5 Minutes with ... Tim Ferry

Tim Ferry just seems to be getting better and better. Last July, the 33-year-old won his first AMA National since Glen Helen in 2001, and now, heading into the 2008 campaign, he is considered a title favorite by many. With the curtain-raising Glen Helen National set to run on Sunday, May 25, we hooked up with Ferry to get inside his head and see just what’s up for the summer of 2008.

Racer X: Tim, what are you up to today?
Tim Ferry: I’m just doing some riding and trying to get readjusted to my motocross bike. The bike is so much different than my supercross bike that it takes a week or two on the outdoor bike to begin feeling comfortable. But it’s going good and I feel like I’m getting in my groove now.

How much have you been riding?
Well, I did all my testing on the bike, so I’ve already put in that time. And since Vegas, I’ve been doing as many motos as possible. I’ve done at least seven or eight motos in the last week. I’ll also do some sprint motos, here and there. The main thing is to just be on the bike. In fact, I actually feel more prepared this year than last year. We have a big break between Vegas and Glen Helen, and like I said, I was able to get all my testing done early. Also, last year, I was trying to nail down third in the supercross series, so I didn’t even ride my outdoor bike until the season began.

For the first time in four years, the AMA National Motocross Championship will open up at Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California. Are you good with that?
Actually, I’m okay with that for a few reasons. The main reason is that Kawasaki is right there in Southern California and I’m there all of the time. For that reason, Glen Helen is an easy first race to do. Another reason is that Glen Helen is the toughest track on the circuit and having the last race of the year there can be tough.

Do you like the Glen Helen circuit?
I don’t really like it, actually. It’s the funnest track to ride on in practice, but by the second moto, it’s so rough and dry and dusty. It’s in the desert. So it can get really bad. And then later in the day there is the sun. It gets so bright that you can’t see on the hills. Glen Helen is not one of my favorites.

A week later, round two of the series — the Hangtown Motocross Classic — will take place at the track in Rancho Cordova, California. What do you think of that place?
Actually, Hangtown is pretty good. They make a big effort to make the track better there. They bring in a lot of dirt to make the track better. I enjoy Hangtown; it’s a good track.

Of the 12 tracks on the AMA National Championship tour, which are your favorites?
I really like Budds Creek a lot. I’ve always enjoyed racing there. I like all the hills and have a lot of fun on the track. I also really like Red Bud. It has all the options: sand, rutted turns, whoops — everything. Budds Creek and Red Bud are two of my tracks.

And along with High Point Raceway [June 15] and Steel City [August 31], Red Bud is a round of the Monster Triple Crown of Motocross. Would you be stoked to win the Triple Crown?
Yeah, obviously, it would be great it. In fact, I want to win the first round at High Point so nobody else can win it [laughs]. But, yeah, it would be great to win the money and it would be great to win it because Monster is a personal sponsor of mine. It would mean a lot to me to win it.

Okay, not only have we not seen much of James Stewart, but now the word on the street is that he’s now signed to Yamaha in one way, shape or form. With you guys being teammates, has James’ absence in 2008 had an effect on you and the team?
You know, we ride on the same team and this issue comes up a lot. I hear a lot of, “How close do you and James work together?” The last time I saw James was at the Seattle Supercross. That’s one of the only times I’ve seen him all year. All I know is that the team has my bikes ready. I have no clue what he’s been doing. I can only assume I’ll see him at Glen Helen and he’ll come out swinging.

So you think James will be at the opening round at Glen Helen?
I would imagine he will be there. He’ll be right there, too. He’s one of those guys that can take a lot of time off and be fast right away because he has so much talent. And the bikes are super-good. I know that as I’ve been testing them.

Tim, can you win the championship?
You know, I think I can. For me, I need to be consistent and be on the podium every weekend — that and to stay out of trouble. I really think four or five guys are capable of winning races this season. I think this season will be very similar to last season, which came down to the very end. And it sounds like both Kevin Windham and Chad Reed will not be racing the series.

Who do you think can win races?
Davi Millsaps and Andrew Short. Mike Alessi came on strong at the end of the series last year. Ben Townley is a big question. Nobody has seen him race the big Honda before. He’s a mystery, but I’m expecting him to come out and be in the top three. He takes stuff seriously.

While we were at that party in the Palms in Las Vegas you mentioned that you’ve never felt better and this might be your year.
I think it definitely could be. I’m coming off a really good season. Last year I won races and motos and I have not done that in so long. I didn’t think that would ever happen again. Being on the Monster Energy/Kawasaki team rejuvenated me. I’m 33 years old and I still have stuff to prove. I mean your goals change from when you're 19 or 20 years old. I’m very competitive. This sport has always been a challenge for me because I’ve always had to work at it. It’s what keeps me going. To get up and work and try to have that pay off is what it’s about. When you put in the work and the results come, it means everything. I have more of a focus on why I do this now. I know what my goals are. As a kid I raced because it was fun and bikes are cool. Now, it’s much more about the challenge. I like that I’ve been able to change styles. I’m not an older guy that jumps straight up and down. I’m always evolving.

What’s the master plan for Glen Helen?
I’d be very pleased to come out in the top three. I’ll know a lot more about where I’m at after that race. Josh Hill and Ben Townley are unknowns in the class. If I can get on the podium, I’ll score a bunch of points and be ready for the battle.