Cooper Webb’s rookie season in the 450 class has had it’s ups and downs. The season started off slowly for him, but after the first 5 rounds he really seemed to have the 450 dialed. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury suffered in Minneapolis sidelined him for many rounds just as he was getting going. He returned to racing a few weeks ago, and has been steadily getting back to the point where he left off.
In Seattle, Cooper had his best race of the year arguably: he got a great start, held off a charging Tomac, passed Anderson, and was running the leader’s pace before crashing and finishing 8th. Still, there was a lot of positives on his night, and we had the chance to talk to Webb after Seattle about the race and his season so far.
Moto Now: You had a great ride in Seattle. You were up near the front, moved into second, and then a crash. How do you feel about it?
Cooper Webb: Yeah, it was definitely a bummer. It was a tough race for sure, but there are a lot of positives to take out of it. I feel like I finally rode like myself. Qualified first, won the heat race, and had good starts all day. I was in the battle, so that’s good. Just unfortunate that with so little laps left that I made that mistake. But, you know, you live and you learn. Definitely will be back.
Eli passed you, but you were not intimidated at all. You just went in there and took him high!
I didn’t care who it was, I was just taking my position, and then I made that mistake. I really wanted that podium, I was just going for it. It was cool, we’ll see. I haven’t heard anything [about him not liking the pass], but to me that’s good racing and I think it was pretty fun actually! (laughs).
It’s your third race back from injury only, so it must feel good being back near the front so quickly. How does your shoulder feel?
Shoulder is one hundred percent good. I’ve been a little been off the past two [rounds], some little crashes, and just some little unfortunate stuff. So it’s nice to really turn it around; be first in practice, be first in my heat, prove to myself and everyone that I can run with those guys. It was fun battling with them, I made some good passes, so yeah I’m excited. I’ve been riding some outdoors, I have a little bit of time on the bike, so I feel like I will be strong for these last 3 supercrosses.
So you decide to come back to supercross after the injury. You mention that you’ve been training for outdoors. Is it hard to change mentality and get motivated with such few rounds left in the supercross series?
Yes and no. For me, we’ve done a lot of outdoors, so I feel awesome on the bike. So I’m actually very excited for outdoors. But I’m glad I was up there [in Seattle], because I feel like I still have podiums in supercross. I truthfully feel like I have a win in me, so I think it’s just one of those things for me where I’m still learning, and I want to race to learn. That’s what I’ve taken this season as, it sucks that I had the injury, but I just want to learn and be a contender next year.
What do you think is the biggest thing you’ve learned so far in your rookie season?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing. I’ve learned just how fast these guys are, and for me I think a lot of bike set-up, and how to ride a 450. It’s a lot different than riding a 250, and with me being a small guy, it’s just a tough thing. Also, the training, the travel, the tracks, I’ve never done east coast races before, so that was something that I needed to learn. It’s just everything. Learn the team a bit better, learn myself, learn how it all goes. I feel like it’s definitely helped a lot, I’ve learned a lot, just to be able to take it into these next few and even into outdoors and next year, I think it’s pretty valuable stuff.
Cover photo from Racer X Online