By Garth Johnstone
When Matt Green was just 4 years old he got a PW50 bike to ride around his parents’ farm in the Kamberg.
The youngster was bitten by the motorbike bug and, with a love of the outdoors, has never looked back. Today, at 17, he is a professional with the Pepson Plastics Husqvarna team, has competed overseas and recently made a big splash at the famous Roof of Africa event’s 2018 edition.
Matt, whose dad is a potato and beef farmer, gradually progressed to bigger bikes. He first raced a KTM65 when he was 11 years old.
“I always enjoyed riding around the farm with my dad. Then, in 2011 (aged 10), I started riding socially at my friend’s farm, and we went to do a fun ride. I did really well and loved it, so we decided to start doing the KZN Harescramble races. I then also did the Man and Machine on the 65cc, which was my first real Enduro.
“That year, I started riding twice a week in Hilton and haven’t stopped.
“We are so lucky to have some of the best riding in the world in Hilton. I do most of my training in the Hilton/Bulwer area. I, however, still love to ride with my dad and have some fun around the farm.”
Matt says he was fortunate to be sponsored by Kargo Racing from 2012 (aged 11), when he started doing the national junior off-roads.
“There was never any pressure to get results, it was more for the enjoyment of riding. I still look at racing like this, even though I am now racing for a professional team.”
He says he has been fortunate to be relatively injury free, pointing out that Enduro riding is generally safer than some forms of offroad biking, as it is slower and more technical.
He has, however, broken a wrist, ribs and torn an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
The Kamberg ace attained junior provincial colours in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and KZN senior colours in 2015. He was awarded Protea senior colours for motorsport in December last year.
Describing being a professional bike rider, Matt says: “I have been very lucky to be part of the Husqvarna Factory Racing Team. Racing at such a competitive level is hard to do alone. Having my sponsors at the races takes the pressure off my parents, as there are specialists to help me.”
Other sponsors include Liqui Moly, Fox Racing South Africa and Metzeler.
Matt’s goals for now are to continue riding professionally and, ultimately, to make a name for himself on the international scene. This year, he will be racing a Husqvarna FE 250 (four-stroke).
Some of his achievements include racing in Romania at Red Bull Romaniacs, known as “The World’s Hardest Enduro”. There he placed sixth in the Silver Class after five days of racing. He also performed well at the Sea to Sky event in Turkey.
Coming sixth in the Gold Class at the Roof of Africa last year was another career highlight.
Matt said his family is incredibly supportive.
“My dad, Mike, really supports me with my riding. My mom, Penny, has dedicated herself to driving me to and from training whenever I need a lift. I have an older sister, Kathryn, who has just finished her first year of medicine at the University of
Pretoria. I feel really lucky to have my whole family supporting me with my riding.”
When he’s not on a motorbike, he enjoys cycling with friends, clay pigeon shooting, fishing and “anything adventurous”.