The 2013 season hasn’t been ideal for Alex Martin. A broken wrist keep him out of supercross, and rumors were circulating for weeks that his former team, Eleven10 Mods, may be closing the doors to their race team, with the official announcement finally coming last week. Alex has also dealt with not having a 250 practice bike in more than three months—not an ideal situation when trying to adjust to a new brand. But thanks to his brother Jeremy, who rides for MyPlash/Star Racing Yamaha, he finally has a 250 practice bike. And thanks to Rock River and Yamaha, he will stay with the brand at the races. Alex made his debut with Rock River Yamaha last week at Budds Creek and will be with the team for the remainder of the 2013 season. We caught up with him earlier today to talk about the transition and much more.
Racer X: Last weekend the move from Eleven10 over to Rock River became official. What’s the transition been like?
Alex Martin: It’s been a good transition. I can’t complain. Rock River was nice enough to step up and take the bikes we got from Yamaha and bring us to the races every weekend. I can’t really ask for too much more than that. I’m just happy to be racing every weekend.
You were with Eleven10 for quite a few years. Was it a bittersweet ending?
I started racing for Chad [Sanner, Eleven10 Mods owner] and Eleven10 Mods in 2011 and I really can’t complain. He’s helped me out a lot over the years and put a lot of money into me going racing. It was me and Darryn Durham in 2011 and me and Phil Nicoletti in 2012 and even this year. He tried, but it was kind of an uphill battle with money. Being a small team like that you don’t get a lot of support and you’re doing it all out of your own pocket. He was trying to get customer stuff done during the week so that we had money to go racing on the weekends and I think after a couple of years you just get burnt out on that. I think he wanted to go in a different direction and I can’t blame him for that. But at the same time I want to keep racing and luckily Yamaha stepped up and set me up with Rock River.
This year Yamaha has shown a willingness to stick behind their riders even when a team folds. Kyle Chisholm and Bobby Kiniry come to mind. What has that meant to have Yamaha step up and stay behind you?
It’s huge to have Yamaha support. They don’t want to completely throw it away and have riders sitting on the bench every weekend. So anything they can do to help out, it seems like they’ve been trying to do. I definitely want to thank Yamaha for hanging in there and helping me out.
Alex Martin made his debut with Rock River Racing last weekend at Budds Creek.
Simon Cudby photo
This week, for the first time in a couple of months, you will have a 250F practice bike. Tell us how that came about and how difficult it has been having to train on the 450?
Yeah, I haven’t had a 250 practice bike in over three months. Luckily I had a 450 from Morgantown Powersports and I talked with Scott [Shaffer, Morgantown Powersports owner] after High Point and I was fortunate enough that he was going to let me keep the bike to ride. This week I was able to get a 250 from my little brother Jeremy [MyPlash/Star Racing rider]. So I guess he is one of my sponsors now [laughs]. It is one of his amateur practice bikes from last year. I’m just happy that I don’t have to keep going back from the 450 to the 250 every week, so I can try and make some gains on the 250 now.
How challenging has it been to have to train during the week on the 450 and race the 250 on the weekends?
In years past I have rode a Honda 450 and been able to hop on the 250 and been fine because they are pretty similar bikes. I thought it would be the same with Yamaha, but after riding the 450 and getting on the 250, I was like “Wow, I might as well be going from a KTM to a Honda.” They are that much different. I’m really happy to have the 250 bike now to try and get comfortable on it and hopefully that will transition to the weekend.
We return to Southwick this weekend, the site of your moto podium a couple years back. I’m sure Southwick holds special meaning to you. Talk about what it means for this year to be the last race there?
Southwick is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit, for sure. I love that place. I’m really bummed that this is the last year because I look forward to this race all year long. I do a lot of sand training down here at Club MX, and even when I was back in Minnesota I did a lot of sand riding. I really enjoy riding the sand and can’t wait for this weekend to display my sand skills.
