Features 16 Feb 2023

Conversation: Dean Ferris

Returning Yamaha racer details initial outing with new team and plans for the future.

Three-time Australian MX1 champion Dean Ferris kicked off his 2023 season by clean-sweeping his way to victory at Toowoomba’s Mountain Man event last weekend, leading some of the top MX1 riders in the country in his first race since announcing his comeback to the sport. MotoOnline caught up with him to find out about his first outing with the newly-formed Brisbane Motorcycles Yamaha team and how he’s finding the new generation YZ450F in this Conversation interview.

Image: Supplied.

Mountain Man at Toowoomba, that was your first hit-out with the new team. By all accounts it looked like a really successful day for you…

Yeah, it felt good to get the pre-season racing started, I’ve always like to do all the pre-season races that I can, it’s good to get the gate drops and be back in those racing conditions so you can see how your bike is relative to everyone else’s and things like. So, it turned out to be a good day, I got four holeshots and four wins, everything went to plan. It was definitely a hot day, so your fitness played a part because we had a 30 minute moto, which I was really glad to get through, I had gastro the night before the race so I was feeling a bit under the weather, but my health started to come good throughout the day, so that was good.

There was a really good podcast that was done with the Brisbane Motorcycles guys that included you detailing the decision to come back, so how has it been making that transition back to riding and the new YZ450F?

Obviously I decided to come back and race really late, but it was definitely on the back of my mind exactly the way I wanted to doing it, I just wanted to do it a fair bit different. I’ve had a relationship with James [Mutton] throughout the years and we’ve just stayed in touch, he was really happy to help. I definitely wanted to be on a Yamaha, I felt like that’s where most of my success has been and it always been the bike I’ve felt most comfortable on, so after a few phone calls it all started to fall into place quite easily and Brisbane Motorcycles was keen to get going with it. The new bike is amazing, like I’m a Yamaha fan through and through, but I do believe this is definitely the best bike they have built, it really suits me. I liked the previous bike and even the one before that, but this one is really really good, just the overall package, the engine is great, straight out of the box the suspension is really good, so it has been quite easy to build a really competitive bike which has been nice, everything’s going good.

From what we saw in Toowoomba it looks like you’ve got some good momentum on your side with this new-look Brisbane Motorcycles team. Heading into Wonthaggi, how important is it for you to start the season off on the front foot with a good result?

It’s definitely nice to be in a little bit better form than last year, we’re not at Wonthaggi yet so I still need to keep focusing on what I’m doing and keep trying to improve and make some small steps forward from now until then. We’ll see how we good once we get racing down in Wonthaggi.

Obviously it’s still very early days, but with this Brisbane Motorcycles Yamaha announcement and with the environment and different looking infrastructure you have for this year, is that more of a long-term plan for you to stay within the sport or are you taking on more of a year-by-year basis and just seeing how it goes?

Look, I think it’s hopefully more of a long-term set-up, I think I’ll always have something with Brisbane Motorcycles, no matter how it looks. They’ve got so many things going on that I may be able to help with after racing, but for now I’m really really happy with the way we’ve got it set up, like the infrastructure and everything. But yeah, there’s quite a few people that are helping me out this year, I’m fortunate that I’ve got some good relationships and some good people to help me set this thing up and honestly, it doesn’t feel any harder doing it this way than it was riding for a team, so hopefully the good vibes and everything just stays where it is, and if we keep plugging away I’m sure it will, we’ve set it up so that it’s sustainable. With how easy it is to set up and build this bike, I think that’s also contributed to making its very achievable to do it this way.

Image: Supplied.

We noticed when you put that initial release out that it mentioned racing nationally and locally, it also mentioned potentially racing internationally as well. Can you elaborate on that international aspect?

The focus is Australia and racing ProMX, but if I keep going in this trajectory, I would like to race an international race or two just for fun. I don’t really have any aspirations of getting a ride overseas anymore, I’d just love to go and see where I stack up against some MA guys or something like, so yeah it’d definitely Italy be cool to do but the focus is to try an get to another level while racing here.

Finally, the MX1 class for this season is stacked and with you returning, it just adds to the depth of the class. How does it feel to lining up in such a competitive field?

I’m looking forward to it. If you look at the rider lineup, it’s probably deeper than it’s ever been. If I could achieve my goals and go for another championship with all those guys in there, it would almost be like winning in a different era, which would be pretty amazing. I think the sport is in a good spot and I’m looking forward to racing everyone.