MILLVILLE — Fourteen years ago, on a scorching August afternoon just outside Millville, Alex Martin sat down on his dirt bike at the edge of the pro pits at Spring Creek MX Park.
Martin, just 18 at the time, quickly drank a bottle of water, then another.
There was no crowd gobbling him up, no factory team trailer or support crew to back him up; it was just Martin, his bike and a few high-fives from other riders passing him.
“It just kept coming and going,” Martin said with a laugh when asked how he felt after competing in more than 30 grueling motos (races) in his pro motocross debut.
That day – at the track where Martin grew up racing with and against his younger brother Jeremy and their sister Jennifer, a track owned and operated by his parents, John and Greta – was Alex’s very first professional motocross race. Martin.
Now, nearly 14 years later, after a career of ups and downs, team changes, injuries and national championship chases, Martin is preparing to ride his home track once again. as a full-time professional.
With the annual AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series races at Spring Creek MX Park scheduled for next Saturday, July 16, Martin announced today – Friday, July 8 – that he will be retiring from professional racing at the end of of the 2022 season.
It was a somewhat surprising announcement, even for industry insiders.
Martin, now 32, made the leap from the 250 class—which was called MX Lites when he made his professional debut in 2008—to the 450 class, the sport’s highest level, this season. Martin currently sits 13th in the 450 Class season standings.
His best results came in 2016 and 2018, when he was the national runner-up in the 250 class.
“After 14 years of professional racing, I have decided to retire from racing full time at the end of this season,” Martin said in a social media post Friday morning. “This sport has both a physical and mental impact on its runners.”
Indeed, it took its toll on Alex Martin and his brother Jeremy, a former national champion who hasn’t raced a full motocross season in five years. Jeremy would be out for the entire 2022 motocross season after seriously injuring his shoulder in a practice crash in March. He won the overall 250 class at Spring Creek last summer.
Over the past few years, Alex Martin’s intense dedication to training and physical fitness is what has kept him going in a physically and mentally demanding sport.
“I’ve had my share of ups and downs, concussions, broken bones, podium finishes, wins,” Martin wrote in his social media post. “…nine years as a privateer, five years as a works rider. At the end of the day, I’m damn proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in my career.”
There are still seven rounds of racing left in the 2022 motocross season, including races on Saturday at Southwick, Mass., and at Spring Creek in Millville on July 16. The series wraps up at Fox Raceway in Pala, Calif. on Sept. 3.
Once those runs are over, Martin will have more time to focus on his fitness business Troll Training, which is a game of the nickname “Troll Train” that the 5-foot-4, 140-pound runner has adopted.
“With seven rounds of pro motocross to go, I still intend to show up ready to race every weekend,” Martin wrote on Friday. “Next stop tomorrow, Southwick. Let’s go!!”