Heading into the 2019 season, Cooper Webb left factory Yamaha for the Red Bull / KTM team and nobody really knew what to expect from the former 250 Champion who had struggled the last two seasons on the blue 450. One thing we knew for sure was that Cooper had fully bought into the new program when he packed his stuff, moved to Florida and settled in at Aldon Baker’s Bakers Factory with Marvin Musquin, Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne as his training partners.
That move would quickly pay off for the #2. By round three of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season he had already scored his first-ever 450SX win and the flood gates were officially open. With that win and the confidence that came with it, Cooper ended the 17 round series with 6 wins, 13 podiums and the 2019 450SX Monster Energy Supercross Championship on his career resume. Now the question became, could he do the same thing during the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship?
While Cooper has a 250 AMA Motocross Championship on his resume, he has two 250SX Regional Championships and SX seemed to come a little easier for him on the 250f. That appears to be the case on the 450 as well, with Cooper scoring no overall podium finishes over the first 7 rounds of the 2019 season. Just like in SX, though, Cooper’s first-ever 450 MX podium aboard the KTM 450 would land him on the top step of the box. With a perfect 1-1 day at Spring Creek over the weekend, Cooper scored his first 450 outdoor national win and proved to everyone—especially himself—he can do it indoors and outdoors on the big bike.
With that win, Cooper is 54 points behind Eli Tomac in the title chase with just eight motos left on the calendar so a second title in 2019 is a longshot, but will this once again open the flood gates? I do not know that answer, but it is awesome to have another horse in the race for wins every weekend. After his first win, Cooper answered some questions for the press. You can check out the Q&A from Spring Creek below.
It’s been a little while since we’ve seen you in one of these. What’s been going on between the start of this season and now?
Yeah, it’s great to be up front again and to be able to get a win again is incredible, obviously. I’ve yet to be on the podium overall so it’s nice to do that and be up front today. It was awesome!
You win a Supercross Championship and a lot comes with that: a lot of responsibilities, a lot of expectations. Has any of that affected you coming into the outdoors? Just stuff maybe you weren’t prepared for like media requirements or anything like that?
I mean, obviously, it’s definitely a lot more but when you do so well in Supercross you kinda expect to do, you know, similar in outdoors and in it’s a whole new game. It was a lot of learning for me. I had to kind of start with a setting up with the bike and really kind of getting motos underneath me and stuff like that. It’s been a big adjustment for sure. And like I said, the class is stacked this year. Especially those first couple of races, I felt like I was riding really good and going 6-6. It was tough, but we keep improving and we keep getting better. I feel like I’m at a good spot where I’ve learned a lot with my body and the bike and doing a full season. And how outdoors kind of work on the 450 a little bit.
You didn’t have to beat [Ken] Roczen to get the overall. What made you try to jump that triple and try to get him back and fight back like that? Were you just feeling it? Did you want the moto win regardless of how it affected the overall?
Yeah, for sure. And I felt really good at the beginning of the race. You know, we were right there with each other battling. I think he passed me and I actually passed him back and I just kinda knew if I could dig deep, that he wouldn’t maybe go the whole distance. So I was able to get a good flow and was catching him a bit by bit by bit, and I knew it’d be close. I just kept plugging away and focusing on trying to catch him. I really just wanted the moto with,
Did it just happen to work out for you today or has something changed over the last couple of weeks or even the off-weekend that made you feel better even coming in? Did you know today might be a better day?
You know, I think it’s been getting better. I mean, I’m progressing for sure. Honestly, I think the biggest thing was this weekend, I was really able to unwind and take some time off and kinda recover. I think that was a huge thing for me. We figured a little bit out with the bike this week, and I think I just came in a little fresher mentally and kind of a recharged a bit. So, I think it was obviously good to have that little break.
You’ve always fed off of confidence. We saw that in Supercross. On the gate ready for moto two, did you feel different mentally because you suddenly had a moto win under your belt for the first time?
Oh, for sure. Obviously, that comes with having a back it up. Even though it was muddy or whatever that first moto, it was still a moto win for me. It was like huge confidence gain and knowing that I was able to do it. Especially in the 450 class, like I said, is totally different than the 250’s. The mindset going into the second moto was I knew I could do good and to go out and try to achieve what I achieved.
Photos by: Simon Cudby