Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Cooper Webb showed strength at yesterday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The North Carolina rider ended the night sixth, despite a late-race crash while battling up front in the main event. Justin Cooper also overcame adversity to finish eighth, and Eli Tomac had a solid first race back, joining them in the top 10 with a ninth-place finish.
Webb hit the ground running at Angel Stadium and was third in the combined times. From there, he got a great start and kept cool under pressure to win his first heat race at the revered venue. In the main event, he got another good start in third and was on the heels of the runner-up rider, and kept trying to make his way forward on a track that was difficult to make passes on. Unfortunately, Webb crashed in the final laps but quickly rejoined in sixth, where he would finish to score some valuable points in the championship.
His teammate Cooper also showed strength at the opening round, which kicks off his first entire season in the premier class. The New Yorker qualified fifth but didn’t get off the gate as he was hoping for in his heat race and finished seventh. With a less-than-ideal gate pick for the main, he found himself caught behind an early race pile-up and was 16th after the first lap. Undeterred, Cooper put his head down to make his way up to eighth, where he would finish.
Tomac had a solid first race back, qualifying sixth. With chaos in the first turn of the first 450SX heat race collecting multiple riders, he didn’t get the start he hoped for, but he made his way from sixth to fourth. In the main event, he had the seventh gate pick and was 11th after the start. The multi-time champ fought his way up to eighth and ultimately crossed the line ninth.
Next weekend, the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team heads north to San Francisco, California, for Round 2 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship and the SuperMotocross World Series at Oracle Park on January 13.
Jeremy Coker – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“Anaheim 1 is one of those races with a lot of unknowns, and anything can happen. So even though our results didn’t show what we can do, I’d say it was a good start to the season overall. Cooper was riding great all day. He got some great starts, won his heat race, and was on pace with the lead group and battling up front. Unfortunately, he crashed late in the main, but he didn’t give up and salvaged some points. Justin also had a good first round, and Eli had a good first race back. We’ll go back to work and come back swinging next weekend.”
Cooper Webb – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing #2
“Today was a great day. Qualifying went really well. I was second and third, which was awesome for me, and then I won my heat race. I’ve never won a heat race at A1, so that was really cool. In the main event, I got off to a decent start. I was in third place and trying to get around Jason (Anderson) the whole race. It was kind of us three the whole time – me, him, and Jett (Lawrence). I was trying to make passes, but I just couldn’t make anything stick. Then I had a big crash there at the end. I don’t really know what I did, maybe hit a kicker or something, but all I know is the front went over, and I took a big hit. I’m lucky to be feeling alright. I’m just a little beat up, but nothing crazy, and I still salvaged some decent points. Overall, I’m really happy with my riding. I felt like I was one of the best guys tonight, so I’m super stoked about that and ready for 16 more rounds.”
Justin Cooper – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing #32
“The day started really well. I felt really good in practice and qualified fifth, so that was really good. From there, I wouldn’t say the day went south, but I didn’t get the best of starts and got seventh in the heat. In the main, I had a poor gate pick, so I kind of got shuffled to the outside and was part of that pileup. Then I just had to work my way through the pack. I felt really good in the main, honestly. I had a good flow, clicked off as many guys as I could, and got up to eighth, and that’s where I stayed. I’m happy with the progress and most importantly, happy to get through the first one safe. It’s definitely something to build on, and I’m excited about how I was riding today.”
Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing #3
“It was great to be back on the gate, but I underperformed, to say the least. We will be back stronger next week.”