It was certainly an impressive performance from Dean Ferris in New Zealand this season, winning three out of four rounds and eight out of 12 races in the motocross nationals … but, frustratingly, the title eluded him.
The Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team rider from Australia was making his debut appearance this year and he was obviously the fastest man throughout the New Zealand Motocross Championships season, which wrapped up in Taupo on Sunday, and, apart from one glitch, should probably have won.
But motocross can be cruel sometimes and the 25-year-old from Kyogle had to accept finishing runner-up in the MX1 class, an infuriating two points behind the man who was ultimately successful in defending his New Zealand crown, Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper (Honda Racing Team CRF450).
Even though Ferris (Yamaha YZ450F) was making his debut appearance at every track he raced in New Zealand this summer, his European GP experience shone through as he quickly adapted and learned the peculiarities of the various venues he confronted.
He won the main trophy at the New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville in late January before going on, a week later, to score a hat-trick of wins at the opening round of the nationals near Timaru.
He then won the day also at round two of the nationals near Palmerston North, before coming unstuck at round three at Rotorua, just over a week ago.
A spectacular downhill crash at Rotorua left him gasping for air. He collected his wits and recovered to salvage a few points by placing 18th in that race, but it had cost him dearly in terms of his title ambitions.
Ferris arrived at Taupo on Sunday third in the standings, although just five points behind the leader, Cooper.
Ferris won the day also at Taupo, his 1-2-1 score-card over the three races better than Cooper’s 2-1-2, but he still ended two points shy of winning the title.
“I think I showed that I was the fastest rider and the man to beat this year, but that’s just the way it works out sometimes,” said Ferris.
“That crash in Rotorua cost me a lot of points. In the end, there was nothing more that I could do at Taupo except try to keep on winning races and hope luck might favour me.
“But this series has been perfect in one regard anyway … it’s been a perfect build-up for me for the Australian nationals (which kick off at Horsham, in Victoria, on April 3).
“I’m riding the best I ever have, including since when I was racing the GPs.”
His Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team boss, Motueka’s former GP star Josh Coppins, was also philosophical about the final outcome.
“I’m gutted actually. I’m disappointed for Dean (Ferris) of course. It’s hard to come away with the most race wins but no title to show for it. Coming here to Taupo today, we had a chance of winning all three categories. At least we gave it our all.”
The other two championship classes were mostly settled before Taupo’s finale.
In the MX2 (250cc) class, Takaka’s Hamish Harwood (KTM) started the day with a 13-point lead over his nearest rival, Australian Jed Beaton (Yamaha), and, in the 125cc class, Ngatea’s Ben Broad (KTM) was 23 points ahead of his closest threat, Taupo’s Wyatt Chase (Yamaha).
Yamaha riders won both these classes on Sunday, Altherm JCR Yamaha Racing Team’s Kayne Lamont, from Mangakino, dominating the MCX2 class and Chase winning the day in the 125cc class. However, in both cases, Harwood and Broad prevailed on Sunday with solid, sensible riding and they claimed their respective titles.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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