Kacy Martinez is Carnegie’s most successful professional off road racer. She earned a bronze medal in the X-Games, and was the 2009 AMA female rider of the year, as well as winning multiple WORCS and Western Nat’l Hare Scrambles championships. She has also successfully raced hill climbs and few rounds of the pro women’s motocross series.
This year Martinez is looking to expand her horizons . After three straight years being the women’s professional WORCS champion and second in 2012, she is saying goodbye to the The World Off-Road Championship Series (WORCS) and going back east to race the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC).
First a little background…
WORCS is the premier cross country racing series on the West coast. The races are fashioned along the lines of classic western GP events; about an hour long, with a five mile course and 10 minute lap times. The races challenge every aspect of a rider’s ability from the fast open deserts to technical wooded terrain and to outdoor style motocross. WORCS competition is known more for its high speeds and rough chewed up terrain than anything else.
And GNCC is America’s foremost off-road racing series on the east coast. The 13-round championship is produced exclusively by Racer Productions. Grueling two to three hour GNCC races lead the racers through courses ranging in length from ten to twelve miles, with varying terrain through hills, mud, rocks, roots, motocross and more. GNCC events are tests of both survival and speed.
Kacy Martinez is committed to trying to win the GNCC championship in 2013. At this point (after the fifth round) she is bettering all expectations sitting in first place although anything could happen before the series ends in October. There are eight rounds left and she has her work cut out for her if she wants to get the championship. The competition is fierce.
To win she will have defeat Maria Forsberg who is the defending Enduro X gold medalist and arguably one of the fastest female racers in off-road racing. Forsberg won 4 straight World Off-Road Championship Series titles (WORCS) (2005-2008) and then moved to the Grand National Cross Country Series (GNCC), where she won the series in 2010-2012. She is older and has more experience than the up and comer, Kacy Martinez.
This year the GNCC women’s pro championship is hotly contested. Maria Forsberg, traded first and third places with Jessica Patterson (six time professional women’s motocross champion) with Kacy Martinez sitting in the runner up position in the first (Moose Racing River Ranch) and second rounds (The Maxxis General).
Forsberg won rounds three (FMF Steel Creek) and four (VP Racing Fuels Big Buck) with Martinez still in the runner up position. Martinez’s consistency paid off when she won round five (Rocky Mountain ATV MC Big Buck) and Forsberg came in fifth. At this point Martinez is ahead in the series. She will have to be “on her game” for the rest of the year if she wants to defeat Forsberg.
The first round, Moose Racing River Ranch in Florida didn’t result in many battles for Martinez because she was pretty much riding by herself the whole race. In the next round, the Maxxis General, Forsberg and Martinez were swapping back and forth for a couple of laps in Washington, Georgia. In the end Forsberg got out front while Martinez got stuck behind some lappers allowing Forsberg to pull away and take the win.
In the fourth round at the Big Buck GNCC Nationals in South Carolina Forsberg and Martinez had both competed in the Global X Games EnduroX race in Brazil the Thursday before Sundays race, but they weren’t going to let the 12-plus hours on a plane or a trip across the equator interfere with their battle for the GNCC championship.
Forsberg pulled off the win but she had to battle Martinez with both of them swapping the lead throughout the final stages of the race when the pair came up to a mud hole which had swallowed up a lot of other racers, causing officials to re-route the race. The course worker had his back to Martinez when she came through in the lead. Forsberg was right on her tail and he looked up and signed Forsberg to go another way. Martinez saw what was happening and turned around to follow her rival. This gave Forsberg an advantage on the last lap of the race. She got in front of some lappers in a tight section of the course and went as fast as she could trying to gap Martinez
In the end, Forsberg crossed the line with a final time of 1 hour, 50 minutes, 26 seconds with Martinez finishing in 1:51.02. At that point Forsberg led Martinez by two points in the championship standings. Although Martinez took the runner up position, she knew that she had the speed and could be a frontrunner, competing with Forsberg head-to-head in every race. She also realized that she has to get more comfortable getting around lappers where it counts near the end of the race.