Club MX is known to have a renowned sand training facility. How much will that help you coming into the weekend?
It’s huge. I basically just live here on the Club MX property down here in South Carolina with Phil Nicoletti. They have a front track that is kind of a clay, loamy type dirt and then they have the back track, which is pretty much all pure sand. It’s been raining here all week, but we’ve still been able to train and it’s a huge advantage to have that because you never really miss out on practice time.
Martin returns to Southwick this weekend, the site of his only moto podium.
Simon Cudby photo
In the past, Southwick, Millville, Red Bud, have typically been where you really shine and are tracks that seem to fit your style. Is it fair to say that these are the type of tracks that you get going on?
Absolutely. I don’t really know what it is. Maybe it’s because I grew up on that type of dirt. Millville, Red Bud, Southwick and some of the other tracks are really beneficial to me with the type of dirt they have. I don’t do well on the California type tracks, so I’m really looking forward to the upcoming races and ready to blow out some berms at Southwick.
This is the first full year that you been able to race against your younger brother Jeremy. Talk about what you’ve seen from him and how he’s progressing.
It’s funny because when he was an amateur and we where practicing all the time and he was probably faster than me in practice and I would go and get a top five or top ten and he would be like, “Man, I would probably win.” So it’s kind of humbling once you get there because you have weeks were you’re sick or traveling has worn you down…and it’s not exactly the same. I’m kind of bummed because I haven’t been at my best this year with the team folding and everything so I haven’t been up there to battle with him like I want to. I’m definitely looking forward to getting up there and putting a wheel in on him or sending him over a berm [laughs]. That’s my motivation during the week…to take him out [laughs].
Talking to you both over the years it seems like you have a really competitive sibling rivalry. What does it mean to be able to line up with your brother every weekend on the biggest stage?
When we were little he was this little pudgy kid and I was always the older brother that was faster and stronger. Now, it has almost flip-flopped. He was come into his own. He has great endurance and fitness and his speed is coming along as well, so he keeps me on my toes. I have to keep pushing the envelope to stay with him, so it benefits me as well. And at the same time if I need something like a practice bike he is there to help me out with that as well. It’s an intense rivalry but at the end of the day we are friends and brothers.
I think fitness is something you both pride yourselves on. With nearly every moto having live television coverage this year, there is little time between motos. How has you fitness played to your advantage in those circumstances?
To be honest, I like it when you don’t have much of a break. I don’t think many other people would say that, though. You don’t have time to sit around and talk, you basically take your gear off and are in recovery mode for the next moto. It presents a little bit of challenge, but that’s why we train during the week. I think if you’re doing what you need to do during the week, race day is the easiest day of the week.
Now equipped with a 250 practice bike, Martin feels like his results will begin to turn around.
Simon Cudby photo
Have you had to make any adjustment in your training to prepare for the quick turnarounds?
To be honest we never really have more than a half hour between motos down here at Club during the week, so it’s nothing really too crazy. During the week we are either running or cycling or in the gym so you can’t have a two hour break between every moto or otherwise you’d be in your gear all day. It benefits me for sure, being in shape.
What do you do during the break to prepare yourself for the next moto?
I just try and keep electrolytes down. You can’t really eat anything too heavy because 45 minutes isn’t enough time for it to digest. So I try not to eat anything with a lot of carbs. But I can’t tell you everything, you know [laughs]. I have to keep my secrets in the bag!
Okay, Alex. Who would you like to thank for helping you out this year?
I want to thank FLY Racing, Club MX Training Facility, Gaerne, 100%, Renthal, Asterisk, JT Racing, Yamaha Racing, GYTR, YamaLube, RoostMX, FMF, K&N, XTRIG, Matrix, Dunlop, Race Tech, Renegade, Frith Co. Vertex, Bell, Moto Tassinari, Cycra, Vortex, GUTS, EVS, Boyesen, Jett Boots, PegArmor, ODI Grips and everyone at Rock River and Yamaha.