250MX contender on return to the Pro Motocross podium at Hangtown.
Reverting back to the quarter-liter class for the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, Justin Cooper returned to the podium last time out at Hangtown with a 2-2 scorecard for second overall. The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing rider has his sights set on an elusive 250MX title and discusses the second round of the outdoors, plus the upcoming races at Thunder Valley in our latest Conversation piece.
Justin, congratulations on a second-place finish. Good start in the second moto, in both motos actually, so how did you come to terms with today’s track?
It wasn’t dug deep enough, so we saw a lot higher speeds compared to previous years I feel. It’s kind of weird, when you ride a track the previous years at a certain pace, with how rough it is it feels weird going faster down like the straightaways and all of that. Braking were probably way off, and it wasn’t really comparable to what we have faced here. Overall, it was kind of one-lined, and it was pretty high intensity I feel, so all in all it was a good day. I guess coming off last weekend it was a really good day, as far as starts are concerned it was pretty scary the first round. A lot less work today, just definitely didn’t execute in either moto. I stayed in second pretty much the whole moto, and couldn’t really make up ground.
Could you take us through that first moto? Was there a specific point where you kind of pulled the pin on a charge on Haiden [Deegan] there? Because you got pretty close.
First moto, we were one-two off the start and kind of just settled with him. I think I made a couple of charges, I was honestly waiting until the end to make a charge, but he stayed strong the whole race. I was kind of banking on him slipping up or fading a little bit, but that didn’t happen, he stayed strong and it’s impressive. I got close with like two laps and made a mistake, and that was kind of it. But yeah, I couldn’t do much with him there, we were both going a similar speed and overall just had to settle for second at the end.
You have had a really phenomenal run at Lakewood, you’ve had some good results there. Is that one of your favorite tracks?
Results-wise, yes. I do enjoy it, I don’t know what it is that clicks with that place with me, but it is definitely a good track for me. Going to the elevation next week, it’s always that one-off race that you don’t really know what to expect. I think it will turn out good, I’m excited to go there next week, and definitely going to be a good one. I think every year it is the one-off race that kind of shakes things up. I’m excited for that, and yeah, keep pushing forward and doing the best we can.