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Marshall Mania

Three brothers — with the help of their grandfather and father — dash through the sand to four class titles

April 19, 2023 (Originally from April 2023’s edition of American Motorcyclist)

By Keaton Maisano

They say good things come in threes, and for the Marshall family, the notion certainly rings true.

The Marshall boys, Joel, Micah and Caleb, have followed in both their father and grandfather’s footsteps — or, better yet, tire tracks — and taken to riding and racing motorcycles. In 2022 the brothers proudly represented their family name by collecting four class titles in AMA District 37 desert racing.

“At the beginning of the year it seems like it’s not possible,” Zach Marshall, father of the boys, said, “and at the end of the year, you’re not sure how it all came together. But it’s impressive to see.”

Zach Marshall picked up his love of riding from his father, Ray Martin. A professional flat tracker in the ’70s, Martin grew up in a Southern California home that was next door to AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bob Hannah, whose father helped Martin learn to ride.

Martin’s passion has since been passed down to his son and grandsons.

“[Zach and I] rode the desert a lot and had a lot of fun sharing that,” Martin said. “He has three kids, and even at an early age, they’re learning how to use the tools, learning how to deal with reality, climb mountains and do all kinds of things.”

Joel, the oldest boy at 11-years old, is described as the analytical one of the bunch. His approach to riding helped him claim the 65 Senior Advanced class title, but it is his approach every day that helps him be a good role model to his younger siblings.

“It’s not really me being a teacher, because my dad’s always teaching us,” Joel said, “but to be like an example for what’s going on and show how it’s done.”

While 10-year-old Micah has followed his brother’s lead, he has done so to the beat of his own drum. A natural talent with an abundance of confidence in his riding, Micah avenged a runner-up finish a few years back by winning the 65 Junior Beginner and 50 Senior classes in 2022.

“It was cool [to win],” Micah said. “Last year I got No. 2 and that wasn’t cool.”

The youngest brother at 7-years old is Caleb, and while he might be the smallest, he does not lack a competitive spirit, winning the 50 Junior class in 2022.

“He’s quiet but extremely competitive, and he’s constantly chasing his big brothers,” Zach Marshall said. “He definitely likes to tease them along, like, ‘Hey, I think I’m faster than you were when you were seven. Pretty sure I could beat your 7-year-old self.’”

While the boys love the thrill of race days, it is their willingness to work and ability in the garage that shows their maturity and commitment.

“As far as tuning and working on dirt bikes, that’s on the boys,” Zach Marshall said. “If they test on the weekend and they say, ‘My carburetor feels a little sticky,’ or ‘My spark plug needs to be swapped out,’ that’s important for them to take care of.”

With another year comes more growth for the three boys, who will participate in desert, grand prix and flat track racing along with the trail riding they do.

And with further development and opportunity, there are likely a lot more No. 1 plates in their future.

The Marshall family standing with the boys' dirt bikes
From left to right Zach Marshall and Ray Martin (Top); Caleb (7) Micah (10) and Joel Marshall (11)(Bottom)