Red Bull KTM rider Cooper Webb’s career has been a quintessential story of overcoming the odds. Even from day one, some would say it’s been an uphill battle. Growing up in rural North Carolina meant that obtaining the spotlight would take a bit of extra effort than that of his peers surrounded by the motocross industry in Southern California. However, with slim opportunity and no real support, Cooper was able to rise from the ashes in 2002 and obtain a championship at the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National in his first attempt. This would set the tone for his ability to turn lemons into lemonade as time would move forward.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned throughout my career is to never lose that faith in yourself. Never lose that self belief,” Webb said. Many would argue that this may be his most sought after skill. Time after time, Cooper has been able to block out negativity and even rational statistics to emerge victorious. In 2015 for example, we witnessed the young rider win the San Diego Supercross after suffering a shoulder injury in practice that would leave any average athlete sidelined.
Then in 2016, we watched him triumph to a hometown victory over the world champion Jeffrey Herlings in Charlotte that few thought would be possible. It seems as though when pressure is applied, Cooper Webb is able to feed off of that pressure to produce greatness. However, his greatest challenge was only right around the corner: his first two years in the 450 class.
When I’m done I’d love to be able to say, 'I left it all out there, I learned a lot and made a lot of good memories.' I’d be happy with that.
Cooper Webb’s first two years in the 450 class, proved to be difficult. Riddled with injuries and poor results, many thought that the success of his 250 career may be gone with the wind.
“When I went to the 450 in 2017, I should've done a lot better based off of what I accomplished in the Lites class," Webb said. "I definitely felt like I should’ve been better.” However, after a trying two years, the Red Bull/KTM Factory Racing team still believed that Webb had what it took to get the job done. So, in 2019 Cooper was presented with a new team — and a new outlook. This same year, the world would be left standing on their feet as the newly mounted Red Bull/KTM rider would triumph to his first World Supercross Championship in the 450 class, a feat that any betting man would have never thought possible.
“It ain’t gonna happen overnight. It might take weeks, months, or even years, but never lose faith,” Webb said.
In 2020, this faith led Cooper right back to where he used to be: the podium. Currently, he sits third in the 450 Supercross standings, and he recently grabbed a win at San Diego after overcoming a poor start in his typical triumphant style. In the past few years we have seen Cooper’s success, failure and every pit stop in between. But one thing we have yet to see is Cooper falter in the belief that he has what it takes to be great.
Whether you’re a fan or not, there’s no denying that Webb’s career has been a battle that would contest any “American Dream” saga. But when the checkered flag flies, it’s the simple things that will leave this 24-year-old professional Supercross racer satisfied.
“If I were to stop tomorrow I’d be over the moon with what I was able to accomplish," Webb said. "Being a kid riding dirt bikes, I never would have expected any of this. When I’m done I’d love to be able to say, 'I left it all out there, I learned a lot and made a lot of good memories.' I’d be happy with that."