Marshal Weltin is making it happen in 2022. Coming off a shoulder injury, he had minimal time to whip a supercross program together this year, yet he showed up for 250SX East and started making mains regularly. He ended up getting into the main in six of the eight races. Then, since Steve Matthes was hosting his big-money Yamaha LCQ Challenge in Denver, he made his way out there to participate…and while that race was postponed a week, Marshal decided to try racing the 450 class on his 250 in Denver, and he made that main event too! A week later he grabbed some money in the Matthes race, then made it into the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Showdown main event on Saturday, also.
Last weekend Marsh drove to Iowa and swept all of his races at the Justin Brayton Shootout at Riverside Raceway. After he that, he loaded his van back up and headed to California to get ready for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Marshal rode a Yamaha YZ250F in supercross but is switching to a GasGas 450 for motocross. Marshal is originally of Michigan but does his living and training at ClubMX in South Carolina. He’s actually spent most of his summers racing in Canada, so we haven’t seen much of what Marshal can do as a privateer on the U.S. tracks. We’ll see soon. We called him last week for an update.
Racer X: Marshal Weltin, you’re like an old-school racer. The bounty hunter. You did supercross this year and you did well, but you also show up at these big money local races and take the cash. That’s what you did at the Justin Brayton Shootout over the weekend.
Marshal Weltin: If there’s money on the line, someone’s gonna go get it!
Are you going to tell us how much money you made or are you going to pull a Kyle Peters in Arenacross, and not really say? [Laughs]
[Laughs] KP is so shot! He’s just got six-figures racking up in the bank account! [Laughs] For real, here, I’ve raced this race the last three years, and every year they make me add up all the money from all the classes I raced, even 25 plus, and total it all up for a big check. Then they write how much I made on it. So I think it was $4100 for the weekend.
And this is just old-school packing up the bike and heading up?
Last two years were kinda old school, but this year I planned it out a little bit more. This year I bummed a hotel off of Phil [Nicoletti]. Yup, we shared a king bed!
Yeah, it was a little rough. Better than my van, though. So we did that. Old school money races. I raced 12 races in two days, and I think I did 120 laps when you add in all the practice and everything. Me and Sean Ulikowski and my buddy Bucket, we convoyed out there from South Carolina. Then once we were there, I realized there’s no sense driving all the way from South Carolina to Iowa, then Iowa to South Carolina, and then South Carolina to California. So after the race I just trucked it to Cali, from Iowa.
Yeah so, you’re in California now. This is a “Stopwatch Nationals” day in California. You’re heading to Glen Helen on a Thursday?
Yeah, I’ve been mentally preparing for it! I’ve never done a “Stopwatch National” ever, I’m an East Coaster.
Wow. But you’ve ridden Glen Helen before?
I have, but never Thursday right before the nationals.
So you’re racing all the rounds this summer? Privateer in the 450 class? How are you doing it?
Got a few pretty cool people in my corner. A lot of the same people from supercross SRS and Huron Appraisal Services. Had some more people jump on board with Mobile Powersports, that’s a new E commerce website from Traverse City, Michigan. They’ve helped out big giving me expenses to get to the races. Also Dirt Bike Depot is on board, and SKDA graphics and Andiamo restaurants. I think I’ll have a full-time mechanic for the summer, I’m working with a guy back east, and I also have a guy who is going to help me while I’m out here. I can’t quite afford to put up a mechanic for room and board for the weeks while out I’m here, but while I’m out here I’ll find a way to put it together.
Where are you staying right now?
Darian Sanayei’s house. We’ve lived together the last couple of years. In Europe we stayed together, and then last summer in Canada we were teammates. We’re good friends.
I was thinking that. You guys were the American MX2 and EMX guys.
Yeah. He’s a good dude.
I heard you have mentioned a retro theme with your bikes this summer?
Yeah, we came up with the idea with SDKA and John Kuzo. Since it’s the 50th year of motocross, our theme is going to be a retro bike kit every weekend. You’ll have to see what’s coming up for the weekend, it hasn’t been released yet. We’re going to try to keep it as original as possible. SKDA, he done a good job coming up with ideas.
Okay so you’re racing 450 outdoors. Every year, some guy who we’re not thinking about, a privateer on a 450, starts crushing it outdoors. It usually starts around halfway through the year. Last year it was Coty Schock. What is in the back of your mind? How well do you think you can do? Because we have seen some privateers get some really solid results outdoors in the 450 class.
I kind of have the same approach as I did in supercross. I just want to see where I’m at coming into it. I’m behind the 8-ball, training wise. My bike setup is coming together, I feel like I’m in a good place, but I don’t have any expectations for the first three round. Hopefully by round four or five I start turning it up. I’m predominantly an outdoor rider, it suits me well, but I’ve never made a full push at all these races. Two 35-minute motos back-to-back is something you can’t overlook! I think everybody knows that. I think everyone out there understands how large that task is. I think I’ll be in a good place. Like you said, I think I can put it some good results by the end of the year. I need to stay healthy and just progress each week. I can’t ask too much too quick.
Let’s talk supercross. Until this year, you had not even raced much supercross, right?