For the fifth round after three consecutive days of rainfall in South Central Kentucky, the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Mammoth GNCC was nothing short of a tough mud fest. The decision was made to combine the morning amateur race with the afternoon pro race in order to salvage as much of the racecourse as possible. With nearly 400 racers, ranging from Pros all the way to C class divisions, taking part in the 1 p.m. race, it was survival of the fittest in Sunday’s condensed two-hour competition.
The pro women’s class also took off at 1 p.m., along with the men’s pro class and top amateurs. Martinez secured her first win of the season, taking over the points lead from Forsberg who ran into a mechanical issue and ultimately finished fifth. See: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/505/16116/Motorcycle-Article/Martinez-Moves-to-Top-of-Womens-GNCC.aspx
Martinez just needs to put all the pieces together and have a little bit of luck to win the series. She has to keep up with her training and stay healthy because she has shown that she has the ability to go fast through all kinds of terrain and win. We won’t know until the end of the year, but it is proving to be close racing and definitely worth watching.
Forsberg and Martinez are both sponsored by KTM, are both highly motivated and they both have really good equipment. It will be an interesting season. The young challenger against the reigning champion.
Martinez is a woman who has always defied expectations. Her accomplishments are remarkable for a twenty-two year old athlete.
When she was little her first love was dance. She was an enthusiastic dancer before she got serious about off road motorcycle racing. It is not surprising considering both sports require grace, coordination, balance, aerobic conditioning and strength.
She might never have become a motorcycle racer if not for her family who took her to Carnegie and went camping almost every weekend as she was growing up. She started riding with her dad when she was eight and quickly made friends with the other youngsters. They competed with each other often bettering their elders in the process. It didn’t take her too long before she started competing in District 36 hare scrambles.
She turned pro when she was fourteen. Her first WORCS race was in 2006 and then from there she did the whole series. Then she raced the GNCCs in 2007. In 2008 she went back to the WORCS series which she raced full time until this year. Being a technical rider and a rider who does better at the longer events the GNCC series should suit her just fine.
Today Martinez is sponsored by Team FMF/RPM/KTM Racing Team, Maxxis , Moose Racing, Motorcycle Superstore, Bell Helmets, Leatt, Fox Shox, X-Brand Goggles, Sidi, Rekluse, Motion Pro, PG, Motorex, Accerbis, Renthal, Mass Brothers.
She rides a KTN 250 SX-F and Fox helps her dial in her suspension (stiff). She trains and rides with her boyfriend Travis Coy (off road racer who recently raced the ISDE in Germany and is her mechanic) and their trainer is Lori Smith (wife and trainer of Rodney Smith: 5-Time GNCC Champion).
She especially wants to thank her family without whose support and encouragement none of this could ever have happened. They have been with her from the very beginning.
Kacy we all wish you the best and hope that you have a good year win or lose.
KACY MARTINEZ RESULTS :
2012 – 2nd place woman’s class in WORCS Series
2011 X-Games Bronze medalist
2011 WORCS Women Pro champion
2010 WORCS Women Pro champion
2009 AMA Female Rider Of The Year
2009 WORCS Women Pro champion
2009 Western Nat’l Hare Scrambles champion
2008 Western Nat’l Hare Scramble champion
2008 East vs. West Shootout champion
2008 2nd. Women WORCS Pro
Update Round 6 Limestone 100 posted on May 20th 2013:
At the Limestone 100 in Springfield Indiana the track conditions were perfect that weekend. KTM’s Hannah Otto got the win, followed by Yamaha pilot Becca Sheets in second and KTM’s Mandi Mastin in third.
Despite missing the race in Indiana, Kacy Martinez remains the overall points leader. Mastain is now tied for second overall with Martinez’s KTM teammate, Maria Forsberg, who also missed the Limestone 100.
Kacy Martinez and Maria Folsberg were both in Barcelona Spain for the X Games Enduro X where Laia Sanz before a home town crowd came back from a first turn crash to take the win. Maria Forsberg battled with frontrunner Sanz taking the silver medal while Sandra Gomez Cantero took the bronze. Tarah Geiger finished fourth ahead of Kacy Martinez, who led in the early going.
