JEREMY MARTIN &
Jeremy Martin is a certifiable motocross star. He won
two consecutive AMA 250 Championships, 11 AMA 250
Nationals and moved into a tie with Jeff Ward for 11th
on the all-time 125/250 Nationals win list. He singlehand-edly put the Star Yamaha team on the top rung of the
motocross ladder. He was Star Yamaha’s darling. What
he wasn’t was a certifiable Supercross star, at least not
at first. He struggled, so much so that over his short four-year 250 East/West Supercross career, he failed to qualify
for four main events. That is unheard of for a potential
champion. Yet, when he did qualify, he was typically in
the top 10, won four main events, and finished third in
the 250 East in 2015 and 2016.
But, something went wrong at Star Yamaha in 2016.
Maybe it was tension with brash teammate Cooper
Webb or with Star’s team management—or the fact that
he wanted to be on the official Yamaha 450 team but
they were leaning towards Cooper Webb. No matter, he
started pitting separate from the team (under an E-Z Up).
He announced that he wanted to move to the 450 class,
even though he was still eligible for the 250 East/West
series. Midway through the 2016 AMA 250 Nationals, it
was assumed that he was signing with the RCH Suzuki
team to race the 450 class in 2017, but RCH had sponsor
difficulties, and that deal fell through. Jeremy still wanted a 450 deal, but all the good 450 rides were spoken
for. That’s when Geico Honda made him an offer that
he couldn’t refuse. They signed him to a two-year deal.
The kicker? He had to race the CRF250 for 2017, and
then would get a factory CRF450 to race under the Geico
banner in 2018.
The naysayers said that Jeremy Martin was too small
to successfully race a 450, so when Honda gave him a
one-shot deal to race the 2017 Daytona Supercross on Ken
Roczen’s unused works bike, he jumped at the chance.
He shocked the field by leading for 11 laps before finally being run down by Eli Tomac. To finish second at
Daytona was a significant moment for a rider who feared
that he was being pigeonholed as a 250-only rider. ❏