Yeah, these darned shoulder injuries plaguing me. So in 2019, coming into round four, I came into that race having already dislocated my shoulder. Then I tried round four and it was done. Yeah, I didn’t have that much experience with supercross, and I didn’t do good with it. Yeah, not a lot [of experience] racing it, I had tried a little bit before I did the Europe thing. I’ve definitely practiced and prepped a good bit, but I had not done a lot of racing. This yeah was the first year I made all of the rounds, and I was really progressing, I felt like I was racing the track instead of just being out there doing the jumps. It was nice to have some aggression and actually feel like I was racing out there.
You made a bunch of 250 main events in the east right off the bat, and that’s when the field is full. Were you surprised it started out so well considering how little you had actually raced supercross?
The prep came from ClubMX. If I didn’t have that none of this would have been possible, they really set you up for success. I had minimal time coming in because I had shoulder surgery in September. I probably only had three to four weeks of supercross riding coming into the first East race, and that’s probably why my results continued to get better as the season went on. It was nice to just stay healthy all season. I didn’t have any expectations and I didn’t know where I would be. I didn’t have any pressure, and I think that helps me. Everyone who supports me, they don’t really expect any specific thing out of me, they want me to do my best. Whatever happens, happens, and let’s just have a good time with it. That’s life as a privateer, I guess!
That’s funny you say that. On the outside I always notice, the fans think you guys are so depressed because you’re not making the big money and you don’t have the best bikes. But when you go talk to the privateer guys, they’re having more fun at the races than anyone!
[Laughs] I need any sympathy from anyone! You should have a good time, that’s why you’re there. I’m not making any money, I went into the red in supercross even after the PulpMX race, I’m still in the negative. You spend a lot of money to race, I have a lot of expenses. I don’t view it from a financial standpoint. I know I have a limited shelf life in racing. If I don’t make it, if I don’t get that big contract, I feel like I don’t have anything else I’d rather be doing right now than racing. So, I’m happy with how everything is going. Also, my bike is really good! Actually, that’s probably one of the reasons I don’t make any money, I put a lot of money into my bikes! Twisted Development built the engines, my bikes are really fast. I hooked up with Art of War suspension for outdoors, and my bike is handling really well. I sunk quite a bit of money into the setup, chassis and suspension, and I think it’s worth it. I think that can help you get through the year. When your bike is good, you’re not asking too much out of it, and you can stay healthy.
Bro, did you have on your list coming into 2022 that you would make a 450 main event on a 250? Did you have that on the bingo card?
[Laughs] I always thought that it would be cool to just race the 450 class. I ride with Freddie Noren and Cade Clason quite a bit and we’re really competitive in practice laps. I’m like, Cade just got tenth! I know it’s always different when it comes to race time, but I wanted to try it and I just wanted to make the main. That sparked it when the entries in the 450s started to drop off a bit. Then they had the PulpMX race in Denver, so I was already there, so why not try it. Shoutout to Steve. If he didn’t have that race in Denver, I wouldn’t have tried the 450 class.
The 450 night show and main event pays better, too, right? So you ended up making the 450 main in Denver, they delayed the Pulp race but ended up holding it again the next weekend in Salt Lake City. So you got to make money two weeks in a row.
I know! Between making the 450 main, then the Pulp race and then the race in Iowa, I’ve had a decent four week run to make some money back.
Okay, your buddy Phil Nicoletti is hurt right now, but his arm is knitting back together. He will be back for some outdoors, but you will have a head start. Do you think you can take him when he comes back?
Phil is so tough it’s not even right! He enjoys suffering more than anyone else I know. It is nice to see his arm is coming around, it looks really good. He is so disciplined. He doesn’t miss a gym workout, cycling, riding, anything. I think, honestly, he ran himself into the ground a little bit toward the end of SX. That paid off, he was really putting in some results there. But I think he took a little time off with this injury, to kind of mentally reset, had some fun. I think he’ll have a refreshed mindset coming into outdoors, and he’s motivated again, you can see it in him. I think he'll be tough come the East coast races. He’s always good on those East Coast tracks.
So you’re heading to the Stopwatch Nationals. Is the goal to not get landed on or show everyone what’s up?
I do have a couple things I have to test with Art of War. When I raced in Iowa, I was able to feel some things, the bike felt a little high in the rear, on the entrance of turns. So I haven’t thought about speed at all, I’m just trying to get my bike more fine-tuned. That’s the way I approached it in supercross, instead of thinking about the races, I’m thinking of the tasks I have to complete and the things I have to do, and then the races fall into place. Today, I’m not worried about speed, I know I’m going to get my ass kicked.
You’re not going to be on the side of the track waiting on Anderson or Tomac, waiting to pull in behind them and show everyone you can hang?
[Laughs] That’s literally the last thing I’m planning to do!
Okay pretty cool. Putting the privateer program together.
I actually wish I could have gone back to Pennsylvania this weekend to race the Dylan Slusser Memorial. That pays good money. Once the fall hits I want to go to Baja Brawl, Kroc in New Jersey, The Travis Pastrana Shootout, Muddy Creek Top Gun Showdown.
Bro, you’re racing 12 months a year.
I gotta make my money back!