Australian Dean Ferris has announced his official retirement from professional racing. The three-time MX1 Australian National champion suffered a major back injury last year and has admittedly stayed low-profile while assessing future plans. He states the back injury wasn't the final reason to announce his retirement, as he addressed a variety of topics in an hour-long live Instagram Q and A session with fans yesterday.
Ferris had previously ventured from Australia to both the Grand Prix tour and the AMA circuit, before returning home to capture more titles. He was back into the FIM Motocross World Championship in early 2019 to fill-in for injured Romain Febvre. He suffered a knee injury in his debut with the team before eventually coming to the U.S. to race the Lucas Oil AMA Pro motocross Championship with the Monster Energy Factory Yamaha team. With Aaron Plessinger out for several rounds recovering from a broken heel, Ferris got a shot with the U.S. factory Yamaha effort. He competed in six nationals before his time with the team was cut short. Ferris returned to Australia, where he continued to race on a KTM. In August 2020, Ferris suffered a broke back in a practice crash (fractures from T4-T7 and 10 broken ribs) that would start a long recovery process.
This morning, he took to Instagram to announce his retirement.
“Well Guys I didn’t ever think this day would come but here it is. My professional racing career has come to an end! I’m choking up while writing this as motocross has been my life. All I ever wanted to do as a young boy was ride bikes and I’m proud as hell about how far I made it.
The road was long and extremely difficult but so worth it. Not to mention the great people, life skills, lessons and exploration I gained along the way 🌍 I’v known for a while that my racing days are done but I’ve needed time to see what’s next and how involved in Motocross I want to be. No matter what I try, I keep ending up back at the track and it’s bloody satisfying to pass on my knowledge that seemed so hard to obtain. So you’ll be seeing me around the track, just with a different role 😊 Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that played a part 🙏🏻
In an Instagram live video (you can watch the archive below or on Ferris’ profile), Ferris explained his back injury wasn’t the deciding factor in his retirement.
“it wasn’t the main decision to why I stepped away, if you’re wondering, as well. There’s just so many factors that compounded into one. Just the way everything went last year with COVID and then the injury and then this and that…I remember waking up after the injury and just being like, ‘It’s over.’ And I’ve never ever thought that in my life, I thought I’d race until I was 40 years old. So for me to think that, I knew it was true. But yeah, it wasn’t just the back injury, I know I could come back from this—a lot of people have. And I’m sure I could be one of them, I’m just ready, I’m not willing to. I’m really happy with what I achieved.”
Ferris timed his announcement on the day that marks 20 years since his first-ever motocross race. He said he he still loves the sport.
“I do want to get another bike again. Maybe not a motocrosser—I think my days of pounding out laps and the challenge of that was awesome, but I’ve had enough of those days. I really enjoyed it but I really look forward to just getting a bike and going trail riding with my mates and taking it right back to the grass roots to where I’ve come from is what I’d like to do. Fingers crossed I can get a bike shortly and I can start riding and hanging out with my mates and just having an awesome time with my mates and just having an awesome time on a bike. I really love bikes and it’s been in my blood for so long.”
Ferris said he is also taking on a coaching roll.
“That’s what ‘m going to be most available to do now….I really have no other plan in my life other than travel and hangout with my young family and just coach. …I want people to see the other side of me now. I’d be happy to have a beer with some people, some parents and some friends now. As a professional athlete, you’re kinda straight down the line, it’s just training, riding then it’s just eat, sleep, repeat. So yes, I’ll be coaching.”
In the video, he also explains why his time with the Yamaha team racing the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship didn't last as long as anticipated. Ferris explains his discomfort for the YZ450F and how he would rather return to Australia to race a "better" bike on his CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team bike back in Australia.
“I wasn’t willing to go out and get eighth in the motos just to fill the gate.”
He also touches on some of his favorite racing memories, racing in Australia, visiting Bam Land (Justin Barcia's compound in Florida), his time with Red Bull KTM during the 2014 250SX West Region, the Lawrence brothers and their success in America, and more.
Ferris was a six-time member of the Australian Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations team (2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019), competed in the FIM Motocross World Championship (2012-2015 then one round in 2019), Monster Energy AMA Supercross (2014), the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship (2017 and 2019).