It was the type of performance one might expect from a seasoned veteran, but with a near-perfect record rookie Dylan Ferrandis wrapped up the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450 championship with one round remaining.
Describing Ferrandis’ season as “near-perfect” may even be quibbling a bit – depending on how one measures such a concept. In terms of moto finishes, Ferrandis swept the top five in 22 races, failing to stand on the podium just twice in Moto 2 at Spring Creek and Moto 1 at Washougal. Does that count as perfection?
In terms of overall finishes, Ferrandis never failed to ascend the podium with two third-place finishes at Spring Creek and Washougal as his worst results. It is difficult to imagine getting much closer to flawlessness. Certainly no one else came close in the 450 class.
Ferrandis never had a perfect weekend with a 1-1 moto finish, but he was first and second four times. Three of these top-two sweeps came in the most recent three rounds, denying another rider any opportunity to shave any points off his total.
If that does not define perfection in a major league sport, one is hard-pressed to know what actually qualifies.
Ferrandis led the points after 10 of 11 rounds, losing the red plate by only one point after Round 2.
Even though it was remarkable, Ferrandis’ championship was perhaps not surprising. He won 2019 and 2020 250 West Supercross titles as well as the 2020 250 Motocross championship. In 2019, he was second on a 250 in the outdoor championship.
But after finishing seventh in the 2020 Supercross standings in the 450 class, one had to wonder if there would be growing pains with his transition to the bigger bike. One didn’t have to wonder long.
— Pro Motocross (@ProMotocross) September 6, 2021
Ferrandis won the opening round with a 1-3 in the motos. He finished 2-2 the next week, only to see the rider who would become his main rival record a perfect 1-1 finish and earn maximum points.
Ken Roczen began the season with his own set of questions. After missing last year to heal from a bout with the shingles virus, he thought there might be a little rust that needed to be knocked off. If he was not 100 percent, it didn’t show in the first three rounds.
Roczen briefly held a one-point lead after his perfect weekend in Round 2. With the veteran securing the upper hand, a rookie might have faltered.
Ferrandis refused to show the slightest crack in his composure.
He won Round 3 at High Point Raceway and retook the red plate with a three-point lead.
He won Round 4 at RedBud and increased his advantage to 13 points.
Ferrandis won his fourth overall of the season and his third consecutive in Round 5 at The Wick and padded his lead by another six points.
For Roczen, it was beginning to resemble a death by a thousand cuts until he crashed at Moto 1 at Spring Creek and had back-to-back bad runs there and at Washougal.
Ferrandis might have gone into protection mode when he built his lead to 47 after Round 7, but he continued amassing points.
Even as Roczen finished 1-2 at Budds Creek and Eli Tomac won the next two rounds, Ferrandis did not give up any points with worst moto finish of second.
“I think I’ve run out of emotion,” Ferrandis said after clinching the title. “Today was hard, last weekend was hard. I’ve pushed deep inside to get through it. I dreamed when I was young to be a 250 Class Champion, but I never dreamed of being a 450 Class Champion. It’s not even a dream come true, it is something that’s the best thing I could ever do in my life.”