Photos by: Simon Cudby
There has never been a stranger time in the modern world, let alone in the small world of Monster Energy Supercross, but as we settle into our temporary new normal, we decided it was time to call some riders and get their thoughts on everything that’s going on. Over the next however many weeks this lasts, we will try to find out what the stars of MX and SX are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic and how they’re handling social distancing and self-quarantining.
What better rider to start our “Self-Quarantine” interviews off with than Dean Wilson. I mean, he did become an honorary member of the moto media and even momentarily went by the name “TMZ Deano” after he broke the news that the Indianapolis SX was officially canceled and that everyone heading to Indy should flip a u-turn and head home. Since then, every SX venue left on the schedule has announced, one-by-one, that they were canceling their scheduled events as the entire world basically hit the pause button to try to lessen the potential damage of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.
Last night, we gave Deano a call and got his take on the situation, and as always, it was a fun phone call with the #15. Deano talked to us about his self-quarantined days with his fiancé Sarah, what he is doing to stay fit and his educated opinion on how he thinks FELD is going to pull off running the final 7 rounds of 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, hopefully making it so that the titles will be decided on the track.
How’s it going, TMZ Deano? You officially joined the Supercross press corps when you broke the news that Indy was canceled before it was official. How did it feel to become part of the media? (laughs)
It felt great! I had heard it from a very reliable source and I knew a lot of people were about to board their planes to go there, so I posted what I knew. Everyone was messaging me after I posted it and still saying that they were about to board their planes and I’m like, “Don’t board it.” So I really just posted it so everyone would know and make some new plans. It is crazy that it’s all come down to this, but I guess it’s just what we have to do.
MotoXAddicts was the first moto site to post anything about COVID-19 possibly canceling the Seattle SX back on March 7th—the day of the Daytona SX. I’m in Oregon and Seattle is close. The news was reporting that Seattle was getting hit really hard by the virus, and for the first time, it felt like it could cancel an event or more. The more I researched, the more it literally felt like I was standing on the beach looking at a 200-foot waving coming in that nobody was expecting.
Yeah, it first started off that we were racing Indy with no fans. Then, the next thing you know, everything is getting canceled. It wasn’t a big surprise because the NBA and pretty much everything else by then had been getting canceled. It’s wild! The whole world has been put on pause—come to a halt. It’s a crazy to live through this time.
I see your Instagram posts and you’ve done a little riding, probably more before the “stay in place order,” and you’re definitely keeping up on your training, but how different is the mentality right now with so much unknown in front of you?
It’s a lot different. I’m literally just training because I enjoy training. I want to be fit. It’s a lot different, though. Luckily for me, I do enjoy training, so I’ve really just been training for fun. I’m just keeping fit or keeping the pencil sharp as they say. (laughs)
Just today, FELD put out a press release saying that the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season is not over. They basically said rounds 11-17 are getting scheduled and more news is to come. I’ve heard from a reliable source that they are very much trying to get them all in before the WW Ranch outdoor MX season opener. With that I have to ask, does TMZ Deano have any inside info on how or when they plan on making the final 7 rounds of SX happen?
I believe they’ll run the last 7 rounds after the outdoors. From what I’ve heard, there’s going to be two rounds at one venue run on like a Friday and a Monday, which is super weird. From what I heard, that will be in like September through October. It’s going to be weird, for sure, but I definitely want to finish off the last 7 rounds. I feel like I’ll be good and healthy by then and I want to move up in the points.
You started the SX season slow due to the hip injury from Monster Cup, but you were consistently inside the top-ten the last four or five rounds and moved up to a tie for 8th in the points. What are your thoughts on your SX season up until the pause?
Obviously, the results don’t look great on paper, but from where I came from, I have to be happy with it. I only had two weeks of riding before the season and was maybe at 70% health. I wasn’t near ready, but I wanted to start the season off and get points. I did that, rode smart, started feeling better and my results were getting better. My fitness was also getting better. I really just raced myself into shape. I’m happy with how I feel now. That was a nasty injury that I had at Monster Cup. I’m proud of everything I did to heal up and to make it to the first round. I’m happy to be in the series and inside the top-ten in the points. I was really starting to pick up some momentum, so I was bummed about this coronavirus pause.
That Monster Cup crash happened in October and it’s March now, but I have a feeling, if that was me, I would still be laying on the face of that next double in pain. It was amazing you made A1 after that.
That was a tough one. I think a dislocated hip is the most painful injury. It was definitely the most pain I’ve had in my life. I also broke it in three places. The rehab for that was pretty crazy. I had to walk in the swimming pool after six weeks. I was so proud to be at Anaheim 1 and be in the mix. It was a tough journey.
When you are able to get out and ride during this downtime, is your focus kind of 50/50 Supercross and Motocross or are you going to just focus on MX until you know definitively you have some SX coming?
I’m not even thinking about SX, because I know we won’t be racing it for a long time. I’ll just get my outdoor bearings going a little bit. I’m actually going to take a bit of a break now because I don’t think we’re going to have much of an offseason. I think for the next few weeks I’m going to just relax. I think we’re going to be gearing up for a long haul through September, October, November, and December. Then here comes Anaheim 1. I’m going to try and be smart, rest up a little bit and keep training.
Right now we’re assuming the last 7 rounds of SX will be run and everyone will be able to fulfill their contractual obligations that can, but with a lot of contracts being structured in a way that if a rider misses X amount of races, they lose X amount of dollars. Are you hearing anything about riders possibly losing money if those last 7 races on the SX schedule are not completed due to coronavirus?
I’m not sure. Husqvarna has been awesome with all of us and I believe if we are racing and making up for the races that were missed, I don’t think it will be a problem. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that.
You are a former AMA outdoor national MX champ and outdoors is where I think you are at your best, but you’ve never really been at full strength on the 450. This year, you’re on a bike you know well, you are going to have plenty of preparation and you will probably be at full strength if all goes well. With this field, do you see yourself fighting for podiums in ’20?
Yeah, I do. I feel like I can put in some good results, but what I’m really stoked about is that I’m feeling good and healthy. Last year I was feeling good during SX, but I dislocated my shoulder. That was a tough one that caused me to miss the first six rounds of outdoors. I feel like I’m going to have a really good season. I like the outdoors. I feel like I’m good during the long motos, I’m good in the heat and my bike’s awesome so I think we’ll be in for a good season.
Before I let you go. What does Dean Wilson’s day of self-quarantining look like? Who are you with, and what’s it look like for you?
It’s just me and my fiancé Sarah. I train a lot and watch a lot of Netflix. I’m watching the new season of the Formula One show at the moment. I just finished “The Tiger King” today actually. That’s pretty interesting. Just keeping it mellow and trying to do the right thing.
By the way, that quick change video with you and your fiancé on Instagram was awesome. Although, while you wore it well, I think she did look better in the black top than you.
That’s what they’re saying—she looks better—but I gotta disagree. (laughs) It was just for a laugh. We like to have fun and like to make other people laugh during this tough time that we’re going through.