ShareFacebook MySpace Google Twitter
 
SUPERCROSS / MOTOCROSSS
 

Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team

The Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team was founded by Coy Gibbs, son of NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Joe Gibbs, who has won three Super Bowls, three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championships and four NASCAR Nationwide Series Championships. The team debuted Jan. 5, 2008 in Anaheim, CA., at the opening round of the AMA Supercross Championship.

The fledgling team had only modest goals for its 2008 rookie year, with more aggressive plans for the future. Even so, the innovative new entry to action sports garnered a substantial amount of media attention and was fortunate to have Toyota and Yamaha back the effort right from the start.

Josh Grant was hired on for 2009, and exactly as they had done in NASCAR, the young team won the first race of just its second season at the AMA Supercross Championship season opener on January 3, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Grant would go on to capture the team’s first motocross win later that year on July 4 at the Buchanan, Mich. round of the AMA Motocross Championship Series.

Justin Brayton joined Josh Grant in 2010, and immediately served notice by winning the Bercy Supercross in Paris, France prior to the start of the regular season. Unfortunate injury hampered the team during the 2010 season. Grant suffered a crash just before the start of supercross, forcing him to sit out the entire series. The team hired veteran racer Michael Byrne to substitute for Grant to insure its sponsors received the exposure of two bikes on the track. Brayton, in his premier class rookie debut earned his first Supercross Class podium at the Seattle Wash. round on April 24 with a third overall finish, and finished the series an impressive fifth overall.

Just prior to the start of the AMA Motocross Championship Series it was Brayton who was injured, missing the first few rounds with fractured ribs. Both riders were healthy for X Games 16, and on July 29 in Los Angeles, Grant and Brayton took both the Gold and Silver Medals respectively in the highly publicized Super X competition.

Brayton would go on to earn a podium finish on Sept. 4 at the Delmont, Pa. round of the motocross series. He then captured two podium finishes during a visit to the Monster Energy Australasian Supercross Series (third overall at the Newcastle round on Oct. 16 and third overall at the Canberra round Oct. 23) in Australia before winning the Launceston, Tasmania round on Oct. 30. Brayton strung two consecutive wins together by following his Tasmania performance with a win at the 25th annual Geneva Supercross in La Voie de Moens, Geneva, Dec. 3 – 4 making 2010 the best year of his career.

From the inception of the team Davi Millsaps had been one of riders Coy Gibbs had wanted to hire, and in 2011 the then 22 year-old from Tallahassee, Fla. accompanied Justin Brayton in contesting the AMA Supercross and National Motocross Championship Series. Millsaps ran the number 18, the first number run by Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR 22 years ago and currently on Kyle Busch’s M&Ms and Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry. Millsaps, who claimed nine amateur national titles, a Lites East Supercross Championship (2006), and numerous podium finishes including wins in the premier class, brought new expectations to the team. Millsaps was recovering from major injuries sustained during the summer of 2010, and as he gained strength and endurance he started to show his speed.

Justin Brayton stormed into the 2011 supercross season winning his heat race. He posted several top-five finishes in route to ninth in series points. He sprained his ankle at the last round of the supercross series forcing him to miss the first four rounds of the AMA Motocross Championship, even so, he fought his way to a seventh overall in series points.

Millsaps had four top-five finishes and finished eighth in AMA Supercross. He earned a second overall at the Wortham, Tex. round of the AMA Motocross Championship, and led nearly the entire first moto at the Buchanan round before injuring his knee, which required surgery forcing him to miss the remaining rounds of the series.

Millsaps returned to the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team healthy and fit for 2012. The team also announced that the signing of multi-time champion James “Bubba” Stewart to the family. After a few months however, it was mutually decided that Stewart should pursue other opportunities and leave the team. Stewart had earned three podium finishes and two wins in the 11 races he was with the team. Millsaps delivered in Stewart’s absence having the best supercross season of his career in the premier class. He earned five podium finishes and claimed second overall in series points.

The Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team brought up a young privateer, Gavin Faith to ride Stewart’s bike starting at the Seattle round of the series. Faith’s best finishes were 14th overall at both the Salt Lake City and Las Vegas rounds.

When the racing moved to the outdoors and the AMA Motocross Championship Series began the team recruited another young privateer to ride Stewart’s bike, Kyle Regal. Regal’s best finish was a 13th overall at the Budd’s Creek round of the tour. Davi Millsaps struggled with injuries throughout the outdoor nationals. He missed several races, but still managed two top-five overall finishes and ninth in series points. 

Familiarity was the theme for 2013 as both Justin Brayton and Josh Grant returned to the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team. “I am excited to be back, it’s like a family at JGR and the bike is really good,” said Brayton. “Justin always gives 100% and takes great care of our sponsors, we are glad to welcome him back to the team,” commented team owner, Coy Gibbs. Brayton celebrated his return almost immediately winning the Genoa Supercross in Italy, placing third at the Bercy Supercross in France, and winning the Geneva Supercross in Switzerland prior to the 2013 season starting in America.

