News 26 Sep 2022

Relief for Cooper in ‘long overdue’ Team USA result

Impressive RedBud showing sees MX2 representative lead category.

Image: Octopi Media.

Victory at the 2022 Monster Energy Motocross of Nations (MXoN) came as a relief for individual MX2 winner Justin Cooper, who made a valuable contribution to the ‘long overdue’ result of Team USA on Sunday.

The last time the US stood on the top step at the event was in 2011 with the line-up of Ryan Dungey (MXGP), Blake Baggett (MX2) and Ryan Villopoto (Open), unable to replicate that result since.

After a disastrous showing at Assen in 2019 that resulted in a hand injury, Cooper was hungry for redemption and qualified first in MX2, before notching 2-1 results in class en route to claiming the overall. Impressively, Cooper finished fourth overall in race two (MX2/Open) – the result key in Team USA’s return to the top of the podium.

“Everything came together for us,” commented Cooper post-race. “We had six solid motos as a team and everyone was working so good together – the crowd was behind us the whole time. It was an awesome weekend… I would never take this for granted.

“This is very special to us and it’s been 11 years, that’s been pretty dented in our heads and it was long overdue. To get it done is very relieving and I’m proud of the guys for holding up.

“I had a lot of pressure this weekend. First, with the race being here in the US and then with how it went for me in 2019 was weighing on my mind. It was quite a stressful day, but I really had to focus – I just did my best to hang with these 450 guys. Overall, it was a fun day and the rain made it really tough to ride.

“After the result in the first race, I did my best to get off the gate good in the second race and get closer to the top-five, which was something I was able to accomplish.

“It put our team in a good position and I hoped it would take the weight off my teammates going into the final race, which it did. Everything went to plan, so I am super-pumped. I’ve just got to give it up to the team and my teammates.”

It was a satisfying end to an injury-affected 2022 campaign for Cooper, after a foot injury sidelined him for Monster Energy Supercross altogether and he later spent the majority of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rebuilding form.