GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Marty Christofferson

Tuesday Toolbox: Marty Christofferson

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 | 7:30 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Marty Christofferson arrived on the scene just a few short years ago. The history books show that he raced some in 2012, winning Unadilla in the Jr A class and then came back in 2013 to win the Jr A Championship. Since then, he has moved into the XC2 ranks where he earned 3rd place for the season last year and is currently sitting 2nd in points behind the famed Cole Richardson. caught up with Marty to ask a few questions. Looking at facts and figures on paper, you’re having a pretty solid year! 8 podiums so far and second in points in the XC2 Pro-Am class. How would you say your year is going?
Marty Christofferson: It’s good! I knew going in that Cole would be hard to beat. He’s the returning champ and he’s just plain fast. But going into Florida, I wasn’t real sure what to expect. We came out of there with a second place position and I was really excited! I know a lot of my competitors spend time in Florida over the winter. I can’t do that. I have a full time job and it takes all my vacation time just to do the 13 race weekends throughout the season. Coming out of there second in points was a great way to start off.

Obviously, you don’t park the bike at the end of October and let it sit! Since you can’t make it to Florida to train, what do you do?
I ride in the snow! I live in Richford, NY (Central NY) and there’s a local motocross series that runs at Broome-Tioga, not too far from me. I get some seat time that way, and just ride when I can. I think that was a true advantage for me going into Florida. I was able to maintain that momentum for the 1st half of the year.

It looks like you were on the podium 6 out of 7 races through the 1st half!
Yeah, and then I started to struggle. I missed the top 3 at Penton and Snowshoe and then we were into the summer break. All I could do was focus on what I could do. My girlfriend, Katelyn Osburn (WXC ATV racer), switched from a Suzuki to a Honda over the summer. I’ve been on Honda’s most of my life, so I knew how to get it dialed. We did a lot of riding, testing and set up over the summer. We both came out swinging at Unadilla. She won the WXC class and I got the best finish of my career with a 7th overall and 2nd in class!

That’s the way to rebound! I guess Unadilla is your hometown race?
It seems that way, although, Tomahawk is actually closer. But, Unadilla has been on the schedule for so long that it seems home. There’s a lot of allure. People travel from the New England area to participate. It’s always been a high-energy race. I was really pumped with the results. The machine worked great. It was a rough track this year, like it always is, but I was able to push to the end and had a lot of fun!

Like many other racers, Marty splits his time between racing and a full-time job.
Like many other racers, Marty splits his time between racing and a full-time job. Photo: Ken Hill

You mentioned that you’ve spent a lifetime on Hondas. Any reason?
Not really. Just always liked them. Nothing against anyone else, but I know these bikes and they’re affordable to maintain. My first bike was actually a Suzuki 50 and then I moved to a 300EX and on up to a 400EX. That’s when I started racing. The local series back then didn’t have youth classes. Plus, my dad never raced. I was on my own but I loved to ride. So when I was 16, I was able to race my 400EX. I did a WYNOA race and did awful! I started doing some local motocross and was able to do that right up until I went to college. 

I see a lot of people give up their college ambition for racing. But you did both?
College was pretty important to my parents. They pushed me. Plus, my dad works at a local community college, so I was able to do the first two years for very little cost. It certainly wasn’t my dream, but I’m glad my parents pushed me. I was able to live at home and still race. I continued motocross, but there was a lot of travel and I didn’t have a lot of time because of school. So I tried WYNOA again, and with better results. Most of the races were within an hour and a half from home. I moved on to a 4-year program and graduated in 2011. In 2012, I had a job and could afford to give the nationals a try and that’s kind of what brought me here! 

Right! It looks like you got feet wet in 2012 in the Jr A Class and then came out full time in 2013?
That’s pretty much how it went. I had a lot of fun racing the nationals and was improving my skills, so I went after that championship in 2013. I wrapped it up with one race to go, so I jumped into XC2 at Ironman 2013. And then like you said, I raced XC2 all of 2014 and got 3rd in points and I’m sitting 2nd in points right now.

Marty has been a consistent podium threat throughout the 2015 season, finishing a career best 7th overall at Unadilla.
Marty has been a consistent podium threat throughout the 2015 season, finishing a career best 7th overall at Unadilla. Photo: Ken Hill

So how old are you, Marty?
I’m 26!

And you started racing when you were 16? You have a 4-year college degree? You have a full-time job? And you’re competitive on the national level?
That’s all true! It’s not easy. It’s been a lot of work, but I’m fortunate that at this point in my life. I’m able to fund my dream! I still live at home and am trying to save money for a house. I know my parents would rather that I work and save money. They didn’t grow up with a racing obsession and they see how much this costs, but they still support me 100%.

It’s worth pointing out that you started late, worked hard, did college and are still pursuing your dream! What did you get your degree in?
When I first started community college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I took general ed courses. Then I transferred to SUNY-Cortland to finish up my last two years. A couple guys from Cornell came in and spoke during one of my classes about “environmental health.” I thought that sounded pretty cool. I knew I didn’t want a desk job, but needed something with variety and this sounded like something I wanted to explore. I did an internship at Cornell and graduated with a degree in Environmental Health and safety.

So what does your job look like?
After I graduated, I went to a manufacturing plant with 700 – 800 employees and did OSHA compliance stuff. I learned the ropes and then took a job with an underground salt mine here in NY. It’s pretty interesting! This is the salt that is used for de-icing the roads. It’s dug out of a mine 2,300 feet below the ground. It’s actually under a fresh water lake. It’s definitely different! Stuff I’ve never done before, but I’m really enjoying it and glad my parents pushed me to go to school!

Marty's 2016 plans are up in the air. Will we see him make a bid for the XC2 Pro-Am class title, or will he make the move to XC1?
Marty's 2016 plans are up in the air. Will we see him make a bid for the XC2 Pro-Am class title, or will he make the move to XC1? Photo: Ken Hill

That’s pretty awesome! So while you were going to school and doing WYNOA, did you win any championships?
No! I didn’t win any championships until after I graduated. I got 3rd in WYNOA my last year of college (2011) and then a couple 2nds. It wasn’t until last year that I won the AA Championship! I was able to repeat this year, but my goal is still the Nationals.

So what does the future hold?
We’ve got two races left this year. Cole already locked up the championship in XC2. He might or might not move up to the XC1 class. Regardless, I’ve got to get that first win and will be pretty upset if I don’t!

So what about next year? You have your plans laid out?
No! That’s a “wait and see” thing. I don’t know if I’m going to move up or stay in the XC2 class another year. I know I’ve only got a couple years left to put 100% into racing. I’m so glad I listened to some good advice a few years back. One was to “do it now!” Chase the dream, see where I land. If I didn’t, then I would always regret it. I think that was sound advice. Another thing that was told me was to not get ahead of myself. I wanted to jump to the XC2 class back in 2013. But instead, I was advised to stay in Jr A, learn to ride up front and learn to win. That was positively great advice! So I’m kicking around my options for next year with my friends and sponsors. We might not know until Florida, but I’ll be there!

We look forward to seeing you on the track these last two races! Good luck and who would you like to thank?
Dillinger's Celtic Pub & Eatery, Hygear Suspension, Moose Racing, Houser Racing, Dirtworks Motorsports, Powermadd, Precision, GBC Motorsports, Custom Axis, Tire Balls, HMF, IQ Equipment, Holbrooks Precast, Action Sports Cortland, TC Racing Engines, Teixeira Tech, BRM Off Road, Drew Peters, Ross Benson, all my friends, my girlfriend, and last but not least, my family.