By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt
Jeremy Martin | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | 1-4 for second overall in 250MX
Racer X: Obviously people are saying it’s a sand track, he’s a sand rider. But we’ve seen you rip wins through 2015, now here in 2016 you’ve had a few. Your motivation coming in here, obviously for you to get points, but were you feeling good about Southwick?
Jeremy Martin: Yeah, I’m excited. We haven’t been here since 2013 so it’s always nice. It’s a sand track but it’s got that really hard base so at the same time it’s not like a true sand track, in my eyes. It got rough and stuff like that, but I’ve been a professional long enough, this is my fourth year, so I think I’ve proved I can ride on hard pack, I can ride on anything. But I had a lot of fun out there today. It was something new for all of us. This is one that when I heard at the end of ’13 that it wasn’t going to come back for ‘14 it bummed me out a little bit.
Take us back to when you went down in that right-hander. It looked like the corner before it you did something a little different. Was it the fact that you couldn’t see or was it just the berm blew out?
Well, I was fighting with [Shane] McElrath. I saw Coop [Cooper Webb] and I saw [Austin] Forkner out there and I was like, All right, I need to get going. I need to get McElrath so I can battle with those guys. I couldn’t let Coop get too far out. I felt good today. The body is getting better. The speed is getting better, and the bike is getting better too. I came into the corner behind McElrath. I was so right there on him and then he just got on the gas and I saw the rear wheel blow it out. The next thing you know my goggles are covered and I’m on the ground. I felt the front end wash. So it was a bummer but I got back up and charged as hard as I could.
I think you were back in 10th or 11th place after going down and worked yourself up to fifth, and then obviously McElrath crashed two turns to go. Did you feel that you gave everything out there? Did you ride your 100 percent today?
Not really in moto one. Definitely my arms were probably rock solid the whole time. We made an internal change with the fork between moto one and moto two. It was significantly better. We’re getting the bike better every weekend so I feel like I can ride to my fullest potential for 30 plus two. So the ball’s starting to move forward in the right direction and I’m happy.
The change in the forks, was it for you to ride the track more aggressively or for you to conserve energy?
It’s just a bit of both. It’s unfortunate feeling a little harsh. It’s just more of a personal comfort and when the comfort’s there the rider goes faster. So it’s always a win-win for the rider.
Can you explain for us a little bit you had Johnny [O’Mara] at the beginning of the season and I see you hanging out with Dylan [Turner] today? Where are you at with trainers and what’s going on there?
My situation with the trainers and stuff like that right now is really just kind of doing my own thing. I worked with Johnny O for a long time and I learned a lot from him. We got to a point where we both parted ways mutually. I felt like I learned as much as I possibly could learn from him, and he helped me as much as he could. So we ended on good terms. Right now I’ve been going to Anytime Fitness back home in Minnesota and just doing my own little gym program. I’ve got Dylan here on the weekends helping me. Nobody knows me really better. We worked together for so long growing up that he knows my weaknesses. I don’t have time to mess around right now. I’ve got a championship to try to win and I’ve got a points deficit to breach that gap. So I have him here on the weekends and I’ve got a good crew at home with my mom and dad. They’ve been amazing. They’re getting the national ready, getting Millville ready, and my dad’s out there helping me water the track. Chad Switzer back home, he’s just been in the grind helping me too. So things are good.
How about health-wise? I know you said your stomach was feeling funny on the podium. Where are you at health-wise and what’s been going on?
Just struggling with some things. We’re about halfway now and things are starting to get a little better and I have a little bit more energy. I’m able to open up and to be able to sprint with these guys for the opening laps and to be able to try to sustain it.
These last two weekends you’ve really looked I would say more like yourself than in the beginning of the year. Is it bike changes? Are you able to train more during the week? What’s been the major difference for you?
I think the biggest thing is the bike’s getting a little bit better too. To be quite frank, I’m tired of losing. I want to win. I don’t really feel like I did in ‘15. I’m tired of making excuses. I want to win. I’ve got the number one plate for a reason. By all means I want to bring it down to the wire to the last moto and make it tough on them if they’re going to take it from me.
