“I’ve got that bulldog style, you know? It isn’t always pretty, but all that matters are the results on paper.”
10:44 A.M. Friday morning. Rochester, Minnesota coming up on my cell phone.
“That’s Jeremy Martin of the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha team calling me,” I said out loud to my dog Zoey. Back to racing tomorrow at Pala Raceway after his entire 2021 supercross season was destroyed after being landed upon 15 seconds into the Orlando 2 250SX West Supercross main event, Martin is ready to make a run at what he hopes to be his third AMA 250MX Championship.
A 17-time 250cc National winner, Martin attacks the track and the competition like no other. In excellent racing shape, confident and in good spirits, Martin, who was a fighting runner-up to eventual champion Dylan Ferrandis in the 2020 250MX title battle, can’t wait to drop the clutch tomorrow afternoon.
Q: So you’re out at Pala Raceway awaiting tomorrow’s opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. How are you doing?
JEREMY MARTIN: Well, I’m really excited about the opportunity to race tomorrow out here at Pala. You know, I haven’t done anything this year. I won a heat race at Orlando, and that was great, but what we cared about was the main event and I made it 15 seconds into the main event at Orlando and it was game over. For me, I’m really excited to be able to line up at Pala tomorrow. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to just because of the injuries that I sustained back in supercross, but I worked real hard and here I am, and we have a fighting chance to be competitive and to win.
Q: Yes, the dislocated shoulder you suffered at Orlando really came at a bad time for you. You had put in all the work and were really ready to roll in 2021.
JM: Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating. And like you said, I had put in the work and was ready. When I broke my back in 2018 at Muddy Creek I was out for a year and a half. At the same time, at least I got to race half of the year, right? I got my feet wet and got to be in that competitive environment, and I won some races and then it was gone. You know, I was there and I could taste it and it was just stripped away and I got nothing.
Q: Are you healthy? Do you feel good with where you are at?
JM: Yeah, I feel good; I feel I’m about as good as I can be. The body is as good as it is going to be with the injuries that I sustained during the supercross season. I did need a surgery, but I chose to take the gamble and just say, “I can either get it done and then forgo another year of racing and come back at the end of the year, or I can work this out and put in the work and try and make it happen and we can be competitive from the very beginning and try and win the outdoor series.” So that’s kind of what I chose to do. I just couldn’t roll over with the card that I was dealt.
Q: Being with the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha team is another chapter in your career story. How do you feel about the team and your surroundings?
JM: Yeah, I do feel good. Obviously I’ve raced for this team in the past, and one of the things I knew at the time was just how competitive it was, right? It was all of the guys battling week-in and week-out, so for me right now to come back into this environment is a big deal. I’ll tell you what, if you don’t go into that truck every weekend and you don’t feel motivated and you don’t feel hungry, I don’t know what else is gong to make you motivated because there is a lot of good guys under the awning in this truck.
Q: How about the Yamaha YZ250F motorcycle you’ll be racing? You like it?
JM: Yeah, the motorcycle is really good. I mean it’s no secret that the blue machine has some pretty good power on it. Obviously, we can use that on the starts in the outdoors, and the team has won a lot of titles the past couple of years in supercross and outdoors. I think the chassis is really good, too. The biggest thing that really blew me away from it was how soft how it felt in high speed conditions and in the traction to the ground. When I would get on the gas out of a turn, I couldn’t believe the drive I would get out of the corners.
Q: You were right there fighting Dylan Ferrandis to the bitter end in the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross 250cc classification.. Ferrandis ended up with 390 points to your 377 points and it went right down to the finale at Pala last October…
JM: Oh yeah. That was my goal. It was like, “If anyone is going to beat me, I’m going to make their life as difficult as possible.” Coming off the back injury, I think some people expected me to be good and maybe win some races, but I don’t know if they expected that level of speed and consistency from me that quickly and throughout the entire season.
Q: Have you been able to ride out at Pala Raceway much the last couple of months?
JM: No, so I probably rode there a handful of times – probably about five times or whatever. I like to do my work in private, and I’ve been doing that back in Minnesota and riding some different tracks now since early, early spring. Nonetheless, I’ve rode quite a bit now and I kind of know what to expect there, and the biggest thing is the speed, right? It’s a high speed track, and a lot of guys will be going pretty fast because Pala is kind of the backyard track for them. I think if we can be in there and we can be fast and we can be consistent and then we take the series to Thunder Valley in Colorado and then back East, I think we’re going to see a couple people and the cream of the crop rise consistently ever weekend. Those will be the guys, you know?
Q: Who do you see yourself having to fight every week over the 12-rounds?
JM: Man, I tell you what, I see the Lawrence brothers being tough. I see a lot of guys on my team being tough, like Justin Cooper. Nate Thrasher came out well in supercross and he’ll be good. Everyone on my team is fast, and we are all on the same equipment. There are some good guys on the Pro Circuit team with [Cameron] McAdoo and Austin Forcer and [Seth] Hammaker. Then there is RJ Hampshire at Husqvarna. It’s kind of really tough to say who is going to be there. We’re going to have people there every weekend. There are going to be one or two guys we are going to be consistently battling every weekend. I guess we’ll find that tomorrow, huh?
Q: Correct me if I’m wrong, but to my way of seeing things, you just need the bad luck to subside and go away and you’re going to be right there, huh?
JM: Yeah, it’s been kind of a couple of years, you know? When you win, life is pretty easy when you’re on top. I really had a string of… I wouldn’t say bad luck, but some unfortunate things happened and I think there have been some good life lessons for me. I’ve been in the boxing ring and beat up a little. and I think one thing I have learned is to expect the uncertainties of life. You have to fight them and here we are ready to fight and ready to go for it again this year.
Q: A lot of people involved in the sport that I’ve spoken with in recent weeks see you winning this thing this summer. What do you think? Do you feel good?
JM: I do. I feel good. Like I said, the shoulder is in a pretty good spot now and it’s just about managing it all. I may not be the fastest guy every weekend. I may not win every race, but you better believe that when I line up, no matter what, no matter who is in front of me or who is behind me, I’m going to make it as hard as possible on everybody. Sometimes I do send it pretty hard. I’ve got that bulldog style, you know? It isn’t always pretty, but all that matters are the results on paper, you know?