Up to Speed: Matt Goerke

Thirty-year-old Matt Goerke just returned to AMSOIL Arenacross competition after a one-year hiatus from the most intense motorcycle racing on the planet. At the opening round in Cincinnati, Matt finished third in the 250AX Class with a 4-3 on his factory-supported Team Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, in association with Rock River and Cycle Trader. We caught up with Matt via telephone today to get up to speed and see what he’s been working on heading into this weekend for Round 2 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Matt, walk us through Cincinnati. What’s it like to be back racing AMSOIL Arenacross?

Yeah, it didn’t go as planned. I skipped a year because I tore my rotator cuff, so I missed Monster Energy Supercross and AMSOIL Arenacross for a whole year. I came back this year, and we had tested and stuff. I thought everything was good coming in, but when I got there and did practice, my bike setup was off; I guess because it’s always different at the races. So, basically, all day, every single time I went on the track, we changed something, like we made some big changes, too, on the bike. By the second main, it finally felt pretty comfortable, and I finally rode better, too, but it took all day. I have to say though my mechanic and Mike Haist from Factory Connection were awesome because every change they made was better, and we made a lot of changes throughout the day. 

What were you changing?

Mostly the suspension all day. The motor a little bit, but mostly the suspension. I can’t explain it, honestly. It was just different and I don’t know why it was so much different than when we tested. But now I think we know what to do and Mike Haist is making me all new settings for this weekend, so I trust that he knows exactly what to do. I think this weekend it should be good.

The last time we saw you racing AMSOIL Arenacross, you were riding for Team Monster Energy AMSOIL Babbitt’s Kawasaki. What have you been up to since then?

In 2015, I went to the Canadian Nationals for Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, and I won the championship that year. Last year, I was on that team again in Canadian Nationals and I got second. This year, they decided for the next two years to do AMSOIL Arenacross and Canadian Nationals and offered me a good deal. It’s kind of cool to stick with that same team that we’ve had some good success with, so I’m pretty pumped on that. I’m happy to race AMSOIL Arenacross again and be on that same team and then I’ll still do Canadian Nationals. I really like the positon I’m in right now.

In the first main event, you were second after the start and finished fourth. Then, in the second main, you made a last lap pass to finish third. How were your starts?

My starts were decent, not great. I kept messing up coming out of this one turn and I cased that triple three or four times and got passed. That was one of my worst races ever; my wrist is even all bruised from just casing that triple. In the second main, the last half of it, I finally started feeling like myself and started catching up and got up to third.

So, by the last lap of the last race, you were dialed?

Yeah, I think my best lap time of that race was the second-to-last lap or something. The last three laps were all close and they were my best times the whole race.

How has your health been of late?

My endurance and everything is good. I’m healthy. I’m in great shape. Everything’s good and I think we’ll have the bike good this weekend now, so I’m pumped for the weekend. I mean, as bad as the day started, I guess I’m happy with a third. I wanted to win but with all stuff I had to deal with that day, I’m pretty happy with a third.

What are you planning to work on as the season continues?

They’re going to change a bunch of stuff this week, they already have, so this weekend I’ll have my bike better and I’m working on a couple of different things that I noticed myself this week, so I should have it all together this weekend.

Then you can run up front with those guys?

Yeah, for sure, I know I can, I should, and I will.

Anyone you want to thank?

My team Rockstar Energy/OTSFF/Yamaha, Factory Connection, Pirelli tires and all of our other sponsors, they’re great.