North Liberty brothers racing on professional, semi-pro circuits

PERU, Ind. (WNDU) --- How many people can say they are living their dreams? It's a reality for two dirt bike racing brothers in North Liberty.

"For me to actually get here -- and it work out -- is actually really cool," remarked Mike Witkowski.

Mike turned pro when he was 16. Now 20, the younger Witkowski is a member of the Italian-made Beta Motorcycles' Off-Road USA Factory Race Team.

"They actually bring the bikes to you every race, and we just got to show up, do our job, race, and get to go home," Mike explained.

The job sounds simple, but Mike and Alex, a Beta semi-pro, are constantly training. The season runs from March to October. During the winter, the brothers head south to train in warmer weather. Plus, they have to eat healthy.

"The athletic demand for it is pretty crazy," said Alex, who competes in sprint-style races. "It's fun to be able to work out as something you can do for a job as something I look at it, too."

Their immersion in riding is unsurprising, considering their father, Ken, used to be an avid racer.

"They grew up at the dirt tracks around the country," he said.

Mike began riding a dirt bike before he rode a bicycle.

"He wanted to race at this race Alex was racing in, so we bought him his first dirt bike, and everybody was surprised because he was only 4-years-old," recalled Holly Witkowski, the mother of Alex and Mike.

She didn't worry too much about the boys getting hurt, either.

"You can get hurt at any time in any sport, but it's like, as long as they are getting up and they're moving, I'm so proud of them for everything they’ve accomplished," Holly said.

Even though he's a hard-working professional, Mike credits his family's support for allowing him to pursue what he loves.

"Without them, I wouldn't be here at all, especially my mom and dad," he said.

Plus, their dad gets it.

"The good thing about having experienced being a racer, I know what they are going through, so when they have their bad days, I know what it's all about -- why they have a bad day, and when it's good, it's great," said Ken Witkowski.

On Mother's Day, Mike placed fifth at the X-Factor Whitetails GNCC race in Peru, Ind. His races are typically 3-hours long around 10 to 12-mile tracks, which feature woods and hills.