Interviews 29 Aug 2017

Five Questions Why: Dylan Long

CDR Yamaha newcomer on a selection of racing related topics.

One of the most naturally gifted racers on the Australian professional circuit, CDR Yamaha’s Dylan Long is undoubtably one of the most enjoyable riders to watch on a motorcycle in this country. Ahead of the 2017 season it was confirmed that the 23-year-old would join the Craig Dack-owned factory Yamaha organisation and many expected big things to come from the Victorian the CDR crew behind him. Unfortunately a pre-season practice incident threw a huge spanner in the works and delayed his progress this year, but as we saw during the latter stages of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals series, Long is beginning the find the flow and put together strong rides once again. In this latest edition of Five Questions Why, checks in with the likeable premier class racer to hit him with a selection of questions as he prepares to enter the upcoming Australian Supercross Championship on the all-new 2018 Yamaha YZ450F.

Image: MXN.

Why didn’t we see the best of Dylan Long during the 2017 MX Nationals series?

It was like a building thing for me and in all honesty, I’ve never had an injury where I got back on the bike and actually felt like I didn’t know how to ride a bike anymore. Everything I did with my wrist, it was sort of painful and I guess I’ve just become used to the pain. It’s still sore but I’ve just gotten used to it by doing more things in the gym like hitting a tractor tyre with a big sledgehammer. Because I missed all of supercross last year and I missed my whole pre-season this year, it was almost like a year’s worth of not riding – it just put me back so much. I still feel like at the last two rounds I showed a bit more of what I’ve got, but I’ll be back there in no time.

Why was Coolum such a standout ride for you in the MX1 class for 2017?

I had been riding a lot of sand because the hard pack stuff was quite tough on my wrist, but in saying that, at Toowoomba I was equal sixth and if I had one more point I would have been sixth overall. After Toowoomba I felt really good and I knew my starts weren’t really where they should have been, but I had always started well at Coolum, which was really good. I had been riding sand more just so I didn’t hurt my wrist so much, sand is rough but I just don’t seem to jar my wrist as much. All of the hard pack tracks at home are rough with big jumps, so I tried to stay away from that and I also thought that riding sand would be the quickest way to get my bike fitness back. So a few things fell into place for Coolum, but we also got the bike sorted to how I like it, the suspension was feeling good and it just took us a couple of rounds to do that. Obviously I had only ridden for a few weeks before I came back for Nowra, so it just took a while for us to get it all sorted.

Image: MXN.

Why are you excited about the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F?

It’s just so much thinner and easier to turn compared to the older model. I actually just rode it on a supercross track for the first time and those are things I had wanted for ages. I really liked the older style Yamaha, it was really fast and really good, but I just felt that it could be a bit thinner. So now that they’ve done that it’s like, well what more could you really want? And then they’ve gone and added electric start on there! Even with the electric start on the bike it’s lighter too, so that’s kind of cool as well. It’s basically like a fresh start with a new bike and it’s a pretty cool new thing.

Why should we keep an eye out for you during supercross?

I’ve always liked supercross and everyone tells me that I’m more technical and a better supercross ride than motocross – which I don’t actually like because I really do enjoy motocross. But I do feel good in supercross and I have a supercross track in my backyard, I’ve had it since I was really young and I always rode it on the 85, 125 and stuff like that. So I guess I’m just pretty fluent and natural at supercross and I’m pretty keen to get some good results this year.

Why is the CDR Yamaha team such a strong and respected MX1 outfit?

They’re just so knowledgeable and they’ve been around for so long. You’ve got suspension coming from Gary Benn and he’s the man, it’s just unbelievable suspension. Dacka [Craig Dack], he’s been there and done it, he has a lot of knowledge and even the mechanics, the way they act and the way things are done – it’s very professional. There’s always a meeting and a plan to go out and execute, it’s just very professional overall. They’re basically the best team in the pits and if they want me to stay around, I’ll be staying around that’s for sure.