Calculated Cooper Webb on surviving the opening laps of chaos at Anaheim 1

Cooper Webb gave an insight into his analytical mentality that allowed him to work his way through the carnage of the early laps of the main event and come back to second place – his best result ever for a 450 opening rounds. In addition, Webb didn’t have the greatest day in practice with his times never in the top five, and then he fell in the heat race but yet again, Webb’s mental strength showed and he gathered himself when it mattered to deliver the result.

I asked Webb what was going through his mind when he was under a bit of pressure early in the main event, his answer revealed the depth of his cool thinking under pressure: “There was a lot of chaos, like you said. There were bikes going everywhere, left and right. Definitely guys rubbing, trying to get those early passes in. It’s tough. It really is. You kind of want to go for it but you also kind of want to get through those first few, especially how we were all bunched up. Then you kind of have some guys that you know are going to maybe fall off the back a little bit. So, you don’t want to lose track position, which I kind of feel like we did tonight.

“But overall, going through, getting around guys and with the conditions, you try to set up a pass, but going through the rhythms you don’t know where you’re going to end up sometimes. So, it was definitely a little chaotic. Just tried to stay calm and know if what I’m doing is working or not. It’s definitely calculated and [based on] who you’re racing and where you try to pass. You can’t show where you want to go too soon, and you can’t wait around too long, or you’ll get left. That’s the joy of racing. It’s always a different weekend, different scenario. I always enjoy that.”

After saying he hadn’t touched a clicker since November. Webb admitted later in the press conference that he will be doing some set-up testing this week in order to find something more comfortable this weekend in Oakland: “There’s definitely some work to do. We do our off-season, and for me I was in Florida. So, you get a variety of tracks but nothing’s like racing. That little more intensity, that little more effort, the nerves, the roughness of the track. We’ll get to work and try to improve. I feel like we can improve the bike a good little bit and see where it ends up. Overall, I think it’s a really nice platform to start with. I think our base setting is close enough and we’ll try to improve it, but don’t go crazy and get yourself lost.”

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On achieving second despite a tough day Webb said: “It’s a much better spot to be in, especially after last year [Webb finished ninth at last year’s opener]. I’m stoked with it. To be on the podium with a second, I’m stoked, especially with how the night unfolded. It’s definitely nice to be in the thick of things moving forward and not have with your back against the wall after round one.”

Despite getting second at the opener after a bad day, in a brilliant demonstration of damage limitation, look for Webb to be even better going forward!

Article: Jonathan McCready

Images: Align media

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