Do you still feel like you have a good shot at this?
I think so. Anything’s possible. I had a DNF at High Point. Alex and I both did. Anything’s possible. That’s racing. [Joey] Savatgy was way up in the points and then he had a rough weekend at RedBud and then here, so anything’s possible.
And how tough has it been not be full strength? It’s got to be pretty tough knowing that… It’s not that you’re riding necessarily bad, it’s just you can’t necessarily do exactly what you want to do, right?
Yeah, it’s a bit of a bummer but at the end of the day I’m racing my dirt bike and doing what I love and I’m around good people. It’s a process. When you’re doing good you learn, but when you have your downs that’s when you really learn about yourself and that’s when you pick yourself up and you become better and you can become a better athlete, just a better individual on the dirt bike and just in everyday life.
How important is an overall next weekend, especially at home?
Oh, it’d be huge. To go 1-1 or if my brother goes 1-1, or for us to swap. That’d be pretty neat. I heard a chainsaw out there today so hopefully we got the air horns following Alex and I around the track. Like over at Des Nations I was behind Marvin [Musquin] and I never heard anything like it. It was like a wave around the track. I’m expecting the Millville fans to be doing that for Alex and I.
Or get the Whoop Monster back.
[Laughs] I don’t know. The Whoop Monster went into retirement. I think he had too many beers or it was a little too hot down there in the sand wash over the years. It got to him.
I think Alex talked about it last weekend. You guys actually have a new track, so you’re not actually, with all the races that Millville’s holding, you’re not riding there much. How much are you actually riding at Millville?
I’ve probably rode Millville three times since I’ve been home. I’ve done quite a few laps and my dad’s got local races. He just had an ATV national. He’s a busy man. So we got a track built at a friend’s house and we’re dialed in. We’re enjoying it.
I think I saw the before and after of the ATV. It was a little different!
Yeah, I posted a couple pictures of the ATV national. I just meant it out of full respect. A few of the quad guys there didn’t really like it, but I just thought it was insane how gnarly the track was. Honestly I was watching them and they were going really, really fast. Everything was bulletproof, like pavement. You could have rode your skateboard in some spots.
With your parents being pretty much a staple at the supercross and motocross with the ATV national now getting Millville ready, is it going to be nice to go home and get that bond back together again? They’re obviously major supporters of yours.
Yeah. Millville’s one of a kind. It’s a special event. It’s the hometown race. To me it kind of feels like an off-weekend because I don’t have to travel. I just got to get up in the morning and do the 22-minute drive to Millville. So it’s nice. While everyone else is traveling and I’m just going to be sleeping.
I think you mentioned this last year, it’s nice to be at home but there’s a lot of people and a lot of press. It’s not as easy as some people may think, right?
Yeah. Millville’s probably my busiest race of the year. Everyone just wants to chat and they want to get the inside stuff like that. But I will say I bought a house this year off the property, just on the north side of Rochester. So I’m really happy because my mom, I was really upset with her last year because she moved the DJ down from the beer garden over in front of our house, and I didn’t fall asleep until like 3:00 a.m. Friday night because the glass was shaking. I’m like… I wanted to pop melatonin, just trying to relax. –Chase Stallo
Arnaud Tonus | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki | 3-8 for sixth in overall 250MX
Racer X: You were going for a podium actually. It was going good. It was a much better day.
Arnaud Tonus: Yeah, it was a much better day. It ended up a little bit frustrating. I crashed with a lapper two laps before the end, so that was a rough one but overall I felt a lot better. My speed was good. Starts were a bit better. So we’re moving forward and that definitely feels good.
Now do we just say, “Oh, the GP dudes, they just know how to ride sand?” Or is this so different from any other sand track, does it even matter? Was that anything to do with how well you did, the sand?
I think my form is just getting better anyway. Last weekend it was already better in the second moto and today I felt pretty good. It’s sand but it’s not Euro sand. There is a hard base and it’s quite special. I think it’s just me feeling better.
