Falkand’s Nathan Martin has been burning rubber in anticipation for a chance to win his first BMX national event. The odds are in his favour as it takes place on his home track.
“I think it’s a pretty good time to win my first event. It would really be nice to finish first here,” said Martin, who has been racing at Vernon’s Ranger Park since he was 12.
The races begin today with a pre race from 6-8:30 p.m. Action goes from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday are separate national events and are free admission. Martin hopes to weave his way through the qualification motos, quarters, semis and finals. The top four riders in each semi advance to the final.
This marks the first time Vernon has hosted a national event in four years.
There will be more than 100 different motos and nearly 1,000 riders.
Shylo Orchard is the Vernon BMX Club president and has coached Martin since day one.
“He came here and he was very shy and just a little kid,” said Orchard. “We watched him progress rather quickly into the rider he is now. He is very determined.”
The very humble Martin placed second and third in Chilliwack at the beginning of May and captured two second-place finishes in Nanaimo at the end of May in this year’s Canadian National Series.
Martin competes in the 17-18 expert division as an 18 year-old.
“I love the adrenaline rush you get from racing and the friendships you build up,” said Martin, a Pleasant Valley grad.
Martin got into BMX racing after he bought his first bike from SportChek. The bike came with a coupon for the track and he hasn’t left the course since.
You can tell Martin is a smooth rider just by looking at his medical records.
“I’ve wiped out a few times and gotten some decent road rash, but the only serious crash I’ve had is when I overshot a jump heading into the second corner and I separated my shoulder,” said Martin.
Martin has been riding and coaching with Kamloops BMX since April. They offered him more money to be a coach and since he graduated PVSS early, he started his heavy-duty mechanic course at Thompson Rivers University in February.
He still calls the Vernon track home and comes back to race and teach whenever possible.
“We didn’t want to let him (Nathan) go because he is such a nice kid and a hard worker,” said Orchard. “He goes through more tires than anyone else just working on his sprints. I’ve seen him out in the pouring rain, when no one else was riding, trying to get better.”
Ripping around on a Staats bike from Ventura, Calif., Martin hopes to hit the pro circuits within the next couple of years. He believes the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup is more than doable.
The 5-foot-11 rider aims to compete in five different national events in Canada. If he heads down to the U.S., he will try and make it to 10 tour events.
Off the track, Martin can be found tinkering in the garage, either on his bike or on his Volkswagen Jetta.