Cody Webb talks injuries, riding techniques and how he’s changed his game for the 2018 AMA EnduroCross season.
For Cody Webb the 2018 AMA EnduroCross Championship has been difficult after the Red Bull FMF/KTM rider broke a foot and injured a knee at the ErzbergRodeo in May. Spending the better part of the summer on the couch when he should have been training is not ideal preparation to defend your EnduroCross crown.
Coming into the season with little prep time and subsequently ‘racing himself back into shape’, Webb still took the opening round win after an intense battle with perennial rival Colton Haaker, before taking another victory at round three in Reno.
Between wins, after an uncharacteristic third-place finish at Costa Mesa, Cody revealed after the race he’d injured his shoulder in a practice crash during the week. But with only one week to the next round, Webb was able to turn it around and take a dominant win in Reno.
After three rounds, Webb and arch-rival Haaker are tied on points for the championship lead. But what about that struggle in Costa Mesa, his 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…
Cody Webb: “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 I 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 with 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 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 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, injured his wrist and was unable to compete in the main event].”
In Reno it was incredible the way you had that Matrix dialled…
“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 would have 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 2018 EnduroCross season picks up with round four on October 20 in Denver, Colorado at the National Western Events Center.
More information: EnduroCross.comPhoto Credit: Tanner Yeager