Zeeland man eyes motocross pro debut


MARTIN, Mich. (WOOD) — Matt Carpenter’s childhood playground was much different than most his age.

From an interview he did in 2008, Carpenter said “I just want to hit the gas and go.”

Since he was five, that’s exactly what he’s been doing.

When he was young, he competed at county fairgrounds and local tracks. As he got older, “We started going all over the country,” Carpenter said.

That’s because it was very clear that racing motocross was not just a passion for the 20-year-old Zeeland resident. He was really good.  

“It used to be big things when I was on little bikes, like hitting a jump, or hitting the corner, hitting the inside,” Carpenter said. 

After 15 years of racing, Carpenter has accumulated countless trophies and roughly 75 wins as an amateur

“I will definitely be nervous,” Carpenter said. 

Nervous about his professional debut this weekend at the RedBud National in Buchanan on the Lucas Oil Pro Motorsports Series.

“We want to prove that I am good enough to race with the best in the world,” Carpenter said.

In this case, the we, is Matt and his dad, Phil, who is always with his son helping work on the bike and doing whatever he can. 

“For me to see him reach the pinnacle of the sport,” Phil said.  “I just think it’s going to be a great story to tell his kids and grandkids.”

Especially if he can find a way to win. Most of the drivers Carpenter is racing against have factory support and have been racing full time since they were 10 years old.   

“These pro racers have done it all,” said Matt. “They’ve gone through what I’ve gone through and they’ve done more.”

Maybe on the track, but off it, that’s not true. Carpenter is a full-time student at Ferris State University, works a full-time job, and still finds time to hone his dirt skills with the best in the world.  

“A lot of people don’t realize how physically demanding it is and all the time that goes on behind the scenes for the track. All that stuff adds up,” Carpenter said. “To do all this with just me and my dad, it really would be a big accomplishment.”

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