Motocross: Martin brothers seek podium together
There's nothing unusual about seeing Alex and Jeremy Martin standing next to each other. The motocross racing brothers from Millville have been side by side at tracks throughout their amateur and professional careers.
But it's where the Martin brothers hope to rendezvous on Saturday that would be unique: On the podium at the end of the race day.
With Jeremy, 22, and Alex, 25, both riding strong in the 250 class entering the eighth round of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Spring Creek MX Park, their family-owned track, their co-aim is for both to finish among the top three overall at the same pro event for the first time.
"At the beginning of the season it was a goal, a personal goal to get on the podium with Jeremy," Alex said. "I would have liked for it to happen a little bit earlier, to be honest."
"For Alex and I to get on the podium on the same day would be outstanding," Jeremy said. "It'll happen eventually. It has a very good chance of happening Saturday."
There have been some near misses this summer for the Martins. Three times — in the first round, the fifth, and the sixth — one brother has finished fourth while the other was on the podium with first, second or third.
"We've had a few close calls," Alex said.
Jeremy trying to repeat
Jeremy, the 250 MX defending national champion in just his third pro season, has won four of the first seven rounds and has been on the podium five times. The Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider has 298 points and a slim lead over Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin (291).
"Once you get to the top it's harder to stay there," said Jeremy, who was somewhat disappointed with his third-place finish in the 2015 Supercross season.
"Third isn't a terrible season, but when you go from first to third it's just not good enough."
Jeremy said a challenging training regimen has him feeling stronger than ever before. The Martin brothers lived and trained together in Florida for six months, and Jeremy thinks that also helped Alex raise his game.
"He's definitely better fit, he's faster and he's a better racer," Jeremy said. "Everything about Alex is better in 2015."
Alex having best season
Alex, who races for Cycle Trader/Rock River/Yamaha, is a seventh-year pro enjoying his most successful season. He got his first moto win and first overall podium (second place) both in the sixth round June 27 at Budds Creek in Mechanicsville, Md., and is fifth in series points (188).
Alex got his first moto win at Jeremy's expense, overtaking his brother on the final lap when Jeremy's engine stalled. Jeremy got it restarted and finished second in the race, and he denied any complicity in Alex's win.
"Alex is my brother and I'd do anything for him, but I wouldn't let him win," Jeremy said with a laugh. "I'm too competitive for that."
Alex said his first win renewed his confidence. His previous best season in MX racing was 2011 when he finished eighth with 250 points. Last year he finished 12th.
"I've been working hard at this for a long time, and sometimes I'd think it wasn't ever going to come," he admitted. "Once you do something, then you believe you can do it. Until then there's a lot of self-doubt and inner demons to conquer."
The Martin's racing careers will become even more intertwined in the near future. In June, Alex signed on with Jeremy's team, Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha, and the brothers will be teammates for the first time for the 2016 SX and MX seasons.
"The dynamic created by having brothers on the same team will definitely bring a new level of camaraderie and competition to the team," team owner Bobby Regan said in a release.
"Some guys like Jeremy are able to hook up with a factory team in their first year; unfortunately that didn't happen for me," Alex said. "But better late than never."
"It'll be awesome to have my brother on the same team," Jeremy assured. "Next year we'll be on the same bike with the same crew, in the same rig.
"He won't have any excuses."