The 2016 season was filled with highs and lows for two-time 250 National MX Champion Jeremy Martin. The highs included race wins and being able to race alongside his big brother Alex on the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha team, but the lows included injuries and missing races, which ultimately led to losing the 250 National MX Championship to arch rival Cooper Webb. Though many expected Martin to move up to the 450 class in 2017, he signed with the GEICO Honda team in a surprise move and will try to add two more championships to his resume before leaving the 250 class behind for good in 2018. We caught up with Martin this week at the GEICO Honda Supercross track, as he tested engine settings for his upcoming Supercross season.
Jeremy, we are about a month away from the start of West Coast 250 Supercross, and a few months away from the East Coast kickoff. I'm assuming you're hoping for East…
Yeah, I'd definitely like to race the East Coast championship. Obviously it's up in the air as there are some of my teammates just starting to ride Supercross. There is still a month left until the decision is made of who races on what coast and a lot can happen in that time period, but It all depends on how the cards fall.
You've been riding Supercross lately, how are you feeling on the new bike?
Yeah, I've definitely been hitting Supercross pretty hard and I have been enjoying it. I've been out in California getting the bike more dialed in as far as setting up the suspension and engine a little better for Supercross. The window to get everything prepared for Supercross is starting to close and we still have a little bit of work to do on my side, but we are getting everything dialed in and ready for round one, so life is good.
After struggling with fatigue from overtraining this season, how are you feeling physically these days?
I'm certainly feeling better than I did. What I was able to do this past Supercross and National seasons is pretty impressive, considering how bad I felt, but I'm now free of caffeine and feeling healthier as we approach the start of the season.
Since making the switch to GEICO Honda, have you had the chance to work with the team trainer John Wessling?
Yeah. We've been working together for a while now. There isn't much he can teach me though because even before the GEICO deal I was waxing him on the mountain bike (laughs). John and I grew up in Minnesota together, and he has always been a jokester. It's pretty cool that we find ourselves working together with our professions, it’s definitely a small world and neat how things lined up.
How was the adjustment to a Honda from a Yamaha?
Every manufacturer has it's own unique features that are different from the others, such as Yamaha’s backwards engine, but the Honda is a completely different bike. The Honda is a great motorcycle, it turns well and is so narrow compared to other bikes. However, I think a lot of the bikes are pretty close to each other in today's world due to the technology available to each manufacturer. I'm really enjoying the Honda and I believe the bike has some benefits for me, as I am a smaller guy.
We had the chance to ride your Yamaha a few years ago and were shocked by all the modifications done to make that bike smaller to better suit you, So I guess the Honda is better for you right off the bat…
Yeah. The Honda is thinner and the power is a little bit smoother but it is still there. With it being a thinner bike, it's a lot easier for me to hold onto it and charge through the whoops. The bike is a lot easier to ride over longevity, it's amazing how well it turns and handles.
Reflecting back on last year, aside from the frustrating parts, how cool was it to be on the same team as your brother?
It was pretty cool! Alex and I have both come a long way in the sport, so it was pretty badass to not only be on the same team last year; but for both of us to have earned race wins. Though last year had a lot of frustrating points, it makes it a lot easier to put in the work this year.
Are you still cycling as much as you used to?
When I first started mountain biking I couldn't even go up and down hills without tipping over into thorn bushes and whatnot, but I really grew to appreciate it. Cycling is a huge stress reliever for me and gives me a real sense of freedom. I don’t cycle as much as I used to and I definitely miss it, but where I used to be really strong at cycling I am now strong in many different areas which will help with my career racing dirtbikes.
What will make you happy in 2017?
I'll be happy in 2017 if I go out each weekend and give it my all every race, but ultimately I want to achieve my goal of winning another 250 National MX Championship and a 250 Supercross Championship, and end my 250 career on a good note.