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Local motocross pro using fitness to excel

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YORK COUNTY – He started racing motorcycles when he was four years old. Now 27, Matt Hougentogler of Wrightsville has accomplished his dream of becoming a professional motocross racer. He quickly discovered you need to be in peak physical condition to race dirt bikes at an elite level.

“You’re wrestling with a 230-pound machine for 30 minutes straight, you’re all out,” he explained. “You’re heart rate is at 180 beats per minute the entire time you are out there. It’s like being in an all out sprint for 30 minutes straight, two times.”

"Matt is a naturally skilled racer," complimented his trainer Yasin Sharif. "But he had some tremendous challenges with strength, conditioning and cardio. His results didn't allow him to finish when he started so he's made some tremendous improvements in those areas."

As a private racer, Matt pays his own way with the help of his family. His sister Jessica is the manager. His Dad Jerry is the mechanic. They've made plenty of calls to their doctor but despite the falls, there's never a doubt he will get up and get back on the track.

"It's in your blood," he confessed. "You just can't stop. I've been hurt multiple times and the whole time you're lying in bed, you're hurt but it's a sickness. You want to be back on the bike."

He works a full-time job at a body shop and races all over the country on weekends. During the rest of the time, he makes sure to be in the right shape to compete.

"Being fit is the only way you can go fast on a dirt bike."