JEREMY MARTIN INTERVIEW: HEADED TO THE 2020 DAYTONA SUPERCROSS WITH MOMENTUM
While his nineteenth overall, and drop to sixth in Championship points may not look great on paper, the Atlanta Supercross did have some positives for Jeremy Martin. It was where the Millville, Minneapolis, native took his first Heat Race win since his injury. After spending a year and a half away from the races, Jeremy started riding again late in the summer of 2019 and he did a couple offseason Supercross races in 2019 on a 450. Now, Jeremy is back in the 250 class and chasing after wins in the 250SX East Coast series. We wanted to catch up with the Geico Honda rider before one of his favorite races, the Daytona Supercross. Jeremy Martin has been very successful there in the past. He earned his first SX podium at Daytona in 2013 with a third, he placed 6th in 2014, 3rd in 2015, 1st in 2016 and second in 2018. Jeremy also made his 450 debut there on a Factory Honda 450 in 2017 and finished a remarkable second place. Jeremy hopes to see the checkered flag first this Saturday at round ten of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series.
By Jim Kimball
JEREMY, YOU WON YOUR HEAT RACE IN ATLANTA, AND WERE LOOKING GOOD. WHAT HAPPENNED IN THE MAIN? It was round three for us 250 East guys, and I was feeling like I definitely had more comfort on the bike after making a fork change during the week. So, I was really happy about that. The track was pretty tough in practice, and I ended up being the sixth fastest guy. I did not expect to be that far off the board. But then just lined up for the heat race and got the holeshot. I was able to just really turn the whole day around from that point on. I was in a great position, even in the main event to get a podium finish, and had some bad luck happen.
TALK MORE ABOUT YOUR CRASH IN THE MAIN, WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENNED? I was just kind of waiting behind Shane (McElrath) and RJ (Hampshire), and I was going to put in a surge at the end of the race because I tried earlier, and I was just not able to get them. They were definitely going pretty fast. I came around and there was a chuck hole that was developing from after the single, so we jumped the inside single in the sand section over the hole. I went a little further right to calculate for it, and unfortunately, I did not realize that RJ landed on the tough block and dragged it out. So, it was just enough for me to go down. I went down pretty hard and it was game over from that point.
YOU HAD TO BE JAZZED UP FROM THE HEAT RACE WIN.Yes, for sure. I got the holeshot, it was the first lap that I led in a long time. I was pretty excited about it and threw the hammer down for a little while. Then with two laps to go, I just rode it into the finish, it was a pretty cool feeling. Even though it was a heat race, it was cool to win the heat race because I think I only ever won maybe three heat races in my career. It was a good feeling for sure. I even did a little fist pump on the finish line for the heat race. It just got me all revved up for the main event to really go out there and overcome the odds and try to get a win or get a second, and better my first round with a third.
UNFORTUNATELY, WITH A SHORT SERIES LIKE THE 250 SUPERCROSS SERIES, A BAD FINISH PUTS YOU IN A BIG DISADVANTAGE DOESN’T IT? For sure, if you break it down, Jim, what happened is literally like out of my control. It was not anything I did wrong. It was not anything like I jumped on the tough block, it was just there on the track. It would have been close, but it was literally out of my control. It was just the racing situation. I was riding the best I probably rode all year, so you just walk away and continue to focus on what you can do better for race day.
FROM WATCHING YOU RACE I WOULD SAY THAT YOU LOOK LIKE YOU NEVER MISSED A BEAT, HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU’RE DOING? I feel pretty good. I don’t quite have the racing fitness or the fitness I used to have but that will come around. My fitness is already better than it was at round one and will just get better as the season goes on as well.
THE WAY THE SERIES LOOKS AT THREE ROUNDS IN, IS THAT CHASE SEXTON, SHANE MCELRATH, RJ HAMPSHIRE, AND YOURSELF ALL LOOK LIKE YOU HAVE MAIN EVENT WINS IN YOU, WHAT DO YOU THINK? Definitely, I feel like the four of us, the names you just mentioned are probably the most solid looking right now that could potentially come up and get a win on any given Saturday. Granted, obviously, there has only been two winners so far, Chase and Shane in the first three races, but that can change. Jordon Smith and Garrett Marchbanks will get better as the season goes on, and they could close that gap. But definitely as of right now, I think that there is four of us that could potentially win on any given Saturday.
CAN YOU TALK FOR A MINUTE ABOUT RYAN DUNGEY LEAVING THE GEICO HONDA TEAM? Ryan being a part of the team was a huge deal, it was a huge tool to have to be able to have someone that has won so many championships, and had so much success, simply doing what I am trying to do and win races. To have a guy that was very recently racing and was very successful doing it was great. It is definitely a bummer deal he left the team. But I understand business is business and he has to do what is best for him. I know if I ever needed any help or if anyone on the team ever needed any help, Ryan would be a phone call or a text away.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DAYTONA AND THE NEXT COUPLE OF RACES. At Daytona, I developed a decent reputation. I feel like Daytona is where to people expect me to win just due to my style and me being a little more of a bulldog and aggressive. Its tailored to my riding style, and is a little longer of a race, so fitness plays more of a factor. The goal is to win there, even with not having won anything so far in the first three rounds. Even if my first win after my injury comes at Daytona, which is more of a hybrid between Supercross and Outdoors, I will still take the win. At this point in the series, I’m so far down the Championship and it’s such a short series, it’s pretty much gone for me, unless something crazy happens to Chase or Shane. Still for me, it is just about trying to capitalize on race day and get as may wins as possible every Saturday.
ARE THERE OTHER STADIUMS YOU LIKE OR DON’T LIKE?I have had some bad luck at Indy Supercross, I crashed out in the main many times. But I got my first win there with Geico Honda in 2018. To be honest, Jim, you have your highs and lows, but I won at Atlanta before and look what happened this year; I was in fourth place trying to get on the podium and went down and ended up in nineteenth place overall.
ONE FINAL QUESTION JEREMY. YOU HAVE DONE A COUPLE RACES SINCE YOUR INJURY, BUT WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING BACK IN A SERIES? It is really nice to be back. It is really nice to do something that you are extremely passionate about, motivated to get up for, and get better every day. I lived a life basically for two years where I really did not have anything to get out of bed in the morning for and be excited about. Obviously, I had the recovery and rehab, but that was just to be able to be put in a position to swing a leg over a motorcycle. Now, all of that hard work and everything of trying to get ready for the season is finally starting to pay off because I can actually race on Saturday and I can try to capitalize on the opportunity of when the main event gate drops.