#ICYMI | Catching Up with…Matt Goerke
By Billy Rainford
Matt Goerke is no stranger to the winner’s circle up here in Canada but this latest championship didn’t come easily. In fact, the final round at RJ’s in Barrie, Ontario, probably took several years off the lives of Matt and his entire team as he battled from the back of the pack to capture his 3rd Canadian title (2012, 2015, 2017).
Matt is down in Florida, where he lives, getting ready to make a run at the Rockstar Triple Crown $100 000 first prize in the newly formed Canadian series that will take the riders through Arenacross, Motocross, and finally Supercross.
We grabbed him for a talk to get his thoughts on it all.
Direct Motocross: Hey, Matt. How are you doing?
Matt Goerke: Oh, pretty good. I go back to the doctor next week and hopefully he says I can start riding.
Wow, you’re still not back on the bike? Can you tell everyone what happened?
Ya, just a first turn crash at that first race in Germany. I guess a handlebar or something just hit me in the wrong place on my arm and broke my ulna. I got a plate put in it. It doesn’t bother me, I feel like I could ride now, but I want to be safe because we’ve got a little bit of time. I think, after next week, he’s going to tell me I can start riding.
Let’s talk about your 3rd Canadian championship. How would you rank this one?
I mean, they were all awesome, but this one did feel really good. It might have been the best one because I had a lot of competition and going against (Christophe) Pourcel for the championship was tough. He was a good rider. I figured that out right away. I had to work hard to make sure I beat him. It felt great to win this championship. I think it was the best feeling to win this one.
And you didn’t make it easy on yourself or your team. That final round at RJ’s was an exciting one!
(Laughs) Ya, I know. When I think back on it, there are a few things I could have done differently, and I could have won it a lot easier. I mean, I couldn’t fix the part where my chain derailed. I did a few things throughout the season like fall in the first turn at Gopher (Dunes) and changed my settings for the second moto that I feel like I could have done better, but the last round, I don’t know what happened that first moto.
I had that crash and then I got up and panicked, I guess, and then stalled it. Then I had to calm down and just had to catch up. I felt like I rode good the rest of that moto and caught up.
The next moto I knew I just needed to get the holeshot to make it easy on myself and I did. I was pumped on that.
That last lap battle with Pourcel in Prince George was an exciting one. He beat you by a nobby. Can you take us through that?
Ya, I thought I had it. I was just trying to protect my inside lines and there was that lapper in the very last corner which slowed down my speed a little bit and he just had a good line on the outside and carried more momentum down that straightaway. There wasn’t much I really could have done. I guess I should have just tried to pull a way a little more on that last lap, but it just happens. It was crazy. I saw the video and it was pretty crazy how close we were at the finish. It sucked for me at that race but at least I won the championship in the end.
Did you know Christophe before or did you speak with him much at the races?
No. I knew who he was, obviously, but I didn’t know him. And then at the beginning we were getting along good, battling and stuff, but then at the end, of course, we were both going for a championship, so there was tension, ya know.
He seemed all right. At the end, he was trying to get in my head, which didn’t work. I did learn a lot racing against him. I feel like I got smarter as a racer. After that Prince George race, I started thinking a lot more when I was racing against him than I have before because he’s tricky. He’s a tricky rider to race.
What did you guys do to celebrate the championship? Did you go anywhere? What did you do?
No, we were renting a house down here in Panama City Beach and we had to move out within a month of winning the championship, so we had to find a house to buy. We bought a house just down the road. So we’ve just been working on this house, fixing it up trying to make it nicer.
We’re by the beach. We live on the golf course right across the street from the bay. The whole neighbourhood is on the bay. It’s a nice area.
You guys have been getting some cold way down there too though, right?
Ya, it’s been colder than it’s ever been! The Canadians from my team cam down yesterday, Steve (Simms) and Josh (Cox), and they thought it was warm, kind of. I’m freezing!
You mentioned your crash and injury. Can you take us through what happened?
Ya, I was feeling good in practice and qualifying. I qualified up front. It was just a first turn pile up. I went to pick up my bike and I felt my arm click and I was like, “Oh crap, I broke my arm.” I just left my bike there and walked away to the paramedics. It could have been worse. I’ve had way worse injuries. At least it was a bone and not the ligaments.
So what have you been doing to stay busy?
Painting. We’ve decided to paint the entire inside of the house. Man, it takes a lot longer than I expected! I thought we’d get it done in one weekend…we’ve been doing it for like a month! I’ve just been trying to get better and working out. It’s pretty boring. I can’t wait to get back to riding.
I made a gym room in the new house. I work out in there right now because it’s so cold. I’ve got an X Bike a row machine in there, a treadmill, and then a bunch of equipment. I’ve just been doing a whole bunch of cardio.
How bummed are you not to be at either A1 or the Amsiol Arenacross this weekend?
Ya, I’m pretty bummed to not be at either of them. I’m getting excited just to watch this weekend, but hopefully this Canadian series will be really good. I’ll be pumped when that starts.
I have to ask, who’s your pick for the 450 win at A1 this week?
I’m gonna go with (Ken) Roczen. I mean, I think (Eli) Tomac might win it, but I wanna see Roczen win it after coming back from that bad injury. It sounds like he’s been working hard to get back to where he was. I think he’s gonna be good.
So, your goal for 2018 is the $100 000 Rockstar Triple Crown money, right?
Ya, for sure.
What’s next for you? You mentioned the team just got down to Florida.
They’re just going to test with Dillan (Epstein) he’s here, too. I’m gonna go out there a little later today and just hang out and watch. They’re gonna test with him and just kind of set my bike up for when I start riding. I’m not sure after that, if I’ll get to test before the first race, but I’ve been riding with the team and Yamaha for long enough and I know what I’m gonna want anyway.
What’s your relationship like with Dillan?
I just met him last year, but he seems really cool so he should be a good teammate.
You guys could be pretty close in speed, so that could get pretty tense as the season goes too!
(Laughs) Ya, I know. I know he’s gonna be one of the top competitors, for sure.
How old are you now and how many years do you have left in you?
I’m 31. And the other day I was thinking about that. I was thinking I’m getting kind of old, but I don’t feel like quitting and I felt good this last summer. I want to do 3 more years after this year, so 4 more years. I think I can do that. I don’t feel like I want to retire at all. I just cringe at the thought of retiring. It’s so boring when you’re not racing. I can go to 35. A lot of guys are still fast at 35.
Having this injury made me think about it. I don’t want to retire like most people do at this age. I get anxious sitting around just thinking that I can’t ride. I don’t want to retire…maybe never (Laughs).
What would you do after retirement?
I’m working on that. I’m trying to start a couple different businesses. I would like to own my own business and do that. I want to keep doing something exciting and taking risks kind of like racing. Maybe I’ll do something like Endurocross, I don’t know.
OK, well let’s wrap it up there. Thanks for talking with us today, Matt. Good luck getting back on the bike. Who would you like to thank?
Ya, for sure. I’d like to thank Rockstar, OTSFF, Yamaha, Atlas Brace, 100% Goggles, Alpinestars, Fly Racing, Factory Connection, and Pirelli.
Hey, one last thing! I saw that video of Cole Thompson hitting that massive double over there at MP County Line.
Ya, that thing is big! Everybody always talks about doing it. I said I’m not doing it until someone else does it, but I saw Thompson did it. That was pretty cool.
Now you can pressure Dillan to do it.