Features 1 Sep 2020

Profiled: Noah Ferguson

Queensland revelation on his progression into the MX2 ranks.

Words: Simon Makker

For most racers, the current pandemic has been a huge disruption, but 17-year-old Noah Ferguson has bucked the trend, using the upheaval to his advantage and fast-tracking his progression to the senior ranks.

The youngest of three brothers, Ferguson has been chasing his siblings around on two wheels since the family was introduced to dirt bikes through a friend’s dad when he was five.

The bug bit hard and he progressed through juniors, then stepped up to the MXD class at the MX Nationals last year. He admits he struggled for the first half of the championship, but found consistency later on, with two round podiums at Gympie and Coolum and finished fourth in the championship.

“I struggled mentally to start with, trying to prove what I’d shown in juniors, but I was just overdoing it and trying too hard,” he reflects. “Once I started taking a step back and having fun again, the results came.”

Image: Ethan Cox.

Initially the plan was to race another year in MXD for 2020 and jump up to the MX2 class next year. However once the COVID-19 pandemic hit and he’d seen the success that one of his main rivals, Regan Duffy, was enjoying in the senior ranks, Ferguson decided to step up to MX2 this year.

“Rather than spending two years in Under 19s, I decided this year would be a perfect time to have a go at MX2,” he elaborates. “Most of the MX2 field lives in Queensland, so the state rounds are really competitive and it gives me a chance to learn the field, get up to pace, then take a shot at the national MX2 title next year.”

The past month has been something of a revelation. Ferguson’s been on the podium at the last three rounds of the Sunshine State MX Championship – including winning the overall at his home round at the MX Farm in Gympie – and his confidence levels are increasing every time he gets behind the gate.

“I think training and riding with my older brothers has made it easier to get up to speed and accustomed to the aggression in the class,” he explains. “I’m getting more used to riding with the MX2 guys and if I want to remain consistent I’ve learnt that I need to stay headstrong and believe in myself.”

Then, to push himself out of his comfort zone even more, Noah switched from KTM to Yamaha just a week before the Queensland titles after one of his main personal sponsors encouraged him to change manufacturers.

“Changing at the last minute like that wasn’t ideal, but my sponsor identified that there’s a really good pathway for Yamaha riders in seniors and that could potentially work to my benefit,” he says. “It was a huge jump for me, though. I only had four days on the bike before the Queensland titles at Hervey Bay and the first day I found the adjustment hard.”

Image: Ethan Cox.

Noah’s results at the Queensland titles on the weekend just gone weren’t his best, but a 5-5-DNF for 12th overall certainly showed he’s already coming to grips with the new machine.

“It was a pretty challenging weekend and I was frustrated with my results,” he admits. “My lap-times were okay and it’s something to build from, but I’m always striving for more, I guess, and to get a better result.”

If nothing else, the past month has proved to both himself and the industry that Ferguson is ready to be a contender in the MX2 class at a national level, as he sets his sights on bigger goals. Racing overseas, like what his former schoolmates Hunter and Jett Lawrence are doing, is certainly on his radar.

“I’m definitely keen to jump up to the MX2 class at the nationals, experience the longer motos, the bigger crowds and the increased pressure,” he adds. “I’d love to hopefully find a way to the US or Europe like the Lawrence brothers have. I’d love to make a living out of this awesome sport we do and those boys have showed what’s possible when you put your mind and 110 percent effort in.”