Kacy Martinez – Winning Titles and Making Memories // The Dirt Buzz Interview

Photo: Simon Cudby

By Dale Spangler

By Dale Spangler

Kacy Martinez has raced in just about every national off-road series that exists in the United States. She’s also won races and championships in just about every one of those series, and the northern California native continues to push herself into new territory and disciplines of racing. From the tight trails of the National Enduro series, to the slow-speed trials-type Endurocross courses, to the higher speed GNCC and WORCS events, Martinez has shown year after year she has the diverse skills required to win at the highest level in each discipline. Having won titles in National Hare Scramble, WORCS, GNCC, and National Enduro, for 2017 Martinez has set her sights on winning a National Hare and Hound title. We caught up with Martinez during the summer break to ask her about her decision to jump into a new series and what the future holds for her racing career.

Dirt Buzz: Kacy, you’ve pretty much done it all when it comes to off-road racing. WORCS, National Enduro, National Hare Scramble, Endurocross and GNCC. What made you decide to make the jump to the Hare and Hound series this year?

Kacy Martinez: Once I started doing the GNCC series I thought to myself one day it would be cool to race in every major off-road series. I already achieved a National Hare Scramble Championship and WORCS Championships. So, once I won my first GNCC Championship, I told my boss Antti Kallonen that I had a long-term goal: and that’s to win a championship in every major off-road series. I then went on to win a National Enduro Championship and so the reason why I am racing the National Hare and Hound series is to hopefully fulfill my goal.

DB: After spending so many years racing on the east coast was it a big adjustment switching to the high speeds of desert racing?

KM: Yes, coming into this new series for me I was pretty nervous because I haven't ever really raced in the desert. I got in good testing with my mechanic Robbie and our suspension guys Rookie and Leon; we got the bike working really well and I started to feel more comfortable with the high speeds. I don't think I will ever get used to the bomb start though!

DB: Having grown up in Northern California was it a challenge for you to adapt to the tight east coast courses of the National Enduro series and the GNCC events?

KM: Growing up in Northern California I raced the District 36 series, which was a tight, technical, fun series with many mud races—but still very different from the GNCC series. A lot of people actually don't know but I raced a full year of GNCC in 2007, which was a big learning experience year. So, coming back in 2013 I knew what I was getting myself into and felt comfortable right away. On another hand, the National Enduro series was the tightest trails I have ever ridden and took a bit longer to get used to.

“… once I won my first GNCC Championship, I told my boss Antti Kallonen that I had a long-term goal: and that’s to win a championship in every major off-road series.” – Kacy Martinez

DB: Like a lot of racers out there you got your start in racing as a result of a family member that introduced you to riding. Tell us a little more about how you got started riding and eventually began racing.

KM: Yes, my father but we started riding pretty much at the same time. Here’s a long story short of how we got in to riding: My father loves to hunt. One day he was invited to go ride a dirt bike in Hollister, California. He knew there were a lot of wild boars in that area so he took up the invite to check it out for hunting. His friend put him on a Fat Cat and he was hooked ever since. That night he came home and started searching for bikes for himself and me. Then eventually my mom and sister had bikes and we spent most our weekends riding and camping. My dad then signed me up for my first race about a year later at age nine on my PW 80.

Continued support and guidance from her family and husband have helped Martinez achieve her goals throughout the years. Photo: Tomboy Barbie Photography.

DB: Most of us start out riding a motorcycle and give no thought to how riding could affect our lives down the road. Did you ever think when you started riding that it would eventually lead to traveling to so many cool places or having so many amazing experiences?

KM: Never would have thought, and looking back it seems crazy all the places I’ve been! With my dad and I starting to ride at the same time, everything we did was so new to us and we had to learn along the way. We worked together and traveled to many races. I’d say we did pretty good to get where I am today. Competing in World X Games gave me a whole new experience with traveling and my first time over the pond. Luckily, my mom was able to come with me and we saw Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; and Munich, Germany. I can’t thank my parents enough for traveling all over with me!

DB: We’re sure there are many, but what are a few of your favorite memories that you’ll always remember as a result of riding or racing a dirt bike?

KM: I have so many great memories from riding and racing so I’ll just point out a few. My favorite memories are growing up riding with my best friends at Carnegie OHV Park every single Saturday other than race weekends. Winning a Gold Medal racing EnduroX at X Games in Austin, Texas. Seeing my parents smiling at the finish line—whether I do good or bad. But my favorite memories (and still to this day) are being able to ride and train every day with my best friend—now husband. Being at the races together, lining up for a race together, and sharing our race stories at the end of the day together.