Update Round 7 Wiseco John Penton posted on June 8th 2013:
The 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series took to Sunday Creek Raceway in Millfield, Ohio for the 23rd running of the Wiseco John Penton GNCC. KTM finished 1st and 2nd in the Women’s class with Factory FMF/KTM rider Maria Forsberg taking the win and RPM/KTM rider Kacy Martinez finishing 2nd – less than four minutes behind. Becca Sheets came in third. See: http://www.twowheelmania.com/2013/06/05/2013-amsoil-gncc-john-penton-results/
Update Round 8 Parts Unlimited Mountain Run posted on June 17th 2013:
MASONTOWN, W. Va. (June 16, 2013) – Heavy rainfall leading up to Sunday’s Parts Unlimited Mountaineer Run GNCC made for slippery track conditions at Round 8 of the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series. http://www.gnccracing.com/2013/06/16/kailub-russell-wins-the-2nd-annual-parts-unlimited-mountaineer-run-gncc
The course was rocky and the slippery conditions caused quite a few riders to go down. Again in the women’s professional class it was Maria Forsberg coming in with the win. Kacy Martinez, consistent as always, took the runner up position. Martinez is racing her first full season in the long grueling GNCC series and was only about six minutes behind Forsberg when they came in for the checkered flag (2:08:31 vs. 2:14:36).
Update Round 9 Amsoil Showshoe posted July 17, 2013
Both Forsberg and Martinez missed Round 9 the The Snowshoe GNCC in West Virginia because they both went to Germany for Global X Games, leaving just four events to determine the championship. Round 9 was won by Sarah Baldwin with Hannah Otto coming in second and Becca Sheets rounding out the podium
In Germany Maria Forsberg won beating trials rider and enduro X racer extraordinaire Laia Sanz (with 12 Women’s Trials World Championships and Women’s Enduro World Champion in 2012) with Sandra Gomez Cantero in third place.
Spanish rider Laia Sanz had dominated the first two Women’s Enduro X races, in Brazil and Spain, bumping Forsberg into second place.
“Laia is my hero and the toughest competitor I’ve ever come across,” Forsberg said. “It’s an honor to race with her, let alone beat her. And it’s cool to get the win here in the Olympic Stadium on the toughest course we’ve had yet.”
Kacy Martinez made a few mistakes that cost her a lot of time and only managed an eighth place finish in the final.
The next GNCC event the pair will race in will be the Sept. 7 Can-Am Unadilla at Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, N.Y.
Update round 10 Can-Am Unadilla posted September 10, 2013
Round 10 of the GNCC series in Unadilla, New Berlin, New York (September 8th and 9th) resulted in another win for Maria Folsberg with Kacy Marinez in the runner up position less than three minutes behind with Sara Baldwin in third place. Kacy and Maria fought for the lead in the first half of the race until Kacy crashed and lost some time against her rival. If nothing else, Kacy displays remarkable tenacity still finishing a few minutes behind the veteran.
Maria and Kacy, having missed a couple of rounds to contest the Enduro-X in the X Games in Italy and then in Germany, are now ranked number two and three respectively in the GNCC series with Becca Sheets (a top five finisher) sitting in first place overall. However, since everybody will be able to throw out one race, Maria and Kacy will probably sit at the top of the podium by the end of the series. Of course anything can happen and it isn’t over until the fat lady sings. There are three more rounds and Kacy just has to stay consistent and hopefully win a round or two. See: http://www.dirtrider.com/features/gncc-racing-announces-2013-race-schedule/
Check out the video of the Enduro-x in Los Angeles in August : http://www.endurocross.com/videos/blazusiak-takes-enduro-x-gold-at-los-angeles-x-games/ Kacy gets a good start but a few crashes mar her overall results.
Update Round 11 Car-Mate Gusher posted September 24, 2013
GNCC racers raced the scenic and beautiful countryside in Northwestern Pennsylvania on September 20 and 21st for the inaugural running of the Car-Mate Gusher GNCC (the eleventh GNCC round). The race features all new terrain and freshly cut trails run alongside the Alleghaeny and Clanrion Rivers.
