Matthes Report: Cooper Webb

How does Webb stack up?

How does Webb stack up?

This weekend in Detroit we’ll see Monster Yamaha’s Cooper Webb make his return to the series. Webb, a two-time 250SX champion, has been one of the more eagerly awaited rookies the last few years to jump into the big boy class. Unfortunately for him, a shoulder injury just as he was really starting to turn it on stopped his charge to the top step of the podium.

Webb started the series slow but he was figuring out this supercross stuff with his first ever podium before his crash that hurt his shoulder and hurt him in his last main event. There’s no doubt that Cooper will get a win at some point but with Monster Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac and Red Bull KTM teammates Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin riding so well, it’s tough (in my opinion) to see Webb being able to step back in with six races left and get that first ever 450SX win. I wouldn’t be that surprised to see him do it, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The supercross game just gets elevated each week you’re out and Webb’s been out a month.

With that in mind, and with him being a two-time 250SX champion, let’s take a look at some other 250SX champions that came into the premier class with hype and look at their results in their first full-time premier class supercross series.

Jeremy McGrath (Average Position: 2.0)
4 5 1 1 1 1 4 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 9

Well, this worked out pretty well, wouldn’t you say? A two-time 250SX champion, like Webb, Jeremy came into the division with some 450SX experience as he rode the opposite coast from time to time. He started a tad slow, won the third race and never looked back to become the greatest supercross rider of all time.

Ricky Carmichael didn't set the world alight at first, but turned out just fine (Monster Energy Media)
Ricky Carmichael (Average Position: 10.0)
6 19 4 14 19 4 18 6 11 12 7 19

RC only won one 250SX title, but says to this day he should’ve stayed down for one more year because, as you can see, his rookie 450SX season was rough. He was very fast but a tad out of control and at round two he got a footpeg in his leg and sat out a few races. Of course we all know what happened, he won Daytona his second year in the class in 2000 and then won the title in '01.

James Stewart (Average Position: 2.5)
5 3 1 4 1 1

Stewart’s jump to the 450SX class was probably the most anticipated in history, after winning two 250SX titles in three years in the class (his rookie 250SX season, like Carmichael’s, wasn’t successful due to crashes, but he was probably the fastest man in the class), and his debut was maybe the muddiest SX season opener of all time, Anaheim 2005. He survived that, broke his arm in practice at the next race and we would all have to wait. Once back he diced with RC and Chad Reed immediately and won a bunch of races. He was next level right away.

Ryan Villopoto (Average Position: 4.5)
5 7 4 3 3 4 3 9 6 9 1 4 1

Villopoto only got one 250SX title out of his three chances as injuries and Trey Canard prevented him in the other years. He was dominant outdoors though, so there was still plenty of hype. RV started a tad slow and started figuring things out, but then got sick and missed some races. Once he came back he won his first 450SX in front of his hometown crowd and was off.

Not many people would have tipped Ryan Dungey to achieve so much (KTM Images)
Ryan Dungey (Average Position: 2.5)
2 1 1 4 6 4 2 1 2 2 1 2 5 1 4 4 1

Dungey’s rookie year, like McGrath’s, saw him take the title after a big fight with Villopoto that ended with RV breaking his lower leg at St Louis. Injuries to James Stewart and Chad Reed helped the kids get immediate results. Dungey’s 250SX class finishes were great, but he didn’t have as much hype as Villopoto. It was a big surprise that he could not only win the title, but be so damn fast.

Eli Tomac (Average Position: 9.2)
21 7 11 21 2 6 9 4 2

Tomac crashed out of a couple of races, hurt himself at another and it was a stop and start kind of year for the then-GEICO Honda rider. But, as a past 250SX champion, we knew he had some potential to do some damage. Supercross hasn’t always been as easy for Eli as outdoors but that’s starting to change.

Ken Roczen (Average Position: 5.7)
1 6 3 6 2 3 6 1 21 2 20 5 4 3 7 5 3

Roczen was in the title fight the entire season until a couple of DNFs knocked him back, but winning his first race in the class (not his first career 450SX race) was a nice start. Right from the start the German showed that although he says MX comes easier to him, supercross was also right up his alley.

Cooper Webb (Average Position: 9.5)
10 14 8 8 3 14

So, where does Webb fit in? Well first off the season’s not over and, second of all, although he’s far off McGrath, Dungey and Stewart pace, he’s also right around RC and Tomac. Really the number one thing to gleam from these stats is that it doesn’t really matter. First year 450SX success is great but if you’re not great that’s okay too. Carmichael and Tomac have been just fine, right? We’re betting that Webb will be also.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media

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