By Pat Schutte, OMS Sports
LARGO, Fla., (Sept. 26, 2003) — Having overcome illness and injury during the ’03 supercross season and battled to an impressive seven podium finishes during the Outdoor National series this summer, Yamaha’s Tim Ferry is at the top of his game. So much so that he was selected as one of the riders to represent the United States in the upcoming Moto des Nations (Oct. 4-5) in Zolder, Belgium. We tracked Tim down between practice motos on his home track just long enough to get his opinion on a few things, including the Nationals and the state of the des Nations.
Pat Schutte: How’s things, I hear Florida’s flooded!
Tim Ferry: “It’s kind of starting to dry up now, but it’s been raining a lot this summer. Road to my house has been flooded, so I’ve had to drive though my neighbor’s yard to get to my house which kind of stinks.”
PS: Have you been able to ride much?
TF: “I’ve been riding quite a bit since Steel City. Most of the guys have been riding supercross to get ready for the upcoming season, but I’ve been riding outdoors. Spend some time out in California testing some new fuel and different silencers with new sound specs that are all up to FIM standards. Outside that I’ve been riding my track every day.”
PS: Have you been riding the new 2004 YZF 450?
TF: “Um, I don’t think so. (Ferry laughs). That’s a good question. I’m not sure exactly. I’ve been riding my race bike from last year. They may have put some of the new stuff on. The ’03 was a great bike but I’ve been hearing the bike’s improved and I’m definitely looking forward to riding it.”
PS: Tim, you put Yamaha on the podium more often than not this summer. Seven out of 11 races had you on the podium. Were you please with your efforts at the Outdoor Nationals?
TF: “I had more podiums this year, some more consistent rides, and I had a moto win — which I didn’t have last year. But my overall fourth place wasn’t what I wanted. There was only a couple races that held me back from beating Chad (Reed) for third overall. That second moto at Budds Creek, after winning the first moto, I crashed and DNF’d. Washougal I had a really bad weekend (13th) and a collision at Southwick cost me another podium. But Ricky and Kevin rode a little bit better this year speed wise. They were on it.”
PS: Which was your favorite race this summer, the one you felt you had your best performance (and why)?
TF: “For sure that first moto at Budds Creek was a memorable one. Had a good start and felt great the whole moto. That was probably the highlight, but I think I rode the best at Southwick. I felt the strongest there, probably because I’m from Florida with the sand and stuff. But finally winning a moto after Ricky had his perfect season last year was kind of a relief for me, to finally win a moto, finally beat him and feel like I did back in 2001 when I was winning motos and winning overalls.” (Note: Ferry finished second to Carmichael in the overall points chase last year.)
PS: Because of your efforts, your consistency with your racing, your professionalism on and off the track, I understand Yamaha’s rewarded you with a new two-year contract.
TF: “I’m definitely really happy to be back with them. I’ve been riding a Yamaha since ’98. Been working my way up. Really no support in ’98, in ’99 I had the Chaparral deal and in 2000 got the factory deal which I’ve had since. Yamaha’s been behind me for quite a while now and I believe I can still get better each year. Yamaha’s very fair to its riders across the board with the whole team. They don’t favor one person over another and it makes me feel comfortable, like I’m really part of a successful team. I’ll be with them for at least two more years, riding the 450F for Nationals and the YZ 250 for supercross.”
PS: You’velso signed on with Thor as well?
TF: “There again, I’ve had good relationship with Thor pretty much since ’97. Thor seems like it’s getting more and more popular and bigger every year. They’re the top gear now and I’m excited about continuing our long-running relationship.” (Note: Ferry’s signed a two-year deal with Thor as well.)
PS: Tim, a lot’s being said about the state of the MX des Nations, that some top name riders aren’t really interested in the event any more. What’s your opinion on the MX des Nations and U.S.’ involvement?
TF: “I look at it the same as when I remember watching it as a kid on video tape — being like the ultimate honor to go race for your country. And that’s the way I still look at it. I wanted to go last year, and almost got picked to go do it the year before. I’m glad that it’s finally going to happen. We’ve got a great team going over there and there’s no reason why we can’t win. It’s not going to be easy from what I hear, talk about the riders being really good over there (Ferry specifically mentions the host Belgian team with Everts and Smets). But the way I look at it, if they were that good they’d be coming to race here in the United States. So bottom line: We’re ready.”
PS: You’re racing in Belgium. The Belgium team looks to be stacked (Smets, Everts and Ramon). How do our chances look?
TF: “From what everybody’s telling me, and I’ve been able to catch a few of the GPs on TV by accidently flipping through the channels, I’ve watch them ride and Everts to me is a really good rider, Smets seems like a real strong guy, but like I said, Ricky had a perfect season last year, Ryno has proven he’s fast and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t go over there and win.”
PS: Without naming names, what’s your opinion of athletes from other countries — who race in the USA — who are not racing in the des Nations?
TF: “I can kind of see their points, especially because of last year being such a cluster with the race being cancelled. But we need to get this thing back on the right track, get it back to where it was in the 1980s and 90s. They had one bad year and I think they shouldn’t ruin that race because of it. The des Nations has been around a long time and sets the standard for who’s the best — United States, Belgium, France — whatever. Me, Ricky and Ryno need to get over there and get this race built back up.”
PS: You’re not a stranger to racing in Europe, Tim. What do you like about racing in Europe? Dislike?
TF: “Well, I’ve never raced anything but supercross over there. But from every experience I’ve had there, from the Bercy Supercross to Clear Channel’s races last year, the fans are absolutely crazy about motorsports in general. That’s the thing I really like about going over there. The fans are really supportive. But this will be my first outdoor race, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes. Going to be much different that the stuff I’ve done before.”
PS: And dislikes?
TF: “The food thing is definitely hard. I think I ate at the same sandwich shop every day when we were at Arnhem (Holland) for that Clear Channel World Supercross round. But, at the des Nations, if the eating part is the hardest thing, then we should be fine because we’ve done our homework and we’re ready to go.”
PS: Are you racing the U.S. Open?
TF: “Unfortunately, I’m not doing the U.S. Open. Coming straight from the des Nations without having ridden any supercross at all, and having to switch back to the 250, is just not going to work. I want to race my first supercross after outdoors when I’m feeling good and have time to adjust to the bike. The U.S. Open is a tight track and a real intense race and I don’t think I’ll be quite ready for that.”
PS: One last question, Tim. Christmas is right around the corner. What’s on your wish list?
TF: (Tim pauses). I really don’t know. I like Christmas, but I’ve got everything I want. And if I don’t have it, I just go out and get it. (Another pause). I guess a win at the des Nations would be a great Christmas gift to me!” ). I really don’t know. I like Christmas, but I’ve got everything I want. And if I don’t have it, I just go out and get it. (Another pause). I guess a win at the des Nations would be a great Christmas gift to me!”