Interview: Justin Cooper on Assen prep and riding with top GP riders

Justin Cooper makes his MXoN debut this weekend in Assen representing team USA.

The American will be up against the likes of Jago Geerts, Calvin Vlaanderen  and Thomas Kjer Olsen to name a few as they battle for MX2 glory.

We caught up with Cooper before the weekend.

Gatedrop: How is everything been going in Belgium and Holland riding wise coming into this weekend?

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Justin Cooper: Everything has been going good and pretty smooth. I’ve had my trainer, Gareth Swanepoel over here with me and he lived in Belgium for 10 years. He’s kind of my tour guide over here and everything has been going good. The preparation has been going great. We’ve ridden a lot of different tracks and I’m feeling comfortable- I’m ready to race now. I don’t think we’ve anything left to do out here, its go time!

Gatedrop: What kind of tracks have you rode coming into this weekend and how do the compare to American tracks?

Justin Cooper: I’ve ridden four tracks, Lommel and Bergham and few others. They’re not too bad compared to America  they’re obviously a lot rougher and deeper but I’ve always ridden the sand growing up so I love it. I’m proud I’m here especially for a sand race like this. I think my job as the MX2 rider is most important so I’m excited to see what I can do for the team. I’m excited to be here.

Gatedrop: Have you rode with many top GP guys at those tracks and I know you rode with Jeffrey, could you learn much from him?

Justin Cooper: I’ve ridden with pretty much all the GP riders.  Not really the 250 guys but most of the 450 riders. Jeffrey was cool to ride with, he was actually starting behind me in my motos and would come up and pass me. It’s cool to see and learn some stuff from him. It was good to see him in person for once, I haven’t seen him much but it was cool to learn from him and I’m excited to try and see what we can do as a team. It’s not really about each person, it’s a team result as a whole.

Gatedrop: In the MX2 class who do you expecting to be battling with and do you follow the GPs much?

Justin Cooper:  It’s all the top guys. I rode with Jago (Geerts) a little bit so I know he will be good. Calvin (Vlaanderen) and Thomas Kjer Olsen will be another factor. I’m excited to race those guys but I think I will do pretty good against them. We will see what we can do about the 450 guys, I’m not too worried about the 250 guys. I want to see how many points I can get ahead of the 450 guys.

Gatedrop: How are you finding being in Belgium and the Netherlands? Would you consider racing in the GP paddock in future?

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Justin Cooper: I’m not really enjoying it right now. I’m not used to it either, it’s my first time here and it’s quite the experience. I’ve seen a lot over here already, it’s cool and I like how it runs over here. In the future, I mean who knows, I could maybe try it but right now the focus is on America. We are here now and we are ready to go and kill it for America.

Gatedrop: When you say you aren’t enjoying it, why’s that? Is it a bit of a culture shock?

Justin Cooper: Yeah, it is. I mean I haven’t been anywhere but America so it’s quite the experience to say the least. It is definitely different over here. I feel like there’s a lot more to do just beside my house in America. I feel a little bit out of place I guess but the riding and training around here is good.

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Pic: Niek Kamper