DB: You’ve won national titles in just about every series you’ve competed. The two left that come to mind are the National Hare and Hound (which you are competing in now) and the Endurocross series. Is it your goal to eventually win both of those titles and add them to your collection of off-road titles?

In addition to the Hare and Hound series, Martinez will compete in the EnduroCross series and also represent Team USA at this year’s ISDE in France as a member of the U.S. Women’s Trophy Team. Photo: Simon Cudby.

KM: Yes, both those series are a part of my long-term goal.

DB: We saw where you’ve been chosen this year to represent Team USA at this year’s ISDE in France as a member of the U.S. Women’s Trophy Team. You must be honored and excited to have been chosen to be a part of such a prestigious event.

KM: I am very honored and excited for this event knowing that it’s going to be tough! We have a strong team with Becca Sheets and Brandy Richards. With Antti looking over us and all the guidance from the trophy team riders we've been getting great input.

DB: Have you had to implement any special training or hone your mechanical and tire changing skills as a result of being chosen for the ISDE team?

KM: I haven't changed anything with my training, but I am working on tire changes. Antti puts on a Six Days training camp which is three days long where we replicate being at the ISDE. I learned a lot there and got some good tips from the Trophy team riders.

DB: So, you’re leading the NHHA series and headed to the ISDE in France this fall, what’s next after that? Have you already started making plans for 2018 and beyond?

KM: Right now, I am focusing on the rest of the NHHA with EnduroCross coming up quick. I want to get through France and a couple rounds of EnduroCross before I make any big decisions, but I will be racing next year. I will be racing the full EnduroCross series this year, which will be new and fun. I have raced many EX races but I have never raced a full series.

“… my favorite memories (and still to this day) are being able to ride and train every day with my best friend—now husband. Being at the races together, lining up for a race together, and sharing our race stories at the end of the day together.” – Kacy Martinez

DB: Changing gears, there are fast married couples like Jacob and Meg Argubright that share a passion for off-road racing and live the “off-road life” together. You recently married your boyfriend Travis Coy, who also happens to be a top off-road racer like you. What does it mean to be married to someone who shares the same passion for racing as you?

KM: It means everything. We literally do everything together. Travis is a big reason for how far I've gotten with racing and where I am at in life today. From 2007 to 2013 we raced the same series together but from 2014 to 2016 we raced different series on opposite sides of the U.S. He was driving to all the WORCS and Western Hare Scrambles and I was flying to the GNCC and NEPG also in ‘16. It was tough but it made us stronger and were happy to be back racing the same series this year together.

Fast couple: both Kacy and husband Travis Coy race off-road at the highest level and and live the off-road life together by riding, training, and racing as a team. Photo: Kacy Martinez.

DB: Because we like silly questions here at Dirt Buzz, we have to ask a few. The first one: What’s your go-to treat-yourself guilty pleasure meal that you just can’t live without?

KM: I’d have to say Ice Cream, but anything dessert-wise. But I don't really like candy, like sweet and sour.

DB: Most embarrassing moment on a dirt bike?

KM: My most embarrassing moment would have to be at the first X Games that Enduro X was a part of. During our Women's Main, I had fallen off the side of the top of the rock hill and slid down to the bottom while looking up at my bike that had stayed up top. But that’s not all, somehow my gas cap had opened and gas was pouring out! I was lucky I must have had a full tank, because I ran back up, twisted my cap back on and ended up with a Bronze medal!

DB: For some reason, the radio in your rental car only gets two stations: “All 70s, All Day” or “24-7 Boy Band Ballads.” Which one do you choose?

KM: 24-7 Boy Band Ballads.

DB: Haha! Thanks for being a good sport! Here’s one last serious question: Fast forward ten years. Where are you and what are you up to?

KM: Travis and I our home owners in northern California, living a fun, adventurous, happy life with kids. Being the Ultimate soccer mom and bringing our kids to the track occasionally. I’d like to help grow women’s racing and hopefully be a voice for that. And help take over my father’s business if he wants that.

DB: Well, thank you Kacy for doing this interview. We wish you all the best at the remaining Hare and Hound rounds, at the ISDE in France and in this year’s EnduroCross series. Any last words you’d like to share or people you’d like to thank—go right ahead.

KM: I’d like to thank you for a great interview. I’d also like to thank my Mom and Dad for their continued support throughout my racing career. Travis for his non-stop love and always pushing me to become better. I’d like to thank all my sponsors, first off, Factory FMF/KTM Racing, Troy Lee Designs, Bell Helmets, Leatt Brace, Oakley Goggles, and Alpinestars.

Support Kacy's ISDE effort by purchasing a Tee, HERE.