So you should be able to ride like this hopefully every week?
Yeah, I hope so. From now I seem like I have a better momentum so I’ll try to carry it and keep working and build my physical condition too. I felt today I was a lot better. I could push until the end. In the first moto I got tight a little bit at the end. I knew I was close to being on the box so I tightened up a little bit, and it was the first time this year I’ve had a good start like that and was at the front for the moto. But second moto I was much more relaxed. It’s a shame I crashed with a lapper. I was coming back on McElrath. I think I was pretty close. But it’s a part of it.
You didn’t crash because you were tired that time? That was just a lapper thing? You felt pretty strong at that point?
Yeah, I felt pretty strong. I think I was a little bit faster than the guys in front of me. But anyway there is no excuse. It’s the same for everyone. The track was really hard to pass so even when you had the lappers in front of you it could make you lose a lot of time. So it was hard for everyone I think but it’s a shame it cost me the podium. -Jason Weigandt
Jimmy Decotis | GEICO Honda | 25-15 for nineteenth overall in 250MX
Racer X: You had to be thinking holeshot. You had to be thinking about how nuts this place would go if you led. Did you have a vision leading this thing? You had to have had a vision.
Jimmy Decotis: Oh, of course! I came out pretty good in that first one. They just kind of picked me off in the beginning. I don’t know. I wasn’t that comfortable. I wasn’t riding good. It’s hard to jump in with these guys after not racing. I kind of underestimated. When you’re riding by yourself you kind of have a little bit of false confidence. Then you get out here and you see these guys and it’s like, I got to be a little bit more intense during the week. It was okay. I know where I’m at. I wasn’t supposed to even be doing outdoors so to be out here and at least racing is good for me. I know what I need to do. We’ll get better. It’s not the end of the world. I’m still alive.
And you’re in for the rest?
I guess so. I’m doing the next two for sure until Christian [Craig] comes back, and then we’ll go from there. I got Millville and Washougal. Keep doing it and maybe if I do a little better there than my home track I’ll start getting a little bit of confidence and we’ll move from there. But it’s okay. Not the worst.
How cool was it overall having this thing back?
It was cool. On the parade lap it was insane. Every single turn, I couldn’t even believe it, listening to it. This was on the parade lap! It was awesome. I’m bummed I couldn’t light it up for them guys but it is what it is. They had a good race today.
What was the buzz like? This track was done altogether, it was closed. So forget a national, what was it like when it opened up again even for local races? I’m sure you’ve got a lot of friends around here. Was everybody fired up?
Oh, yeah. First race back was like a half moto, half woods, J Days race up here and it was huge. They had like 1,000 entries. It was nuts. People were going nuts. And even NESC here three weeks ago, there was full gates in the pro class, 38 guys. People were pumped up for this place. They love it.
There is not a full gate in a pro local race anywhere but in NESC, I swear.
No, not anywhere ever. You go to California there’s five guys.
So have you been based here?
Yeah, I’ve been riding here. I rode here like three or four days before the national, the month leading up to it and that was it, and a couple local tracks around here, but that’s it. I’ve been based here but after Millville I’m going down South of the Border. Go down there and ride with some of the fast boys down there.
That’s what you need to do now? Is that what you’re learning?
That’s what I’m learning. That was the plan anyways, but that’s what I need to do.
So run me through your motos.
First moto I got a good start. I was top five and then they picked me off pretty quick. I went back to thirteenth, fourteenth. I started to find a little bit of a groove and then I just went off the track and there was like a fifteen-foot wall when I went off of! I went over the bars and had to take my goggles off and I pulled in for a pit stop. But overall the result was twenty-fifth, which was awful, but I never gave up. I fought to the end and that’s kind of all I’m looking for to do. Second moto was a little better with fifteenth. I felt like I had a decent moto in me, so it’s okay. We’re all right.
Were they still cheering even in the motos?
Yeah, they were. They were cheering for me in the first one when I was a lap down! They’re die-hard. –Weigandt