Given dirt bike racing’s unpredictable nature, it remains to be seen if the future of supercross will belong to Cooper Webb.
But the present definitely is his.
The 23-year-old upstart from North Carolina clinched his first AMA Supercross title by finishing third in Saturday’s 450SX main event in front of a sellout crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium. Webb had such a commanding lead coming into the final that he needed only to finish 20th among the 22 starters to defeat veteran and Las Vegas race winner Eli Tomac for the championship.
“It’s been an incredible journey,” said the young racer, who finished 2019 with seven victories, 13 podium finishes and 15 top fives in 17 races to win the cup in dominating fashion. “This year was not expected at all. Man, it’s a dream come true.”
The retirement of four-time series champion Ryan Dungey in 2017 opened the door for a new breed of riders to charge to the forefront of the sport, with Webb succeeding Jason Anderson as a first-time champion. Anderson, 26, broke his left arm and fractured a rib in a practice crash following Round 3 of this year’s championship, ending his title defense.
After winning consecutive 250 class championships for Yamaha, Webb broke into the 450 division in 2017 before switching to the Red Bull KTM team for 2019. He was locked in a tight points battle with Tomac, Ken Roczen and teammate Marvin Musquin before taking command of the championship with a flurry of wins and top three finishes.
“It’s been a total transformation from the last two years,” Webb said about joining a KTM team headed by motorsports director Roger DeCoster and team manager Ian Harrison that also carried Dungey to success. “Having those guys has really changed my racing career for the better. Blessed to be around them and learn from the best.”
Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis (Yamaha) held off RJ Hampshire to win the 250SX East-West Showdown and West division title when points leader Adam Cianciarulo crashed late in the race. Chase Sexton (Honda) locked down the East championship by finishing fourth.
On the podium
Top three finishers at Saturday’s AMA Supercross season final at Sam Boyd Stadium:
1. Eli Tomac, Kawasaki
2. Marvin Musquin, KTM, —12.061 seconds
3. *Cooper Webb, KTM, —17.466 seconds
*Clinched season championship