GNCC Racing

Tuesday Toolbox: Andrew Matusek

Tuesday Toolbox: Andrew Matusek

Tuesday, April 3, 2018 | 1:40 PM
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 | 1:40 PM

Thirty-year-old Andrew Matusek is a former GNCC XC2 rider from Franklin, Georgia. He currently makes a living as a Motocross and Arenacross coach. After a ten-year break from the GNCC series, he has returned this season to compete in the Vet A (30+) Bike class. So far this season he has won twice and placed third once, putting him in the points lead. I caught up with Andrew to discuss his former racing career, his current coaching programs, and what he expects out of this season.

Matusek started racing GNCC in 2003, and has returned to race the Vet A (30+) class.
Matusek started racing GNCC in 2003, and has returned to race the Vet A (30+) class. Ken Hill So, how about you start off by telling us how you got into this sport.
Andrew Matusek:
Sure. My dad rode when I was young, but my parents told me that I had to learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels before I could get a dirt bike. I was highly motivated after that. Just before my 3rd birthday I dropped the training wheels and I got a Suzuki jr50 for my 3rd birthday! I was hooked; I learned most of my colors and numbers from watching supercross tapes on repeat.

And can you tell me a little bit about your history with the GNCC series. I know you raced XC2 in the first year of the class. Did you race GNCCs at all before then?
That is correct, I raced XC2 in 2008. But I first started racing the GNCC Series in 2003. I raced a year in the 200C class, then one year in B class and 3 years in an A class for Team Green.

Up until this season, it looks like the last time you chased the series was that year in 2008 though. Why did you leave?
When I began racing XC2 in 2008 I had a rough start to the year. I dislocated my shoulder in Florida. I was able to bounce back for a few podiums in XC2 and top 10 overall finishes though. In 2009 I unfortunately lost all factory support and at the time, I felt that I was unable to continue racing at the XC2 level without adequate support.

So it looks like one thing you’ve been up to during those years is training motocross racers. How long have you been doing that?
I started teaching kids 10 years ago. At first I had small clinics and over time they grew into what is now The Hazardous MX family. I started teaching kids with hopes of making each of them safer, smarter, faster riders and take kids from any level and build them into champions.

Matusek is currently a motocross/arenacross coach, and has The Hazardous MX.
Matusek is currently a motocross/arenacross coach, and has The Hazardous MX. Ken Hill

Definitely a worthy goal! I assume based on the fact that Hazardous MX is geared towards toward motocross and arenacross that you also compete or competed in those disciplines?
Yes, I am currently racing both high profile amateur mx nationals as well as the GNCC Series, some of my mx highlights over the years have included: Loretta Lynn’s in ’94, Ponca City ’94, Ponca City ’96, a second place finish in 25+ at Loretta Lynn’s in 2012 (right behind Ricky Carmichael), and another second place finish at Loretta Lynn’s, this time in the 30+ class in 2017

Can you tell me a little bit about your training philosophy, if you have one?
Yes, I follow the Montessori teaching style. I learned about it growing up because my mother teaches at a Montessori school, and I attended one myself from the time I was three years old until the 9th grade. In a Montessori school, you give the kids the how and the why of what they are doing, physically show them the tasks at hand and provide an environment where learning can take place naturally at the child’s own pace. Most importantly, you pay attention to each child as an individual to observe the areas they struggle in and help them learn in the way most suited to their learning style. Once mastery is shown, they are allowed to progress on to more advanced topics. As applied to motorcycle racing, one thing we often do ask the kids what they “feel” in different sections so we are able to first identify and then strengthen their weaknesses. We take riding back to the basics; especially in the areas they are struggling with, and help them improve those areas by drilling fundamental core controls of the bike. We also give them background knowledge to understand what their bike is doing and why, which we believe helps them learn how to control it better.

That’s really interesting! So what does an average day of work look like for you?
Honestly, my workday varies quite a bit. I travel between multiple private track locations and train athletes throughout the week as well as on the weekends. I train riders both on and off the bike. Depending on the race schedule I have a 2-3 day heart rate based workout schedule I tie in with my own personal on the bike time during training.

And you will need some of that on-the-bike-time, since after ten years you’re competing in the GNCC series again, this time in the Vet A class. Why did you decide to make a comeback?
I wanted to come back so that as an athlete and trainer I can continue to grow whether it is myself racing in the future or teaching our future champions. With the tracks and obstacles evolving so does the riding and training, and the best way to be prepared to coach riders through those changes is to have experienced them yourself.

Matusek earned two wins and a third place so far in 2018. 
Matusek earned two wins and a third place so far in 2018.  Ken Hill

Will any of your racers be competing in the series as well?
Yes, there are several: Gabe Holland 85cc (12-13), Garyson Smith 85cc (12-13), Cody Gerhard Sportsman A, Gerik Oberster 125 B/C and Hunter Neuwirth XC2

What are your personal plans and goals for the season?
Mostly just to continue learning throughout the year. I feel I have a solid base and we got quite a few of the small kinks worked out of the first few rounds. I’d like to wrap up the vet A championship early and move up a few rows!

Anything else you’d like to tell me about what you’ve got going for this season?
I would like to expand my Montessori style training into the off-road world. Teaching kids/athletes the how and why of what their bike does in different situations helps to build overall control and confidence and in turn make them better and safer riders. Control + confidence = speed!

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for you. Who would you like to thank?
I would like to thank everybody who has supported me over the years with your unconditional support, my mom and dad, Todd Hicks and Aaron West at Fox, Tim Castrone at Suzuki, Kyle Dangler and Joel at FMF, Mike Sauer at Cometic, Al Pizzino at Wiseco, Mark Hendricks at Twin Air and Moto Master, Christina and Chris at Roost mx, Jeff Hill with Hills tuning, everybody at Max Motorsports, David Smith, Doug and Heidi Douchette and all who have played such a vital role throughout my racing/training endeavors.