Where Are They Now: Jeff MatiasevichThursday, May 18, 2006 | 11:59 AM
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The following year, Matiasevich joined the 250 class for Team Kawasaki and was instantly competitive, winning the Las Vegas Supercross and then the ’91 Kenworthys 250 National. But most of ’91 and ’92 were difficult for Matiasevich as he struggled with bike setup and management.
“I just wasn’t happy with my bikes during that time,” Matiasevich recalls. “For whatever reason, I wasn’t comfortable with the bike setup, and it made it no fun to ride. I was having a hard time getting motivated to ride a bike I didn’t like, much less train for the races.”
After up-and-down results during his stay with Kawasaki, he signed with Team Suzuki for the ‘93 season, hoping that a change of colors would restore his desire to ride and train. It wouldn’t, and Chicken was once again frustrated with his bikes.
“I just really wanted to have a bike that I liked to ride,” Jeff says. “That year, my bikes were really good, and even as a privateer I had some pretty decent finishes.”
At the end of that season, Kawasaki made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: They wanted to hire him to race the Japanese Nationals for Kawasaki of Japan. It wasn’t the U.S. series, but it was a significant amount of money for less than a dozen rounds, and Jeff agreed to the terms. He went on to dominate the Japanese motocross championships in ‘95, ‘96, and ‘97 before retiring in 1998.
For the next few years, Jeff spent most of his time at home with his wife, Ruby, and their three children. “I really didn’t do much,” he laughs. “I was actually bored out my mind during that time!” So Jeff went to work for his father’s company, Vegland, in Fullerton, CA. The family-run company sells and distributes produce nationwide, and Jeff still works there today.
While Jeff is currently separated from his wife, his three boys, Ryan, David, and Jacob, all have bikes and love to go riding with him. He has also dabbled a little here and there with AMA Supermoto. And when he does show up at Anaheim or Glen Helen or wherever to watch, Jeff Matiasevich is still almost always smiling.
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Australian Dean Ferris hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of his legendary countrymen. Now contesting the FIM Grand Prix series, he made a huge impression at the Motocross of Nations. Page 138.