Sam Martin is not your average high school student. At 16, Martin, who grew up in Ben Lomond, has qualified for Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Motocross Championship. After placing first in several amateur youth competitions, Martin, 16, received an invitation to the National Championship. Sam will participate in the 125cc and 250cc in his age group during the races from July 30 to August 4 in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
Martin and his family had to dedicate their time entirely to motocross. By pushing through injuries, training full time and getting help from mentors, Sam is now on the path to becoming a professional racer.
“I got my first bike for Christmas when I was 9. The first year I just cruised around on it. It was pretty intimidating when I went to a track for the first time. Racers were flying past me and kids my age that had been doing it longer than I had, but it always looked super fun, and I wanted to do it, so I stuck with it,” Sam stated.
Since then, Martin has won several races and gained sponsors such as Bell Helmets, Scott Goggles, Maximum Oils, the local KTM dealership, Krawl, Hammer Nutrition and several others.
“It feels great to have my family’s support. To make it in this sport, you need all the help you can get,” Martin said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Martin and his family have made sacrifices, such as transferring schools and driving several hours every day.
“We spend seven to eight hours on the road just driving to the track and back, which makes attending regular school hours impossible,” said Betty Salois, Sam’s mother.
Neither of his parents has a background or experience in motocross, but they have been supporting their son to improve as a racer.
“We saw how passionate he was at a young age and that he had natural talent riding the bike,” said Eric Martin, Sam’s father. “It was hard to be in the classroom setting every day while also pursuing his passion. Even Sam’s science teacher said that he should enter a homeschool setting to pursue motocross full-time.”
The family started a fundraiser to send him to the race, since the travel expenses alone will be approximately $10,000.
“We have lived in Ben Lomond for 20 years and have given a lot to local businesses, so we are reaching out to local businesses to sponsor Sam.” Having a full-time motocross career is expensive. “A normal budget for motocross can be $50,000 to $100,000 a year, so support from local businesses provides massive help for us," said Eric Martin.
After the National Championship, Sam hopes to sign to a factory team and gain larger sponsors to launch his career. “It’s a dream of mine to get sponsored by KTM’s factory team, Orange Brigade.”
To track Sam’s progress, follow him on Instagram @sammart1n. Sam also started a GoFundMe page www.gofundme.com/loretta-lynn-motocross-national&rcid and a separate website geared for athletes to donate: https://makeachamp.com/sammartin.
- Danny Glenn is a summer news reporting intern at the Press Banner. He can be reached at (831) 438-2500