Features 22 Aug 2023

Debrief: 2023 ProMX Rd8 Coolum

Champions Ferris and Todd recall eighth round in Queensland.

Brisbane Motorcycles-backed Yamaha rider Dean Ferris secured his fourth Penrite ProMX Championship in the MX1 category at the final round of the 2023 Penrite ProMX Championship, as Terrafirma Equipment Sales Honda Racing’s Wilson Todd got the job done with a 1-1 result at Coolum to be crowned MX2 champion for the fourth time in his career. MotoOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

MX1 champion again Dean, congratulations. Take us through the weekend.

Yesterday I was good in the warm-up, then first lap of qualifying I ate shit. Big crash. From there, I was pretty banged up. I got into the top 10, but not able to perform. Bike was a bit twisted up, I was a bit banged up. Thankfully, my osteo drove up last night and sorted me out. By the time free practice came around this morning, I was feeling okay. I was P4 in superpole which was okay, then first moto I was like fifth or sixth off the start and just let it kind of come to me, I didn’t really have a game plan. It was a bit of a weird situation, I just wanted to see how it was unfolding. I had enough speed that I could go past [Jed] Beaton and I rode to second in the moto. In moto two I was kind of just there on Beaton and he ran off the track, so I just inherited second. Webster was up the track, it was weird I didn’t know whether to go for it or not, I feel like Webster had some more in the tank anyway even if I pushed up to him, he would’ve stepped it up. So, I just went 2-2 today, Webster was riding really good. But, came home as the champion. This is probably the sweetest one I’ve ever had, I’ve never just broken down like that across the finish line of any race in my whole life.

Is that because you have personally put so much into this? You put together this program.

I think it was more for them, like my wife, my family, Benny [Lane], [Mike] Wardy, Moose, Adam, Guy. Just like, it’s been a long journey, a long five years. I had a massive injury a few years ago.

To think back to that injury. You’ve come back on your own however many years later. Does that make it more special?

I definitely haven’t done it on my own, it was different and it’s been really good, but so many people come out of the woodwork to help me out, I couldn’t have done it without them. I’m just so thankful that I made these relationships over the years, and those guys helped me out. Every one of them just said, ‘Yes I’ll help you out.’ It’s not an organised deal, not an organised team, I think we all did it for the love, and everyone stepped up as I went. Yamaha stepped up, and all the products on my bike jumped in and stepped up. Yeah, just going back to finishing the day, it was unreal, I always do it for myself, but I did this one for my family and for those guys that jumped in and supported me. 2023 was different to any of the others, but it’s going to be a special one.

We’ve spoken about it a few times over the past few weeks. But, with where you were in 2022, wanting it to be over for whatever the reasons were. Looking back at that to where you are now. You have to be proud of yourself.

Definitely, I’ll take you back [to the first retirement], because I retired twice, officially. The first time was honestly because I didn’t think I’d be strong enough to ever ride again, I was nine months into my back injury and I was still so brittle and frail that I thought I’d never be able to ride a 450, or a bike. Then miraculously, I ended up doing this movie set and I had to ride 125’s in Alice Springs. Just being there, everyone was into moto, you can’t go there without going to Finke and back. I was riding these 125’s and I was hanging out with some really cool dudes doing all sorts of gym work, it just reignited the fire. Obviously, I came back on Honda, and it was pretty hard work to be honest. I really liked the team and the people there, I just could not gel with the bike. I tried so hard to get it to where I needed to.

So when you announced your retirement, you were with Yarrive Konsky and the Honda team. Were the factors behind that you feeling burned out from the sport? Or was it from not gelling with the bike?

Just a whole lot of things. But, I just didn’t feel like I could get any better at the time. I felt like I put in this massive year and I had some injuries.

Now that you’re MX1 champion again. Are you rallying to try and get to Motocross of Nations?

I’m just waiting for a phone call for if it’s going to be yes or no. Honestly, if it’s yes, sweet, I’ll keep training forward for that. If it’s no, I’ll understand.


Image: Foremost Media.

Wilson, congratulations on another MX2 championship. You’ve overcome a lot of adversity this season, so where does this championship rank among the others?

They all mean as much as each other. Obviously, it was a little bit harder this year with the shit that I had going on. Nathan [Crawford] was on me all year, I didn’t have any preparation cause I was hurt from being overseas, I’ve just been trying to sort stuff out all year. We managed to hold on and I picked and chose all of my battles pretty well I think. I think we did it right.

You secured the championship with a dominant 1-1 and arguably the best riding we’ve seen from you this season, what do you put that down to?

I was definitely healthy. I really didn’t have any plan coming into the weekend other than finishing in the top three if Nathan were to win. In the first race I got to about halfway and I was just cruising around at 80 percent and saving myself because Nathan wasn’t in front of me, I didn’t even know he was right behind. Then the guys in front started coming back to me like a second a lap and I wasn’t really pushing at that stage. So, I kind of waited for them to get tired so I wouldn’t be just eating their roost the whole time. I just waited until they got tired and I was able to pass them and get to the front. Second moto, I didn’t really have anything to lose I guess, I wasn’t thinking about saving the bike or anything like that. So, I just ripped a start and held it pinned for a bit.

Obviously, a lot of people say that with you winning your fourth MX2 title, you should move up to MX1. Do you listen to that stuff at all?

I don’t know man. I don’t really care too much what people say. I’ll just see what options come up and see what Konsky reckons. I don’t really want to leave, but he’s got two 450 guys at the moment, so we’ll see what happens.