Mechanical Education - Dirt Rider Magazine

I am hoping that you can help me with what is the biggest decision I have ever made. I am 17 years old and will be graduating this spring. Being a mechanic on a motocross race team has been my life-long dream, after I realized that I wasn't a good enough racer to go pro. I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life than working in the industry. I eat, sleep and breathe motocross.

My problem is trying to figure out what school to enroll in. Here in Canada we have many colleges that offer small engine courses, but not many focus on bikes. I have been accepted into Centennial College here in Ontario for their motorcycle course. Here is where my problem is. I have heard that Centennial is a good school with a solid program that will run me about $4,000 a year. Sounded reasonable to me until recently people have told me that if I want to land a job on a racing team there is only one school to attend and that is MMI in Phoenix, Arizona. I have applied to MMI but was shocked to hear that it would cost approximately $25,000 for tuition and I have to show a guarantee for another $25,000 for living expenses. I am not allowed to work part time while in the U.S. due to Homeland Security and although other students are placed in apprenticeships upon graduation they won't help me because I am Canadian. What do I do?Is there a hope of finding an apprenticeship on a race team if I don't attend MMI? Is that the "fast track" as I am being told? I know that once I am given an opportunity to show what I can do I will be able to prove that I am an asset to a team, but will I even get a chance if I choose the wrong school? Like I said at the beginning of my letter, this is the biggest decision I have ever made and really don't want to make the wrong choice. Any input you can give would be greatly appreciated!**Matt Wilkans

Palmerston, Ontario, Canada_I'd stay in Canada (we don't need any more illegal aliens) and go to your school. (Now just give me a second, I'm just playing with you here!) But while there hook up with a Canadian pro and work for them, especially a guy who might be heading down to the US every once in a while. Learn the ropes up there about being a solid mechanic (and make mistakes up there too, not down here) and when you are here meet people in the industry and let them know you are looking to do what you want to do. With your education and experience and your rookie mistakes behind you (we all make them) you'll be a prime candidate for any team. Good news, the turnover rate is high since it is a tough job and they are always looking for fresh young guys with experience. Problem solved! Thank me with a Pro Wrenching Tip when you make it! **-Jimmy Lewis_