SX Rookie Cooper Webb Puts the New YZ250F On Podium at Anaheim 2
ANAHEIM, California, (January 21, 2014) –In his rookie supercross season, Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb got the nod to race the AMA 250cc Western Regional Supercross Series, simply because he was the fastest rider on-board the all-new 2014 Yamaha YZ250F during testing earlier this season.
But it’s not just about speed: With the introduction of any radically new motorcycle, there comes the huge responsibility of figuring out what settings work and don’t work.
After a couple of strong rides at the first two rounds, Webb grabbed his second main-event holeshot in a row at Anaheim 2 on his way to his first podium finish.
We caught up with Webb to get his take on the weekend, his starts, his first podium, and his 2014 Yamaha YZ250F:
You grabbed a podium finish tonight, which isn’t bad considering it’s your third professional Supercross race...
Cooper Webb: No, it was unreal! I got another holeshot and rode behind [Cole] Seely for, I think, nine laps, then [Jason] Anderson got me. I was just trying to stay with those guys. But I kind of got nervous with about five [laps] to go and I was like, “Man, I just want to stay up and get this podium.” So, I just kind of settled and ended up getting it. And it’s awesome. My third ever race, to be on the podium, I think, is pretty incredible.
Well, at the last race in Phoenix, you were in a podium spot and you got knocked off the track by Anderson, into the sand, and then you got a little impatient trying to get by Shane McElrath and knocked you both down. Is that part of what was going through your mind? Were you trying keep it calm?
Cooper Webb: Yeah, for sure. I think last weekend I was just very impatient, so this weekend I wanted to improve on that. I got another good start and just was trying to pace Seely and stay right there; tried not to get too excited. But, that was definitely running through my head, “Don’t make any mistakes. Don’t make any mistakes.” I think now that I got the podium I can really look forward and just worry about riding and doing my own laps; try to be in the category with the front runners.
And in qualifying today you were right in there with them most of the day.
Cooper Webb: The second qualifier, I qualified fourth, and my last lap I got sketchy and jumped off the track. I just about crashed, actually. I just tried to save it, but I got docked my fastest lap because they [the AMA] said I rushed back onto the track too fast. I went from fourth-fastest to, I think, seventh. That’s still not too bad, but I haven’t been on the board all year in qualifying, so it was kind of like, “All right, sweet!” And then they took it away!
Talk about the starts you’ve been getting, too. It’s obvious you’re bike’s not short on horsepower...
Cooper Webb: For sure! We worked a lot with Yamaha and the GET system. And this year’s bike, I can’t say it enough; it’s really unbelievable. And for us at Star Racing to start from scratch, with a stock YZ250F, and pretty much have me develop it to be the best it can for me, that’s cool. I went from never pulling a holeshot to now pulling two in a row, and even a heat race last week. So, I don’t know if it’s me or the bike, but I’m loving it.
Well, they say that the biggest key to getting starts is believing you belong up front...
Cooper Webb: Yeah, once I got the one in the heat, I knew I could do it. But you’ve got to have the bike, too.
We’re three races into your professional supercross career, and you just got your first podium finish. There are three races left before the Western Regional SX Series goes on hiatus. What are your goals for these races coming up?
Cooper Webb: Just try to build from here. Obviously, if I can stay on the podium, that would be unreal, but I think for me, I feel like I’ve gotten better every weekend. I just want to keep progressing from there. I just can’t settle. Like I said, I’ve got a podium now, so I can knock that off and really focus on maybe by the end of the series, trying to get a win. I’m not sure where the points are now, but I’m in there. I just want to try to build, stay consistent, and be there in the end of each race.