Defending Champion Cody Webb On Another AMA EnduroCross Championship Battle In The Making
At the halfway point of the series, Colton Haaker and defending champion Cody Webb are locked in a dead heat for the points lead. Cody Webb talks about what it’s going to take to defend his number-one plate.
This is a press release from EnduroCross…
Irvine, CA (October 2, 2018) – Even though he is the defending AMA EnduroCross champion, Cody Webb has been tasked with a difficult comeback this season. The Red Bull FMF/KTM rider suffered a broken foot and injured knee at the Erzberg Rodeo in May, and spent the better part of the summer on the couch when he, ideally, would have been training. He came into the season with very little prep time and has been racing himself back into shape, but still managed to take the opening round win after an intense battle with Haaker, and another victory at round three in Reno.
In between his wins was an uncharacteristic third-place finish at Costa Mesa. Webb revealed only after the race that he injured his shoulder in a practice crash during the week which held him up. But with only one week to the next round, Webb was able to turn it around and take his most dominant win of the season in Reno.
After three rounds, Webb is now tied with his archrival Haaker for the championship lead. We caught up with him to hear about the season so far, his struggle in Costa Mesa, his commanding performance in Reno and what it’s going to take to defend his title in the second half of the season.
Cody, we’re halfway through the series and you’ve had two exciting wins and one third-place at Costa Mesa. Talk about your season so far.
I slammed the ground the Thursday before Costa Mesa, so I was all beat up before the main event. I think just, mentally, my head really wasn’t in the game that day. I just rode really tight and uncomfortable so it showed in my results. I led the first little bit of the race and didn’t have the pace to match Colton there. He was riding really solid that night. So obviously needed to regroup and had to get myself back in the game.
I rode every day in between Reno and Costa Mesa and I had Trystan [Hart] at my house and Cooper Abbott and Cody Miller and we were just laying down moto after moto because, to be honest, I still felt like I wasn’t in racing shape, intensity-wise, after breaking my foot. I kinda feel like I got lucky at Prescott to get the win. I just put in the hard work that I wasn’t able to do leading up to the series and I know I only had one week, but it was enough to get my confidence back again.
What does that do for your confidence when you’re training with Trystan? The guy who reeled you in at Costa Mesa? (Team SRT Husqvarna’s Trystan Hart made a late-race pass on Webb to finish second at round two, the first time Hart has ever finished in front of Webb.)
[laughs] Riding with Trystan is really good because he’s such a determined young rider right now; he really wants to make that break to be a top guy. We’re doing motos on my track and Kacy Martinez’s track and a couple other tracks in Nevada, and every time we ride we want to be competitive. So we start with a gap between us and he doesn’t want me reeling him in and I don’t want him closing the time on me. It causes us to both really push. We both end up excelling. Hopefully he doesn’t learn enough that he starts beating me! On a frequent basis!
I was definitely really bummed to see him get hurt like that because he’s a really nice kid and he’s been working really hard and he’s riding really well right now. It sucks that he went down like that in the heat race. [Hart had a crash in Reno and injured his wrist, and was unable to compete in the main event.]
In Reno it was incredible the way you had that Matrix dialed.
Definitely the Matrix helped me get that win in Reno. Colton, in terms of raw speed and aggression, I feel like he pretty much has me covered. I try as hard as I can but I can’t quite match his raw speed. But if it comes down to a technical sketchy line like that, I feel like I have the confidence to nail it. I think I [jumped into the Matrix] every lap in the main event, which was saying something, because in Costa Mesa I could barely even hold on about two-thirds of the way through the race. I just felt more comfortable and know I can hit those sketchy lines.
That double out of the corner seemed like another big key to the Reno track.
Two years ago I never woulda hit that double. I changed my track at home to have a bunch of risky jumps out of corners and it just helps with confidence. You gotta get a little bit out of your comfort zone and do something risky. So as soon as I saw that double jump that only Colton and I were doing I was like, ‘Oh, that’s no problem. I’ll do this.’ And you gotta have that mindset because otherwise you’re just going to be thinking about it all night and that’s when you get hurt because you don’t fully commit. But in the Matrix, I just got a huge confidence boost just nailing it every time, and it actually made it easier for me to get through it. I struggled more riding it like the other riders instead of just doing it the way I did it, to carry all that speed.
It almost seems like the key is to jump over the tougher obstacles rather than ride through them.
Yeah, a little bit. It depends on the obstacle. Like at home I can jump my whole wood pit, but I focus on going through it because it’s such a pain in the butt and sometimes you need something to ruin the flow. In Costa Mesa we were jumping up the whole rock garden pretty much—it was a little too easy, I think. But in Reno, that rhythm I had through the Matrix, it wasn’t like I was jumping the whole Matrix. I was tire-tapping my way through it. It was a really high-risk line that saved a lot of speed. Colton tried it over and over again in practice and he just had a bunch of crashes on it so that only increased my confidence more. But it’s gone both ways. There’s been tracks in the past where he’ll jump something that I won’t commit to and he’ll gain time on me. That was more of a technical thing versus an all-out, go-for-it mentality.
Well, you sure made it look easy.
Honestly, it was easier than just getting through it, like double, double, double. It doesn’t make sense, but it made the track easier for me.
What else has helped you gain the edge this season?
This year I changed the way I’ve been doing starts. I pretty much holeshotted two of the three main events this year, so that’s helped a lot. It makes life a lot easier when you get a good start.
At this point, what is it going to take to clinch the championship?
The biggest thing is confidence. I knew I didn’t have enough EnduroCross motos leading into the series, so in one week I did, like, triple the amount of 12-lap motos than I did all season leading up to it, just because of being hurt. I’m getting back in the game. My confidence is rising.
The season picks up on October 20th in Denver, Colorado where round four will take place at the National Western Events Center. Visit www.EnduroCross.com for more information and the latest news!
Riders can sign up for the remaining races here: https://secure.tracksideprereg.com/endurocross/.
2018 AMA EnduroCross Championship Schedule
August 25, 2018 – Prescott Valley, AZ – Prescott Valley Event Center
September 15, 2018 – Costa Mesa, CA – Racetrack at OC Fairgrounds
September 22, 2018 – Reno, NV – Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center
October 20, 2018 – Denver, CO – National Western Events Center
October 27, 2018 – Everett, WA – Angel of The Winds Arena
November 3, 3018 – Nampa, ID – Ford Idaho Center