Coming into the 2016 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan, Matt Goerke was fit and ready to do whatever it took to retain his number one plate. However, during the first four rounds, things haven’t exactly gone smooth for the two-time Canadian Champion. After winning the opening moto of the series in Kamloops, Goerke was given a ten position penalty at Round 2 and was involved in a first turn pile up at Round 3 in Calgary. Both incidents kept Goerke off the podium and far away from the MX1 points lead as the 2016 series heads east. However, with some of his favourite tracks waiting for him in the final six rounds, anything is possible and no one knows that better than Matt Goerke. We caught up with the Yamaha star as he puts the west behind him and prepares for the gruelling eastern rounds.
MXP: How have things been going so far for 2016?
MG: Not good! I started off really well by winning the first moto of the season, but after that I’ve had a string of bad luck. I tore up my hand in Kamloops, I was docked 10 positions in Nanaimo and then I was in a first turn pileup in Calgary. So I’ve definitely had some adversity in the first four rounds, but I’m ready to put all that behind me now.
You came into 2016 in great shape and you won right away. Are you happy with your fitness and set up?
I’m happy with my fitness, I worked hard to prepare for this season and it‘s all good. We’re still working on my bike set up a little, but I think we will have it good for the rough tracks of the east.
Have there been any surprises for you?
Just all of the stuff I’ve had to deal with every week so far during the first four rounds. I definitely wasn’t prepared for all of that, but like I said, we’ll work through it and come out stronger in the end.
Like you said, you’ve had a couple of setbacks so far, but it looks as though you’re riding really well.
Thanks, yes, I’m not sure why it’s happening, but it has to end at some point. I’ve been the underdog my entire life so this is nothing new for me. As you can imagine, I’m very excited to be heading east.
I guess if you’re going to have things like this happen, you want them to happen early on in a series.
For sure, I’ve lost a lot of points but we still have twelve more motos on some very tough tracks. These days anything can happen; we’ll just go one round at a time and see what happens.
In 2015, you were very strong in the east. Is that helping you stay positive through this adversity?
Definitely! Like I said, Gopher Dunes is my best track, so I think things will be different from there on.
I was just going to say that I bet you’re looking forward to Round 5 at Gopher Dunes.
Oh yes, Gopher Dunes has been very good to me in the past and I hope it is again this year.
What is it about you and sand? You’re like a kid at the beach.
Haha! I grew up in Florida so I rode it a lot. I guess I was a just a kid playing in the sand.
Obviously you’re a natural sand rider but you must be proud that you’ve become such a well-rounded rider who can win on all surfaces.
For sure! That’s one reason why I moved to California in 2012, so I could practice on completely different tracks than what I was used to.
What do you have to do in the east to keep that #1 plate?
I just need to win and have a little luck go my way this time.
You also have a brand new teammate in Brett Metcalfe, how has that been going?
It’s been good. We get along really well. Both of us have some points to make up so we’re in the same boat heading into the east.
Thanks for doing this Matt. I know I speak for all Canadian race fans when I say that it’s going to be an incredible final six rounds of racing. Best of luck to you and your team.
Thank Chris! Hopefully all of the bad luck is behind me and I can pull this MX1 title out again.