Marty Smith was the first ever AMA 125cc motocross champion in 1974. He then went on to win two additional Championship titles in 1975 and 1977. During his career he has won 18 career nationals in 125cc, 250cc, and 500cc. Marty Smith is the rider who started it all and this is his story...
Marty Smith was born in San Diego, California on November 26, 1956. He began riding at a very young age with his father, Al, a local firefighter. Marty gained experience riding in the desert but at the age of fourteen, he got his first taste of racing at the Carlsbad motocross track. Despite technical problems, he was able to charge from the back of the pack and win fifth place overall. Marty began competing more and soon started winning races at various Southern California tracks. He was a fast rider but he also rode with his head, "I always wanted to be in control and during my career, this approach kept me from a lot of the injuries that most motocrossers encounter."
1973 was the year that Marty Smith achieved his first major victory in the Hangtown Motocross Classic. This win opened many doors for the young rider, including the opportunity to be a Honda factory rider in 1974. Marty was still in high school when he began his first full season on the AMA circuit. Even though Marty was only seventeen at the time, 1974 would be the year that changed it all.
On April 8, 1974, Marty Smith won the first ever 125cc Motocross Championship race at Hangtown in Northern California. At the time, Marty made history by being the youngest rider to earn an AMA Motocross Championship title.
By the following year (1975) the 125cc class had expanded and came to include more talented riders. Marty still dominated the class winning six out of the seven rounds, this amazing feat awarded him the No.1 plate. Marty Smith did not stop there; he also raced in select rounds in both the 250cc and 500cc nationals and managed to finish within the top ten in each of the series. Marty ended 1975 with a bang by winning the inaugural 125cc United States Grand Prix of Motocross at Mid-Ohio.
1977 was another great year for the California native. He was on the top of his game and demonstrated his natural ability when he beat his archrival, Bob Hannah, in the 1977 500cc AMA Motocross Championship. This was his third and final championship win.
Marty Smith had an amazing career and is still remembered as the 125cc rider that started it all. Today, Marty enjoys spending time with his family. He and his wife, Nancy, have been married for almost thirty years. They have two daughters, one son, and two grandchildren. Marty currently owns a motocross clinic, and takes pleasure in teaching aspiring riders. Marty's son, Tyler Smith, began his racing career in the early 2000's and Marty takes great pride in training him and witnessing him become a great rider.