Jacky Martens interview

With a World 500cc championship in 1993, and 17 Grand Prix victories, Jacky Martens knows how to win. In a career that saw him battle the likes of Joel Smets, Georges Jobe, Eric Geboers, Dave Thorpe, Andre Malherbe and many more, the tall Belgian was a fighter, who knew that hard work paid off.

Martens has been working as a team manager for 25 years, that’s longer than all his riders have been born. While the former World 500cc champion isn’t resting on his team’s success, he does know that its hard work that put his team at the very top of the sport in the MX2 class.

A victory by his team rider Thomas Kjer Olsen in the last round of the FIM World Motocross Championship in Latvia gave him a lot of pleasure, and it also reminded him how important it is to give his riders what they need to succeed.

We sat down and talked to us about the teams win and current situation.

MXlarge: It was a slow start for the team in the beginning of the season, but Latvian turned out really good for the team, with Thomas Kjer Olsen winning the Grand Prix, and both Thomas Covington and Conrad Mewse having good moments. How does it feel for you as the manager?

Martens: For sure it’s a good feeling. We work with young kids. Thomas (Covington) took some time to get him fit and strong enough, but with his good work with Joel Roelants and with Rasmus, they do a good job. He is going well now, it was a shame he made a mistake in that heat he was winning. TKO (Olsen), I knew he was a good rider, but the nice thing is, the collaboration is really nice and Rasmus and Joel are doing a really good job. TKO wants to learn every day.

MXLarge: Are you surprised he won in Latvia?

Martens: No, we knew he could do it. For sure the first year after a European championship, not many riders can handle that, I think it’s only Herlings who did that before. He did it, and that means we did a good job, the team all together. Now I think he can grow and grow and hopefully he finishes close to the title.

MXlarge: The Latvian weekend was a great weekend for Husqvarna with Anderson winning the AMA Supercross main, Osborne winning the 250 SX title, and Olsen winning the GP. How nice is it to be working with a company with so much success?

Martens: It’s for sure the nicest team we have worked with. We worked for this, and with Anttis team, and also the team in the US, also with KTM, the factory and Husqvarna Motorsport. Its only three years what we build up now and we have the right person in every department. Everyone is working so hard. Every moment and idea we have they look at, and it’s a great team, everyone together.

MXlarge: Do all these young kids know that Jacky Martens won a world championship on a Husqvarna?

Martens: Yes, they know. Also, my old bike is in the work-shop. We have a museum with Herlings bike and all the other bikes. The more riders I bring to the top, it’s also nice to have some memories and it’s a long history. Nearly 25 years I have a team. I have so much fun with practice or testing and I love working with young riders. Also, Max back on the 450 and doing well and Jeffrey winning again. It’s nice because I knew them and I work with them.

Martens GP wins

1984 Germany (250cc GP)
1987 Sweden
1990 Germany
1990 Luxembourg
1991 Holland
1991 Belgium
1991 Finland
1993 Luxembourg
1993 Italy
1993 Finland
1993 Belgium
1994 Portugal
1994 Holland
1994 Great Britain
1995 Ireland
1995 Austria
1996 Sweden

Images JP/Husky