Features 14 Nov 2023

Debrief: 2023 AUSX Rd2 Newcastle

Main event winners Wilson and Anstie recall second round in New South Wales.

Froth Honda Racing’s Dean Wilson delivered a perfect points-scoring night in Newcastle, sweeping each of the three finals in the Triple Crown format to place himself in the box seat to take the SX1 crown with one round remaining, as defending SX2 champion Max Anstie (Boost Mobile Honda Racing) is well within grasp of back-to-back titles after a maximum score at the second round of the 2023 Fox Australian Supercross Championship (AUSX). MotoOnline caught up with both riders after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Foremost Media.

Dean, what a night for you! It’s the continuation of what this is becoming for Dean Wilson, and this resurgence, I’m going to call it… Take me through your day.

Yeah, my day was good! This was awesome for me here at Newcastle, because it was new dirt, new scenery, bigger track, longer start, so there are a lot more factors at this race, and it was the most slickest, hard-packed supercross that I have ever ridden in my life. I was so cautious with my front tyre, I did not want tuck the front or push it too hard, so I was very… Just trying to not wash the front. A lot of the corners were just where the front-end wanted to wash. It was another good day though, really happy with it, fastest qualifier, heat race wasn’t so good – I just couldn’t pass, it was so slick. Main events were a lot better and managed to capitalise on that and win all of them. Really happy with that, solid day.

Take me through your last seven days. Obviously Abu Dhabi for you, World Supercross, back to Australia here throughout the week… How has that been taxing on your body in preparation for a night like tonight?

It’s definitely been a little taxing, I’m feeling it, I’m a little tired. We got back from Abu Dhabi, I think on Monday morning, started back training on Tuesday and back riding on Wednesday, then flew here on Thursday, so it is a flat out program still, but it’s good. I’m 31 now, I know my body quite well, I don’t push it too hard, like I just know when to push it and when not to. That’s just something that I have learned over the years, and the body is getting old, so you’ve got to nurture it [laughs]. I’m feeling a little tired, for sure.

You’ve won a lot of races in your career, championships as well. Winning with the family here, does it make it a little bit more special? Does that give you that little bit more motivation, is there something more to that?

Yeah, for sure, having the family here and my son just turned one. I dunno, it’s making it kind of fun again, I’m enjoying it and I’m running up front and I’m battling for wins. It’s fun, like that’s what brings the excitement and the joy back. In America it’s very competitive, and there are so many good talented young riders, it’s insane, it’s so hard. So, I’m just enjoying myself, I’m going to take these wins as I get them because they don’t always come. Just going to enjoy them, keep working hard and put Honda Racing on top.

Talk about America, your career, and everything you’ve gone through, you have been beat down. The last couple of years for you haven’t been pretty… Does that start to play on your mindset, your mental game, and does something like this, does this give you more coming into 2024 and AMA Supercross? 

I think this is great preparation for it. Supercross racing, to be on Supercross tracks, competition, I think it is awesome. I don’t know, like I said, you take so many butt-kickings all of the time in America because the field is that deep, it does start to discourage you a little bit and it brings your confidence down a little bit. It’s fun to come here, it is still a stacked field, a lot of good riders. I’m just pumped to keep doing what I am doing. I have struggled a lot with like anxiety and stuff, and I am just learning to be in the moment and not get too far ahead of myself. Just take everything moment by moment, race-by-race and good things happen, so just taking it as it comes.


Image: Foremost Media.

Max Anstie, another perfect night. Take me through the day here in Newcastle…

A perfect points score, I mean, I had to work hard. First main I was really pleased with my riding, because I messed the start up, took a bit of a gamble. I thought the inside gate was going to work, it didn’t. I was really pleased with the riding in the first main, and second main, honestly I was a little tired. I was almost flat.

It’s funny, watching you do an interview on the line straight after, you looked like you worked in that first one… 

Yeah, I put some heat into that first one, part of my mind was thinking ‘oh, I could take a second’ and then the other part of my mind was like ‘I got beat in one race here last year, I’m not letting it happen again’, so I had to work for it. Second main, I was just trying to recover and not do anything too crazy. Felt pretty good, but then the third one I was ready to come out and hammer, and honestly, I felt like the track just got slicker and slicker. I was struggling for traction, I was just managing the race at that point, I felt like I had the whoops dialled until I went off the track and got a little squirly in them, but when I had them clean I was fine. Not quite as happy with some of the mistakes in the last one, but I do feel like I made some progress. With my mechanic, if we come back here next year to Newcastle and the race is here again, I’ve got some things that I want to test, because the ground here was the same last year here, it was hard and slick. I think I could improve a little on this style track, which I would say is typical Australia, this is a typical Australia track. I was running my US stuff and I was definitely on the stiff side. It is what is it, but we made the best of it and came out of here with three wins, so I’m happy.

