American factory Beta rider Cody Webb is currently spending some time in Florence, Italy at the Beta headquarters in preparation for his upcoming 2011 season. He's been helping develop the all-new 350 RR factory race bike and will be contesting a round of the IEWC (European version of EnduroCross) during his stay as well as the Hell's Gate Extreme Enduro (February 12). â€¨The AMA National Trials Champion is about halfway through his Italian "vacation" and checked in to let us know how riding, training and life abroad is treating him.
How is life in Italy so far?
The trip has been going well so far. The weather is definitely not what I am used to compared to my lovely California winters, but I am getting through it. All I need is some grip warmers on my bike and I will quit my complaining!
The language barrier is difficult but luckily I took four years of Spanish in school and the Italian language is quite similar. Usually the mechanics and myself can get our points across through a mixture of English, Spanish, and Italian so it has been working out well.
How has the training and riding been going?
Training has been going very well. The whole team consisting of myself, Fabio Mossini, Oscar Balleti, and Johan Carlsson spent a week on the island of Sardegna (Sardinia) testing the bikes and practicing. The week in Sardegna passed very fast and I was happy to get two days break after that because I was a little sore.
After training with the team, I returned to the Beta factory near Florence with Johan and spent a day in the mountains around the factory doing some Enduro riding.
What can you tell us about the new 350 RR?
The new 350 is an awesome bike! I and everyone else on the team who have tested the bike are very happy with its performance. It's impressive how much better it handles than its bigger brothers in more technical terrain. Production begins very soon, so I am waiting impatiently for my bike to arrive back in the States.
The IEWC is coming this weekend... do you feel ready? Are you excited?
I feel as ready as I can be right now. This time I need to be a little more prepared mentally. Last time I went in without ever even getting my feet wet. The style of track and riders is much different in the IEWC (than in AMA EnduroCross). After riding the first round and gaining a little bit of experience, I feel as if I am much more prepared for a good finish this weekend. I am looking forward to it and I really want to do well for myself, team Beta, and everyone else back in the States.
Will you be doing the entire IEWC series? After this weekend there's only one left.
Whether or not I ride the rest of the series, which is only one round left in Portugal, depends entirely on my performance this weekend, I believe, so it is very important that I have a very good finish. I hope that Beta brings me back for the final round to end the season on a high note.
After the IEWC you have Hell's Gate. What are you doing to prepare for that?
What I should be doing is strapping an 520 RS to my back and running about and down hills to get my stamina and strength built up so more, but that's not going to happen! After the IEWC I'll be heading back to Italy on the same day extreme enduro specialist Kyle Redmond arrives. So during the week before Hell's Gate Kyle and I will be riding our Betas together through some of the nastiest terrain Italy has to offer. I also plan on riding early in the morning when there is still ice on the ground to try and become accustomed to the slippery conditions, similar to what we I will see race day. I have to hope be the smartest and fastest rider out there. I am sure my trials background and the Beta 350 are ready to put up a good fight against Hell's Gate!