this summer and is on pace to finish the season among the top 20 riders in the country. He already has enough points to finish in the top 100, which guarantees he'll be trading in his racing number 340 for one of the coveted two-digit numbers. Marshall had number 97 two seasons ago, but lost it after a disappointing 2006 season.

And as proud as he is of that high school diploma, the newly minted Nashoba Regional graduate admits that wrapping up his education has positively impacted his racing. In the month of June, he finished 19th at a national competition in New Berlin, NY, and won two New England races.

“It's way easier without being in school,” Marshall said. “It's actually quite an accomplishment in motocross to have graduated from high school, especially a public high school, but it's great now that I have the entire day for training.”

The key to Marshall's continued success will be for him to stay healthy. His orthopedist is Dr. Bill Morgan, who is best known for the unorthodox surgery he performed on Curt Schilling's ankle prior to the 2004 American League Championship Series—but the Sox pitcher's bloody sock is nothing compared to the litany of injuries Marshall has already endured. In addition to the broken arm and leg from earlier this year, for which he was hospitalized for two weeks, he's also had two broken ankles, two broken wrists, a torn rotator cuff and multiple torn ligaments.

But in motocross, injuries come with the territory, and Marshall has made a point of working as hard at rehabilitation as he does at training on the track. Told in March that he wouldn't walk for six months, he met that goal within five weeks and was racing again less than three months following his injury.

Born into a family of motocross racing enthusiasts who have built a supercross-style outdoor track in their back yard, Marshall got his first four-wheeler at age 3 and his first scaled-down motocross bike at age 4. At 5, he was racing.

“It's all fun until you turn 5,” he joked. “No, it's always been fun. It's in my blood – I have to thank my mom and dad for that.”

Marshall still lives in his parents home in Stow, but, like most recent high school graduates, is starting to think about leaving the nest—at least for part of the year. His current plan is to train in Florida during the winter—including supercross season, which begins in January—then come back to New England for the motocross season. Although he doesn't yet earn a salary, his racing team, Chaplin Kawasaki, does cover all of his racing expenses so any money he wins in competition is all profit. He also gives private motocross lessons at Crow Hill Motor Sports Park in Templeton, MA, to earn extra money.

“I seem to have kind of a knack for it,” he said. “My dad's always taught me, so I guess that's where it comes from.”

Eventually, when he retires from racing, Marshall hopes to run a motocross track. But, barring any career-ending injuries, he's not planning to stop racing any time soon.

“It's not a bad thing to be able to do something you love the most, and get paid for it,” he said.

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Copyright 2008 Jordana Foster – 24 Kirkland Dr, Stow, MA – Email: – Fax: (815) 346-5239