The women raced with the Amateurs on Sunday morning where conditions were technical and challenging. Factory FMF/KTM’s Maria Forsberg’s took the women’s class and dominated the Amateur race. “I felt like I was back home in Washington,” said Maria. “The track was muddy and technical with lots of roots and deep ruts, just like at home. I was excited to race in these conditions.”
Maria got the Amateur Overall win after a hard fought battle with off-road racing legend Jeff Fredette, who finished behind Forsberg to take second overall and first place in the Silver Masters (55+) class.
FMF/RPM/KTM’s Kacy Martinez finished second in the Women’s Class, while Sarah Baldwin came in third. Check out U-Tube for a video of the 2013 GNCC Gusher Women.
Maria is once again in the points lead with Kacy in second – 174 to 172 points. It has been close and exciting racing between front runners Maria and Kacy. With two rounds left, the championship will probably come down to the last race.
Round 12 on October 12th will take place in Ohio and round 13 on October 26 will take place in Indiana.
Update Round 12 ITP Powerline Park posted October 14, 2013
The Women’s GNCC Championship was clinched with one round to go in St. Clairsville, Ohio on October 13, 2013, at the penultimate round of the 2013 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series ( Powerline Park, Round Twelve) . After two hours of racing, Factory FMF/KTM’s Maria Forsberg bested FMF/RPM/KTM’s Kacy Martinez by just forty-five seconds to capture her eighth win in the Women’s Class, clinching the 2013 Women’s Class National Championship with one round to go.
Kacy battled for the lead until the last lap where she settled in behind Maria for the runner up position. In doing so she also secured second overall in the Women’s National Championship, again with one round to go.
The twelve mile course was dusty with a few mud holes thrown in for good measure. Kacy said that it had a lot in common with places where she had raced in California and said that she had fun and thoroughly enjoyed racing the event.
Maria and Kacy also came in first and second atop the overall podium beating the rest of the amateur field.
N-FAB/AmPro Yamaha’s , Jessica Paterson, also did well securing third position in the Women’s class and 20th overall for the day (not bad for a motocross racer).
With one race to go Maria secured her fourth GNCC women’s championship and Kacy secured her first 2nd overall in the championship series. Both racers were consistent and neither of them made any drastic mistakes as the series winds to a close.
Maria is the overall champion but Kacy comes in a close second. Kacy is the only one to battle with Maria consistently from one race to the next. It will be interesting to watch the next event where neither of them will have anything to lose, having already secured enough championship points to secure first and second in the series.
Update: Maria Forsberg Announces her Retirement
The fastest female off road racer in the United States, Maria Forsberg, has announced her retirement at the end of this season. This leaves the door open for the other women racers next year. Not only is she fast but she is a wonderful and gracious woman beloved by everyone. See: http://gnccracing.com/2013/10/22/tuesday-toolbox-maria-forsberg
Her best advice for getting faster is to ride with riders faster than yourself. She grew up riding with her brothers, and although at times she struggled, in the end it paid off with X-Games gold medals and ISDE medals as well as being the first factory sponsored woman racer with multiple WORCS and GNCC championships to her credit.
We loved watching you race Maria and wish you the best in the next phase of your life (with your husband and your dogs). I am sure that you will keep up with all the amazing people who have embraced you all these years and helped you become the champion that you are today.
Update Round 13 Amsoil Ironman posted October 30, 2013
“RPM/KTM’s Kacy Martinez earned her second Morning Overall of the season at Ironman on October 27th in Crawsfordsville Indiana, besting her toughest competition of the season Maria Forsberg.”
Jessica Patterson rounded out the podium.
“From tight trails, to technical hillclimbs, gullies, rock sections and creeks, all on top of great dirt, this track is a true test for a cross-country racer’s all-around skills”. The track must have suited Kacy because not only did she beat Maria Forsberg and the rest of the pro women, but she also beat all the amateur men in the morning race.
Maria maintained heavy pressure on Kacy throughout the race in Indiana. Kacy fought hard and ended with a slim three-second advantage at the checkers.
“Kacy deserves this win today,” said Forsberg. “She challenged me all season and I am happy to have raced against her and wish her luck in this series next season.”
Congratulations Kacy! What a way to end the season.