Racer X: How hard was it giving back that GEICO Honda Saturday afternoon? Alex Martin: Oh, it was kind of tough [laughs]. It was definitely a blast getting to ride that bike all weekend. The power makes it so much easier and definitely a lot more fun.
For those who don’t know, you got a one-weekend deal with the GEICO Powersports Honda team to race what was Trey Canard’s bike. How did that opportunity first come about? Well, it all came up after Trey Canard got hurt at High Point. I actually had the same flight back as Jeff Majkrzak, and I just kind of threw the idea around to him. He thought about it for a couple weeks, and fortunately, something was able to come up for Millville just through the help of Honda and the whole GEICO team. It was real awesome to be a part of it.
So it was you who first pitched the idea? Yeah, I brought it up, but they were actually kind of thinking about having a fill-in rider at the time as well.
Were there any conflicts with your existing sponsors? Not really. I contacted them beforehand and they were all okay with me taking the ride for the weekend.
So it was just a one-weekend deal? It was just for Millville, but I’m hoping that if I can keep myself open, hopefully another opportunity will come up before the end of the season.
You’ve been riding a privateer Honda all year, so it probably wasn’t too difficult to adapt to the GEICO bike, right? Actually, although it was a Honda, which I’ve been racing, it was pretty much a totally different bike than what I’m used to racing. They use all different parts in the motor as well as externally. It definitely wasn’t quite the same as my privateer Honda.
What were the biggest differences you noticed with the bike? The handling was pretty similar because I just had Factory Connection do all of my suspension that I was using, but the biggest difference would have to be the motor. I found myself sliding back off the seat quite often, and I was having to pull myself back up, which tired my arms out a little bit faster.
What was your best finish before this race? At Glen Helen I went 17-16 for sixteenth overall, and at Freestone I had the same result.
So the bike definitely helped out.
Oh, for sure. The main thing for me was that it got me a pretty good start in that first moto. I was able to hold on to sixth for a good fifteen or twenty minutes, and then I started to ride a little tight, and then Weimer and Tickle got around me, and Tommy Searle. But then I was able to pass Tommy back. We had a cool little battle there.
How’d it feel to pass a guy like Searle?
I don’t know if he was riding at 100 percent or was riding tight, but it was definitely cool to be up there with a group of guys that have been on the podium or who won races. I had to tell myself throughout the moto that I belonged up there so I wouldn’t fade back too far.
What happened in the second moto?
The second moto, I tangled with another rider off the start and kind of wrecked my chance at a holeshot there. I had to come from outside the top twenty, and I got up into twelfth by the third lap, but then I just fell into a pace there. I was a bit tired from the first moto, and then Tommy Searle came up at the end and got me.
Did anything surprise you over the weekend?
For me, just being able to ride the bike was awesome, but I think I surprise myself and turned a lot of heads by being able to run in the top ten, starting and finishing up there. Those are two totally different things, and I felt like I accomplished both of them.
Do you think running up front was more because of the bike, or was it because Millville is your home track?
Well, I think starting in the top ten is more the bike, but being able to run up there for thirty-five minutes, being at home isn’t as much as an advantage for me as people think. I don’t get to practice and ride on the bumps and ruts during the week. The track is totally different.
How often do you get to ride the track?
It’s in my backyard, so I can ride it every day of the week if I wanted to, but my problem is trying to avoid getting burned out on the track, you know? I try and ride at other places as much as I can when I’m home.
Where do you think you’d have finished if you were on your own bike?
It’s hard to say. I’ve been finishing around sixteenth a lot, but it really boils down to how good of a start you get. But I’d probably say the bike gave me a good two seconds a lap.
Overall, did you learn a lot from the experience?
I think so, yeah. Just being around a team as professional as the GEICO Powersports Honda team, it just makes you want it that much more.
What is it going to take for you to get a contract from a team like that?
Being out front on the start and running up front the whole moto—that’s where I need to be.
Who do you want to thank, Alex?
Yeah, I’d definitely like to thank the GEICO Powersports Honda team for giving me the opportunity. I’d also like to thank my sponsors that have hung by me the whole season: Spring Creek MX, ESR Mods, Factory Connection, Ti Lube, Storm Lake Honda, Wiseco, Excel, RK Excel, Dunlop, Vortex, UFO, Works Connection, Twin Air, Fusion Graphix, DP Brakes, Fly Racing, Scott USA, Gaerne Boots, QTM Rotors, and Podium Inc.