Kenneth “Chicago” Matthie is starting to make a name for himself in Florida.
Well, at least, in Daytona and in Tampa, to be specific, and in the world of motocross, to be even more specific.
Matthie competed in the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Race, where he finished second.
During the tournament, which was held on March 8 and 9, he competed in two races.
“I raced in the plus-25 race, where you had to be over 25 years old to race in it and it had a few pro riders in it,” Matthie says.
“I also raced in the 450c race. In the main event, there were 34 people in one race and it was 30 people in the plus-25 race. There were also qualifying rounds, where there were almost eighty riders trying to qualify.”
After two hard days of racing, including the qualifying rounds, the 80 hopefuls were dwindled down to a select 30 who would take part in the final; Matthie was fortunate to be a part of that group.
“Only 30 of those riders [from the qualifying rounds], made it to the main event and I came second on top of that thirty,” he says.
Just making it to the final race would be considered a special feat by many, but Matthie, then, went on to top that feat by finishing in second place in the main event.
Finishing in the silver medal is a clear testament to Matthie’s riding abilities, but his accomplishment becomes even more impressive once you realise that he has not had a particularly long international racing career.
On the contrary, racing internationally is still very new to him.
“This was my second time competing away,” Matthie adds. “My first time was when I competed in the Tampa Supercross, and that took place [in February] in Florida at the Rogers Stadium.
“I finished second in the Supercross Future race, which is where they take all of the amateur racers and it’s almost like a college or a building stone towards becoming pro, for them.”
The Tampa Supercross certainly proved to be a “building stone” for Matthie as he was able to follow it up, a month later, with an entrance in the Daytona Amateur Race.
Participating in two international racing competitions in the span of two months means that the wheels are surely starting to roll for Matthie.
Still, Matthie admits that the thought of racing overseas was not even something that he would have considered, just three or four years ago.
“I didn’t think about racing away, until the last couple of years,” he says.
“I finally bought a bike in the States and I was about to bring it back to Bermuda, and since it was already away, I decided to race it.
“So I just signed up for a Supercross event, and apparently I did good, and when the news got back home, the [Bermuda Motorcycle Racing Club] wanted to send me out to do another race and so that’s how I got the opportunity to go to Daytona.”
The BMRC even provided money to assist Matthie in being able to go to Daytona.
Competing in international races may be new to Matthie, but riding motocross, certainly is not.
Matthie, 26, first started riding motocross when he was seven years old, meaning that he has almost 20 years of experience in the sport, behind him. His passion for riding started very close to home.
“My Uncle Reggie [Matthie] was the pioneer,” he says. “He was the first in the family to really like [motocross racing], but I also had another uncle, my Uncle Gap, and also my Dad and my cousin CJ, they were riding when I was a little kid, they were racing before me, so I watched them when I was real, real young and I wanted to do what they were doing. My Dad, Kenny Mills, a PHC [Zebras] legend, would even skip football games to take me and my brothers racing.”
It is fair to say that Matthie’s family played a big part in introducing him to the sport of motocross, and, even today, he keeps his family in mind, as he races.
He wears the No 638 on both his riding shirt and his bike; this number holds great significance to him.
“I got the number from my brother [Ezariah “Ezra” Matthie], he used to race with me, he was my younger brother and he passed away from a tragic accident and his number was 6,” Matthie says.
“I also have one of my best friends, who passed away, Dale Boorman, and his number was 38, so I combined the two numbers into 638, to represent those two while I am racing abroad.”
Matthie chooses to go by the name “Chicago”, a name that he says he was given, primarily, because of his grandfather’s choice in music.
“My grandpa loved the band ‘Chicago’ in the 70s”, he explains
And so, Matthie was given ‘Chicago’ as his middle name and the name has stuck. As he continues to make strides on the Florida motocross scene, the name ‘Chicago Matthie’, may soon become a well-known in the motocross circles in Florida, and, not to mention, Bermuda.
Matthie credits his success in racing to his faith. “God was definitely with me, the whole way,” he says. “I’m a very firm believer in Jesus Christ and I put Him first. Every time, I hop on a bike, I say a prayer.”