Remember, for Wilson, racing at all was in question. He left the Seattle race packing an ice bag and a sling, saw MRI results that he told us “didn’t look good” and then stayed off the bike all week while focusing on therapy two-a-days. He had no idea if he could really ride until he tried it in practice, and somehow, he rode as if he wasn’t hurt, landing the second-fastest times in practice behind Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin. Then at the end of practice he ran into bike problems and jacked his shoulder some more. Again, he wasn’t sure if he could race, but he suited up, dug down deep, and won his heat race.
A late crash would end Wilson's championship hopes.
Simon Cudby photo
In the main, he dug deep again, making quick passes early to put a gap between himself and title rival Eli Tomac. Somehow, Dean was blocking out the pain and focusing on the task at hand. You’ve seen the t-shirt: pain is temporary but championships last forever.
Unfortunately, Dean didn’t hold on for quite that long. Tomac eventually caught and passed him, and Wilson started making some mistakes. Finally, late in the race, he swapped in the whoops and went down hard. In that one moment, his night was over, and so was his shot at the title.
“Obviously, it sucks and I’m pretty upset,” said Wilson. “But all you can do is move on from it. I just want to get healthy. I’m so sore, just sore all over. Just such an upsetting night, but I gave it all I could tonight. That was the best I could do.”
In the end, that one crash ended up making Wilson’s impressive effort for naught. Adrenaline and desire carried him far, but, unfortunately, not far enough.