MENTOR, Ohio (March 13, 2018) – Jeremy Martin showed the way for Wiseco-sponsored riders in Saturday night's Monster Energy Daytona Supercross presented by Honda. In a season marred by bad luck and misfortune, Martin put together a near flawless ride to earn his first Eastern Regional 250SX Class podium finish of the season.
Martin qualified eighth for the division's annual visit to the World Center of Racing, finished fourth in his heat race, and came home second in the 250SX main event, missing his first win of the year by less than a second.
"It's Daytona, a real man's track." said Martin who sits fourth in points. "It was the toughest race of the year as far as fitness. I had to slow down a little bit, halfway through the main. I was getting close to (race winner) Jordon (Smith) and I was starting to think about where I could make a move on him, then I made some mistakes and he got away from me. Couldn't quite get close again, but it's good. We're on the podium and in contention for wins again. That's something I haven't been able to say in supercross in a while. We want to get wins and now we know it's coming."
Martin's podium was a bright spot, but the rest of the event was rough for the GEICO Honda/Factory Connection squad. RJ Hampshire crashed hard in his heat race and had to be transported to a local hospital. He injured his back and ribs, but shoulder pain left him with the most concern.
"I felt good on the bike all day," said Hampshire via his Instagram account. "Had some pretty good speed and my foot just slid off hitting my shifter in those rollers during that heat race. After seeing the pictures from the crash I'm very thankful I didn't take a shot to my head. I have some fractures in my T3/T4 in my back and ribs. Also have some damage to my lungs which is why I'll be spending a couple nights in the hospital. I'll be getting some more checkups this week on the shoulder also."
Cameron McAdoo, the third member of the team, was unable to compete at Daytona after being sidelined with a hand injury two races ago in Atlanta.
Across the paddock, in the premier 450SX Class, Christian Craig got the call to fill in for Team Honda HRC. With the team's regular riders Ken Roczen and Cole Seely out with injuries, it was up to Craig to carry the load for the factory team, and the upstart rider didn't disappoint.
The San Diego native was solid in both qualifying sessions, won his heat race and snagged the holeshot in the division's main event. After relinquishing the lead to eventual winner Justin Brayton, Craig continued to show he was up for the challenge. The 26-year-old rider raced for second and third for most of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap feature before losing one more spot in the late goings to bring his No. 32 Honda CRF450R home fourth in the final rundown.
"I had a great week testing with the team," commented Craig. "They came down to Florida right after Atlanta and I feel like we really improved. Just getting more time on the bike and getting more comfortable was huge. I started off race day feeling really good. My qualifying position didn't really show it, but overall I was happy with my riding. It's all about having fun out there, and man, that's what I did tonight. I was up front in the heat race, fell to third, but then the two guys in front took each other out so I ended up winning. You can call it luck or whatever, but I just put myself in a good position to capitalize on people's mistakes.
"I had a good gate pick and some confidence going into the main. I grabbed the holeshot and led for almost the first lap, but [Justin] Brayton got by me pretty quick. I stayed second for quite a while. I just rode my hardest and did my best. Unfortunately, a couple guys got by me so I ended up fourth. The track was so tough. This is only my second time racing Daytona and last year didn't go well, so I really wanted to get some revenge this year. It's better than the week before, but man, I was so close to a podium. I just need to keep putting myself in good positions and work on getting better each weekend."
Monster Energy AMA Supercross rolls on this weekend when the series visits the "Gateway to the West" for its annual race at the Dome at America's Center in St. Louis. The 11th of 17 races on the 2018 supercross calendar will be televised live on FS1 Saturday, March 17, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 5 p.m. Pacific.