Like you said, the stadium itself, the last two rounds you’ve been at, Adelaide and Abu Dhabi, inside, tight, working back on themselves. This is more so what you are used to riding throughout the week, at the training facility. When you come into this, you have got to have that a little bit more on your side saying, ‘hey, I ride these tracks a lot more than some of these Australian guys’?

Yeah, exactly, the layout yes, but the ground, not so much. The way the track breaks down and I’ve been riding a little bit with Kyle Webster this week and those tracks we have been riding on are hard and slick like this. So yeah it was definitely interesting, I’m pleased with how it has gone so far. Adelaide and Newcastle, man they didn’t disappoint to make life hard. I’m assuming that Melbourne, like last year, is more US-style. It was tacky, typical Supercross for me, that one, so I’m hoping we go there and we can crack on, do ourselves. You know Australia never fails to surprise me and keep me on my toes.

I feel it is a little bit forgotten, this is back-to-back weeks for you, it’s also a lot of international travel for you…

We took until about Thursday to have more than seven hours, more than four hours of sleep to be honest. I had seven hours of sleep on Thursday and I thought ‘oh, that felt nice’. It’s been a lot. The travel to Abu Dhabi was tough, and travelling here again, it’s hard to get over all of that fast. I’m here now for a couple of weeks, but at least for Melbourne I should be feeling somewhat normal.

I don’t want to bring this us up, but it’s going to be a talking factor. Coming into Melbourne, there is a chance you could streak this. Is that in your head? Do you knock that out? How does Max Anstie approach these next two weeks? 

My goal was to just get through this weekend. My first goal was Abu Dhabi, to maximise points. As soon as Shane [McElrath] got that second row start, I was kind of nervous, the pressure was on and I executed, got a big points lead. Then here I was like right, I need to not mess this up, I need to execute, hit my marks, come out of here with a good points lead so that I make Melbourne… It’s a two-day race for me, Friday night is Australia and Saturday night is worlds, I wanted to make my life easier so I do not have to win if the win is not there. But of course, I want to go and win, it’s a long way to come to not rack up those bonus checks from Yarrive, that’s the plan. Of course, the championship is where it is at, but I want the race win to. It’s an interesting question, because I learned a lot last year in Wagga. I won the championship in the first race, and the second moto was literally the weirdest and worst that I have ever felt because I was like man I don’t have to win this. There were people crashing, I felt terrible and I think I got fourth. I learned a lot from there, thinking I actually didn’t feel good, even though I won the championship in the first race, the second race I came away from there not feeling great. I’ve learned a little from that, and I feel like I want to just go and execute in Melbourne, get the job done and put a stamp on it. That’s what I want to do, but of course, WSX is extremely important to me, I want to be a world champion, I want to be the next British champion or British world champion or the first British World Supercross champion, I don’t know what it is, but I want one of those FIM gold medals. I’ve dreamed about for a long time from my GP days, to now World Supercross, I’m having this opportunity to do it and man, that’s the main thing. I’ve just got to be smart and do the best job I can.

I think when you think of the year to date, Monster Energy Supercross was a massive success for you, there was a race win for you. Now we are two weeks out from you potentially becoming a two-time Australian Supercross champion, and like you said World Supercross. A year ago, or slightly longer, you didn’t know what team you were going to be riding with, you had issues with numerous teams in America, and now you are to this point. 

It’s crazy how it works, and I am just super-grateful to be here. Man, riding the 250 again even, I never thought I would race a 250 again from 2016, my last GP on one, I never thought I would be back on one. Now we are here, I can master my craft and really try to maximise every time, I am out on track. I want to win the World Supercross Championship, I want to win in Australia twice and I also want to go and win in America. So it all goes hand-in-hand, I want to go and get the job done and keep progressing. Definitely being on this 250 has opened the door for me, because man the 450 class is no joke and I didn’t have the experience that some of these guys have, because I was racing GPs, so now to be here in the 250 class, every lap, every bit, even today I learned so much. I am looking forward to riding my notes and making sure I am continually improving to make sure I can be the best that I can be for next year.

Two weeks from now we do Melbourne, then back to America, a bit of off-time. Then are we straight into 250 Supercross?

250 Supercross East is the plan, and yeah, let’s get it on, that’s the plan. Next thing for me after Melbourne is get ready and go work, I think Detroit is round one around the 1st of February, so, somewhere around there.