Consigned to the history books, the battle between Cody Webb and Taddy Blazusiak for the 2018 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship title was epic, emotional and above all spectacular. 

 

With momentum on his side, consistent results through the season and the crucial bit of luck every champion needs, Cody Webb secured his debut world crown. 

Now the dust has settled, the time is right for a catch-up with KTM’s newest world champion. In an interview written by Robert Lynn for the KTM Blog, Cody talks about how the epic season panned out and looks forward to his next challenge — the World Enduro Super Series…

 

Congratulations Cody, becoming world champion is something you’ve worked towards for a while now, how does it feel to win the SuperEnduro World Championship?

Cody Webb: “Winning the world championship is huge for me — it’s definitely my biggest title to date. This series has the best riders in the world, so to go up against them and beat them is an amazing feeling. We’ve been through a lot this year, we’ve had the highs and also the lows of racing, but overall I’ve been relatively consistent and never gave up without a fight. It’s certainly going to take a while for this victory to sink in but I’m going to enjoy the moment.”

 

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Photo Credit: Future7Media

 

We’ve watched some incredible battles take shape between you and your closest rival Taddy Blazusiak, how have they been?

“I’ve got incredible respect for all these guys I’m racing but of course it’s special to go up against Taddy like that for the title fight — he’s the most decorated guy in our sport. He was my idol growing up and now here we are banging bars for a world championship. He came out of retirement for this series and he really gave it everything he had, so it is unfortunate for him to have the issues he had. At one stage momentum was on his side by winning the opening race, but I knew that with the 17-point cushion I had it would always give me a little bit more breathing room.”

Of course this championship was not just about one race but instead a full season and throughout it all you’ve really shown incredible consistency, did that make the ultimate difference?

“It’s hard to use the word consistent for a sport like SuperEnduro because it’s just so unpredictable but it is a good way to describe my season. I was always pushing for wins and the top step of the podium. I crashed and made mistakes as much as everyone else but somehow managed to fight back each time. I won seven races this year too, that’s more than everyone else and I was also never far off a top three result when I couldn’t win so I think that did make the difference in the end.”

 

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Photo Credit: Future7Media

 

We’ve seen so much on-track action this year, is that because everyone is riding at the maximum limit?

“The high intensity short format creates way more action. I think that’s why the highlight reel after each race is so wild. There’s just so much more going on because you don’t have time to wait.

“The intensity does get super-sketchy and I always get arm pump no matter what. I feel like I can ride really good at 85 per cent lap after lap, but in SuperEnduro it’s all-out, it’s 100 per cent all of the time. We might only do about nine or 10 laps but come the final lap I can barely hold on or pull the clutch. It’s crazy how that extra 10 per cent can put you over the edge like that.”

Looking forward and to the fast approaching World Enduro Super Series, are you ready for it?

“The whole idea of a mixed-discipline series is awesome but crazy at the same time. It’s like the Mayweather v McGregor fight, no-one knows who’s going to come out on top. We’ve Nathan Watson and Josep Garcia who are super fast riders but are going to struggle at other races. Also I’m not known for my moto skills and I know Graham Jarvis definitely isn’t either, so that’s going to be interesting to see how it pans out. But I’m excited about becoming that all-round better rider because of it.”

 

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Photo Credit: Future7Media

 

Where do you see your strengths in the WESS series?

“I’m going to focus on the first two rounds — Extreme XL Lagares and Erzbergrodeo — as they will play to my strengths. The Hard Enduro races will be where my strengths lie. But I know I need to train on the faster stuff to improve my weaknesses too. I rode the ISDE last year because I wanted to be a part of it, but I also realised I’m also off the pace so it’s something to work on there. Classic Enduro is a whole different ball game.”

June’s Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble forms part of WESS and is a race you’ve had two podiums at now, is the top step of the box possible?

“Erzberg is huge for me. In 2016 I finished as runner-up to Graham Jarvis. It was my first podium there and also the first for an American too. Last year I was leading back and forth with Jonny Walker but I’m not sure what happened, I guess I just whimped out. I got so pumped up that I couldn’t pull the brake lever — it was like I imploded from the inside out. I let Graham by on one section and then let Wade Young by on a road section. I got to my mechanic at Karls Dinner and stopped. I had to take a time-out with him to try and destress because I knew I’d get hurt if I carried on the way I was.”

 

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Photo Credit: Future7Media

 

Finally, back home and what are people’s reaction to your success abroad in Hard Enduro and SuperEnduro?

“There’s definitely a good reaction, especially from my hometown people who saw me grow up riding trials with my dad wearing no gloves. I always go to my local KTM’s shop for their Christmas party every year. They sold me my first bike when I was 19 years old so it’s cool just to hang and chat with everyone. Just recently I did a Bell Helmets ride day with Aaron Plessinger and so many people showed up just to ride with me. That takes me by surprise and puts into perspective what your results mean to others. It’s inspiring to me to see younger kids aspiring to be me because at the end of the day I’m just a dirt bike rider like them, I just happen to ride over rocks quite good.”

 

For more from Robert Lynn's interview with Cody Webb, check out the KTM Blog