Can Alex Martin become the second 250 National Champ in the family?
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Alex Martin at the races, as a broken wrist early in the year knocked him out of action for the majority of the Supercross season. Martin was at Pala Raceway this past Tuesday killing the laps aboard his Jordan Troxel-tuned KTM 250 SX-F, and we caught up with the elder Martin brother to see what was going on…
So Big Al are you excited to start the Nationals with a blank slate, injury free and healthy?
Honestly, I am just excited to be racing in general. It feels like it has been so long since I lined up behind the gate. I mean, I literally only finished one main event in Supercross this year, in Oakland, and I am just grateful to be lining up on a starting gate for Hangtown on a factory bike. (Laughs) It's been so long since I've been in race mode that I don't know where I'm at. I feel fit and I feel stronger than I did last year,...I just wanna see where I'm at!
How long have you been on the bike?
Quite a while now. When I first started riding again it was the week after the Indianapolis but it took a while for the scaphoid in my right wrist to start feeling 100%. So, about seven weeks on the bike at this point in time.
How have much testing for outdoors have you done?
I had about three weeks of riding in Florida, just trying to get back into riding and feeling strong again. And I've been here in California testing for about four weeks now. Been testing mostly suspension since I've been here and we have a really great setup.
How is it training in Florida at the Baker Factory?
Oh, it's awesome. There are pros and cons to both SoCal and Florida. But to have Florida in your back pocket is awesome. Clermont is a great city...very athlete friendly. Plus there are so many tracks: Aldon's, Ferry's, Baggett's... But I enjoy being in California around this time of year because the tracks are decently rough and there are lots of fast guys to gauge yourself against.
There's always joking about the Stopwatch Nationals, but it is advantageous to practice among your rivals, right?
When you have GEICO, Pro Circuit, and our team all out here, it is hard not to pull out the stopwatch. But it really doesn't matter. I've seen guys be insanely fast during the week but not be able to translate that into racing plenty of times. It's all about being mentally prepared as a racer and being able to get that speed on race day. It seems like the most mentally strong guys are the ones who excel on race day.
What are you expecting of yourself this summer?
I am expecting to be on the podium for sure, and on the top step of the podium. I feel prepared. I feel fit. I have had a good buildup and preparation for the start in a couple weeks. The last two years I was second in points: I finished second overall in 2016 and last year I was in second until I got hurt before Washougal. I don't see any reason why I can't do that this year and challenge for the title!
What's it like racing against your brother at the highest level of the sport?
Oh, Jermah. It's fun. There was a time when I was a privateer and I was just so stoked to see him winning races and winning titles. But now that I have a factory ride too it seems like we're more competitors than me just being a supporter. It's fun because I know I can race him hard and he will be tough until the end. So my thing is to try and get a great start and get away from him at the start because he is such a slow starter. (Laughs) But yes, it is fun to be racing with each other these days. It always has.
Is there much shit talking between the two of you?
Oh yeah. There is a lot of shit talking. It's something new every week If he struggles to make a pass like he did last weekend in Las Vegas, I will tease him about it. But he has been doing his own thing out in Colorado with Eli Tomac and I am in Florida or here in SoCal, so we don't see each other too much during the week. We don't get to square off during the week as much so it makes the weekends extra fun.