Dean Wilson was prepared for his best year in the 450 class entering 2018. Unfortunately, things quickly went downhill when he crashed at the opening round at Anaheim. Deano is no stranger to early-season injuries, but fortunately, he was able to walk away with just a bruised bone in his shoulder.
However, the bone bruise has appeared to “knock the wind out of [his] sails”, as admitted by Deano himself. He is slowly improving week by week though, and we were able to catch up to him after last weekend’s race in San Diego. We talked about his pre-season expectations, battles with Barcia, and of course the nagging shoulder injury:
Moto Now: Steady improvements every weekend since the A1 crash. What is going to take for to continue improving?
Dean Wilson: I just have to get healthy. I haven’t been riding through the week or training like I want to. This week I just want to let my body heal. I’ve just been riding in pain, getting the shoulder taped up, and it has just been miserable. It’s a big bummer, because I felt really good coming into the first round. Everything was good, but then I had that crash and it just knocked the winds out of my sails. That one hurt a lot. I’m lucky that everything is okay, but the bone bruise on my shoulder…. it just takes forever to heal. It’s a constant ache on my shoulder. In moments when I really need that strength, I just don’t have it. I’m glad to be racing though, and being out there. I think every weekend I will just get better. That was a good weekend for me to build on.
At what point do you decide to just take a weekend off and let it heal? Or do you think it’s helpful for you to just be out there?
I think I should have done that at Houston. Obviously I didn’t end up racing Houston, but I tried to ride press day, and there was no chance I could have raced. My shoulder was so sore, my arm felt like it was going to rip off the bars at press day. So anyways, I didn’t race Houston and took that off. The next weekend I raced, and I was about 12th or 13th, which was okay, but the last race my foot peg snapped off, so that was a shame. And then last weekend, I don’t know what I got… 12th? That was a crazy race…
You got 11th.
Yeah sorry, I got 11th, you’re right (laughs). That was another one that was like “man, I’m not getting any breaks here, these tracks are gnarly.” Just don’t have any strength. But man, I get paid to race, and I just want to keep getting better. Taking this week off did help me to heal up, and healing is what is going to help me on the weekends, plain and simple.
You mention not getting a break… but was this weekend a bit of a break track-wise at least? The track was perhaps a bit easier?
Yeah, the whoops were kinda gnarly though today for some reason. I felt really good in them, but they were really slippery. You would get sideways in them a few times. But yeah, I think this was a stepping stone for me, and I just want to keep getting better. I want to be up front, that’s where I want to be. 20 minutes plus a lap is just so demanding, and when you’re kinda half-wounded out there, you really start feeling it. So that’s the tough part, but I just need to keep pushing and get better every weekend.
What happened with you and Barcia? You got together on the last lap, and you had a couple words after the race.
Oh yeah, he got all dramatic after. I actually don’t even know what he said (laughs). But it’s just racing, it’s all good. He’ll stuff me, and I’ll stuff him, no worries. I tried to pass him a couple times, but he slammed me, so the last lap I went in for a slam as well. The dude just always stays on two wheels, it’s like his wheels are velcro to the ground. We both went off the track, and it was kinda frustrating because I should have had 8th. But it’s all good, no bad blood with him.
You mentioned earlier that you were riding a lot with Jason during the off season. What was your pace compared to his, and where do you think you would have finished if it weren’t for this injury?
I think my pace would have been on the podium for sure. At first Jason was kicking my but, but it was so good for me. It was hard to take mentally, but obviously good because it would piss me off. Every time I would ride with him I would get better and better, and coming towards Anaheim I really closed the gap. He had an advantage on me, but not a massive edge like it was. So I was feeling good, because he’s very talented. He just rides his bike so well, so smooth and finessed. He’s very efficient on his bike. So yeah, it was a bummer because I feel like I could have been a podium guy, but I still can be and I’ll get there, I just need to rebuild myself up a bit.
Is it mentally draining to be barely inside the top 10 when you feel like you should be finishing on the podium?
No. Right now it’s not an amazing feeling, but at least I’m in the top 10. I think that a lot of guys who would be in my position [with this injury] wouldn’t be racing, so like I said, from here all I can do is try to get better every weekend. You have a goal, you want to be on the podium, so you just keep pushing for it. That’s it.
Are there certain parts of the track that make it hurt worse?
It’s the whoops, the whoops can be a killer. The whoops are fine when I hit them nice, but when things go sideways and sketchy is when it gets uncomfortable. It pulls and strains on it, real quick and jerky movements. I still can’t lift my arm all the way up. It’s just a healing process, I never have had a bone bruise before. It sucks that it’s called a bruise, because it’s the gnarliest thing ever.
Besides the shoulder, how is everything else going, how is the bike feeling, how is your fitness?
The bike feels awesome, really liking my bike. In terms of fitness, I feel like I’ve lost a little bit of fitness because of the injury and I haven’t been riding 3 times a week like I usually was. I’ve had to take a pretty big break off. I’m just gonna keep getting better though. I think I’m going to take another week off this week, and hopefully that’s my last one. After that hopefully I can really start feeling better.
Is it getting better each week, or has it plateaued?
It plateaued last week which is super frustrating. I wake up in the middle of the week in pain because it’s aching really bad. It’s like a tooth ache but on your shoulder. I feel like what I did this week [not riding at all] was really good though. I do feel a lot better, and I’m not in pain like I was last week. So another week of no riding, and I think that’ll really help me out a lot.
So you’re not back to your regular gym routine either?
No, I’m not, which is super frustrating. I can’t do a pull-up, I can’t do a push. I was trying to do that stuff, but the more I did it, the harder it was. It wouldn’t recover, which was such a pain in the ass. It has been a really annoying injury, but it is what it is, and I just want to keep getting better.
Speaking of training, I’ve always wondered if you would train with Aldon, considering his deal with KTM and Husqvarna. Is that an option for you?
No, not really. He has Zach, Jason, and Marvin. Really it comes down to if they want another rider. It comes down to them, because they can add another rider to the roster, or those three guys can pay more money to Aldon so that it stays just the three of them. That’s kinda how it works. I’ve been interested, and went for it a couple times, but it didn’t work out. I’m really happy with my trainer Tyla though, and my program is really close to what Aldon and them are doing.
Last comment: you’re killing it every weekend with the awesome Shift gear set-up.
(Laughs) Yeah thanks, the Shift gear has been amazing. Those guys are so awesome, and that’s cool because I like to be creative. And I’m looking good every weekend. So shout out to Shift and Fox for sure.
Cover photo from Supercross LIVE