The look on Cooper Webb’s face on the podium says it all. There is no joy in a 2nd place finish for a competitor like Webb. Photos by: Hoppenworld
Team USA rider Cooper Webb is a rider to watch in the future, there is no question about that. His style is exciting and his attitude to racing is something else again. What surprised many was the interest Webb had in the Grand Prix series. The whole Ryan Villopoto experience has opened the eyes of the American racers and Webb’s Team USA teammate Justin Barcia has already mentioned his interest in racing in Europe in the future.
Webb a rookie on the 450cc machine did more than anyone could have hoped and I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t want to see Webb return in 2016 for the Maggiora held MXoN. We caught up with the American youngster and talked about his Ernee experience.
Cooper, was it what you expected?
Yes and no. I didn’t know what to expect to be honest. When I started training I didn’t know where I would be with speed and endurance and that made it difficult, but it went good, really good. It wasn’t ideal to get second and for sure not when we travel all this way. It was very competitive and we did all we could. Obviously we could have fixed a few things and we might have won.
What did you think of the circuit?
It’s a lot different, but I like it, it’s really technical and you have to hit smooth lines to go fast, while in America you just hit any line and you are still ok. I thought the track was good, and it was definitely challenging and made for a lot of mistakes if you didn’t hit your mark. I enjoyed it.
The racing was very tight, was it difficult not to think about punting somebody off the track?
It was difficult, and the track was tight and in my opinion it was hard to pass, you needed a good start, and that helps a lot. For sure we did have aggressive riding, and fighting for your country you need to ride aggressive.
It seemed like you really had a lot of respect for the GP riders, does your respect grow from this event?
Oh for sure. I am fascinated by the GP’s and I watch nearly every race, and it was cool to meet these guys and I enjoy how they race and they are smart racers. I am sure I learnt something from them to take back to the American series.
Would you consider coming here to race full time?
Maybe, but I love Supercross too much I think. I would like to race some GP’s in my career, but in my opinion there is nothing like Supercross.
How was the whole European experience?
It was cool, I love coming to new places and seeing different things around the world and I spent time in Paris for Bercy and the countryside in France reminded me of the area where I am from in America. I really enjoyed it.
You showed great speed against our MXGP world champion Romain Febvre. How was that?
We had some great battles, we just went on from Glen Helen and I would get a start and he would be coming. It was a great experience, my first ever motocross of Nations was a huge honor and my nerves were high. A lot of people didn’t expect to perform like we did and the GP guys are knarly riders and it was a big experience for me.
What about that crowd? I know they get big crowds at the Supercross, but it isn’t anything like this is it?
We don’t have anything like this. I thought Glen Helen was load, but Ernee was a new level and I knew when Romain was on me and you had to stay calm, but it was hard when so many people were screaming for Team France.
That last moto on Sunday. What did you think when you started so badly?
I knew we had to make moves, but there were so many good guys on my inside at the start and we needed to get through the top runners. It was always going to be hard and Gautier and Romain were riding really hard.