Who impressed: Supercross 2021

Cooper Webb: The American just knows how to win when it matters! When the pressure is on, Cooper Webb delivers – that is the simplest way to describe what makes Cooper Webb so good. Ken Roczen is more talented and a lot of times he is faster but when it comes to the fight and making it happen under pressure Webb ups his game while Roczen plays safe.

When Roczen crashed with 12 second lead in Atlanta, he stopped jumping the whoops, , meanwhile Webb “smelt blood” and upped his laptimes pulling away from Tomac to catch and pass Roczen and deliver the final nail in the coffin for Roczen’s championship hopes. When it mattered the most Webb was prepared to up his pace and risk it all to win, Roczen with his injury past wasn’t willing to risk it all and the man who wanted to win the most won the title.

Cooper Webb is the ultimate competitor. He finds your weakenesses and somehow, even if you are faster, lures you into his trap and exploits your weaknesses and maximises his strengths. He is a true champion in how he manages series and rises to the occasion and is able to extract that deep desire to win and turn it into faster lap times in critical moments.

Roger DeCoster’s words on Webb tell the story of what a great competitor he is and with the rider’s DeCoster has seen, raced and managed it is high praise indeed: “There have been many great champions over the years but when it comes to race craft and the really deep desire to win, Cooper is special and he ranks at the very top. Even when it was not necessary to win today – he could have just rode around and 18th would have been sufficient – but he decided he wanted to win the race and it was very impressive how he ended the season. The guy has so much heart, he keeps impressing me time after time and I’m really thankful for that.”

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Ken Roczen: While he didn’t quite deliver the championship in the second half of the season, Roczen, when he was on, was back to his very best. He was incredible to watch at times, he looked so smooth that it belied just how fast he was able to go. In Atlanta with a 12 second lead, Roczen looked slower than his competitors yet was pulling away with ease, in a demonstration of how good and how talented Roczen really is. If the championship was won on raw talent and speed, Kenny would be champion. But that last bit of taking risks under pressure, the German no doubt heavily impacted by the pain of previous injuries, just couldn’t quite defeat Webb when it really mattered.

Aaron Plessinger: This was a big year for Plessinger in his career, he had to produce results and to his credit he backed up his pre-season claims and delivered some superb performances. Looking back to his loose and confident best, Plessinger showed he can run with the elite indoors and looks to have earned himself with a seat with the Red Bull KTM team. It was mission completed for Plessinger in 2021 and he deserves a lot of credit to come out of 2 years ravaged by injuries to get his career back on track.

Sexton Honda

Chase Sexton: For his first season in the 450 class, the speed Chase Sexton showed was incredible. He looked set to win in Houston until he crashed and got close again in Salt Lake City. He is the real deal on the 450 and he wants it badly. If he stops crashing he could be Honda’s ace main guy as soon as next season and Roczen might have a fight on his hands as the number one rider on the team – if Roczen stays there for 2022!

Words: Jonathan McCready
Images: Yamaha/ Align media