“I have kept in touch with Coy and the guys since I left, and am really comfortable with everyone there. I know these guys work hard and along with Yamaha have a lot of resources behind the scenes, I am excited about being back at JGR,” said Grant upon his return. “Grant will always have a special place with us after winning Anaheim and Red Bud his first year on our team,” said Coy Gibbs. “He has a ton of talent and we are excited to have him back,” added Gibbs.

The highlight of the 2013 season was Justin Brayton’s Gold Medal performance at X Games 19 in Los Angeles, Calif. on Aug. 3. Brayton won the event in front of a worldwide audience in dramatic fashion with a last lap pass to take the win. In supercross Brayton scored 11 top-10 and one topfive finish for eighth in series points. Grant earned a top-10 at the second round but then suffered an injury causing him to miss the remainder of the series. In motocross, Brayton earned three top-ten and one top-five finish claiming 11th in series points. Grant had three top-10 overalls, a top-five and an overall podium at the Red Bud round in Buchanan, Mich. He was 10th in the series. Grant also earned a top-10 overall at the 2013 Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas, Nev.

For 2014 JGRMX is proud to announce that the team will support Phillip Nicoletti, a determined privateer, in a new developmental pilot program. Nicoletti, who hails from New York but has been training not far from the team’s North Carolina headquarters appears to have the potential to race as a professional but has lacked the resources available to top-tier teams. Nicoletti will be part of a new endeavor that will offer him an opportunity to showcase his talents, while simultaneously giving the team immediate access to a replacement rider familiar with its equipment should one of the two primary team riders suffer an injury.

Supercross and motocross are the original extreme sports offering unparalleled excitement to fans. Unfortunately, this equates to frequent injury. JGRMX began a trend of replacing injured riders early in the team’s history rather than just fielding the remaining rider, as the sport has done historically. This was done because JGRMX is a sponsor-driven operation, rather than one fielded by an OEM, and JGRMX wanted to insure its sponsors received the visibility promised.

Typically when a substitute rider is needed the season is in full swing and finding a rider is difficult. In addition, the rider must adapt to the new bike and team immediately, which can be challenging. JGRMX, along with Thomas Fichter, CEO of N-Fab, and Dr. Maresca, of St. Lawrence Radiology, have teamed up to provide Nicoletti with an opportunity to practice and ride on full factory-backed equipment, and be ready in an instants notice to substitute for Justin Brayton or Josh Grant should either of them be required to miss an event due to injury. He will race at least six events under the JGRMX tent alongside Brayton and Grant. When Nicoletti is riding as a third rider to the team, he will display slightly different graphics on his #38 YZ450F than those of the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team, highlighting N-Fab’s and Dr. Maresca’s support of Nicoletti’s efforts. Should he ride as a substitute for Brayton or Grant, he will have the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team graphics package. Nicoletti’s first race is expected to be the Atlanta supercross on Feb. 22, 2014.

The 2014 effort will once again be led by Jeremy Albrecht, the team manager since the inception of the program. Prior to becoming the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team manager Albrecht was one of the most successful tuners in the history of the sport, earning 11 major titles with multiple riders. Albrecht is looking forward to a successful 2014 racing season.

The team is unique in that it is not based on the west coast. Housed within 150,000 square foot Nationwide Series operations building just down the street from the Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup headquarters the team has a wealth of resources and engineering acumen at its ready disposal. The Sprint Cup complex is a 144,000 square foot building that has areas open to the public for visiting, and sponsors often use the banquet and theatre areas for meetings and employee gatherings. The engineering and CNC machine fabrication capabilities lend themselves to the team’s ongoing research and development advancements. State-of-the-art on-site custom designed engine and suspension dynamometers provide endless opportunities for refinement and testing new innovations.

Recently the team began a new retail engine and suspension performance initiative that led to an amateur support program that just in its first year yielded numerous amateur national titles. Currently the only professional team in the U.S. utilizing Pirelli tires, the team has become a distributor for the brand at the amateur national races and runs a support program including a website accepting sponsorship applications. This area of the organization is growing rapidly and in addition to providing an additional source of revenue, offers a meaningful connection to the motocross lifestyle in addition to being a racing team by connecting and interacting with enthusiasts in a way that directly impacts their personal motorcycling experience.

Historically motocross teams have been fielded by motorcycle manufacturers whose primary goal was to sell product to consumers and enhance their brands through racing, exactly like NASCAR was 15 years ago with automobile manufacturers. Much like the NASCAR teams of today, the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX Team’s focus is on creating exposure and value for its sponsors, both endemic and outside of the motorcycle industry. Coy Gibbs sees the future of motocross following in the footsteps of NASCAR, with independently owned manufacturer backed teams fueled by the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs and funded by outside of the industry main stream sponsors eventually becoming the norm rather than the exception.

www.jgrmx.com




Josh Grant


Josh Grant


Justin Brayton


Justin Brayton


Phil Nicoletti

1