After signing with the Red Bull / KTM team for the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship series, Cooper Webb shocked us all with a dominant 450SX Championship winning performance that included 7 wins and 13 podiums. It is now four rounds into Cooper’s first-ever 450SX title defense in 2020 and so far the #1 has not looked like the same rider that amassed those impressive ’19 stats. The #1 has two podiums—both 3rd place finishes—to start the year, but so far what is worrisome is, he has not yet even been in the fight for a main event win.
Last year, Cooper got his first-ever win at the Anaheim 2 “Triple Crown” event, but at last night’s Glendale SX “Triple Crown” he spent much of the night getting passed by the guys he often had covered in 2019. In the first main of the night, Cooper started 13th and climbed up to 8th in the shortened main, but in both of the last two main events, it was a different scenario. Cooper started 2nd in both of the final two mains, only to go backward and finish them with a 5-4 scorecard. His 8-5-4 score gave him a very lucky 4th overall on the night.
It is way too early in the year to write the #1 off as a title contender and Cooper has proven in the past that he is capable of turning it all-around at any time, but being 20 points down after just four rounds is definitely not where Cooper or the team thought they’d be at this point. After the main events were over, we caught up with an obviously frustrated but optimistic Cooper Webb in the pits to talk about his night.
Cooper, 4th overall tonight at the Glendale SX. Can you talk about your night a little bit?
Yeah, it was a so-so night. I struggled a little bit all day. The first main event wasn’t very good—I got a terrible start. I made some good passes but it wasn’t a good result. We were able to salvage it at the end. I got some much better starts and got passed in both by all the top guys. I went 4-5 in the last two, so I salvaged a 4th, but I didn’t quite have it. Those guys were a little better all day. I need to go back to the drawing board. I need to commit in my whoops and figure those out. I guess I can’t be too bummed. After the first main event, it was a little uneasy so it’s good to turn it around.
I know that you getting passed is not something you like and you are the guy that is always moving forward or trying to move forward so is that what is bumming you out?
Yeah, I think that’s more why I’m bummed. I put myself in 2nd place the last two main events right behind Kenny and I had the perfect opportunity to watch him around the track and I wasn’t able to do that. I got passed multiple times by those guys but, you know what, some nights are like that. It’s definitely been a while since I’ve been passed like that. (laughs)
Are you and the team progressively working on the bike in between motos on a night like tonight?
Yeah, honestly, we are. It’s something we’ve been kind of tweaking on a little bit—maybe a little too much actually. We know the whoops is something I need to be better at and as I said, I think I’ve improved since last year but it’s still not at the level of the guys that won—or top three, four or five tonight. I think that’s what cost me tonight and I just need to be better.
Seems like with almost everyone I ask about the three main event thing [the Triple Crowns], nobody seems to like it. There are the added danger, the extra starts and all that stuff. In some ways, though, it allowed you to have the extra starts to work on stuff. What’s the give and take on that?
There’s pro’s and con’s like you said. Tonight we ended up doing five starts [due to two red flags] which is crazy.
At least you were doing 100mph at the end of that long start straight. (laughs)
Well, the data said we’re at 75mph. To me, doing that many starts can get a little bit dangerous. I think you saw that there with the one start. At the same time, I feel that if you’re feeling it and you’re flowing, I think the Triple Crowns are nice. Like we saw from Ken.
Well yeah, you won your first 450 race in a Triple Crown event.
Exactly! It’s all perspective, I guess. Obviously, there are pro’s and cons. I prefer the 20-minute mains. I think they’re a bit more fitness involved. I forgot, honestly, how much track prep on the Triple Crowns. But there’s three each year that we have to prepare for.
Photos by: Simon Cudby