Features 21 May 2024

Profiled: Cole Davies

Kiwi teenager making a name for himself on the international stage.

There have been a number of New Zealander racers over the years that have gone on to make a name for themselves on the world stage – be it MXGP, AMA Supercross or Pro Motocross – and Cole Davies is the latest rider on that list that includes names like Ben Townley, Josh Coppins, the King brothers, and Courtney Duncan, just to name a few. After clinching the 2024 Supercross Futures AMA National Championship, the 16-year-old Kiwi features in this latest Profiled piece.

Davies made his transition over to the US for Supercross Futures in 2023, and after showing promise throughout his limited stint, caught the attention of the official GasGas amateur operation led by Daniel Blair for 2024, who he made his debut with the in the categories opening round of the season at Anaheim 2.

“I came over last year for the SX Futures at Anaheim 2 and finished fourth, which surprised a few people. Wil Hahn texted Ben Townley afterwards to congratulate him, and that’s how I got a connection with Wil. He came over for a meeting and I rode and trained with him, then I flew to the US for the Arlington Futures round and got P7.

“At the last round at Glendale I crashed in practice, and broke my collarbone and a couple of ribs, so I returned home, recovered, then kept training with Ben [Townley].

Image: Supplied.

“I then came over and did some training at the Star Yamaha compound, which was definitely cool, then raced the RedBud and Ironman Combines and finished sixth overall. After that last race we headed back to California and I got the ride with GasGas for 2024. It’s been all uphill from there.

“I’m living at Canyon Hill with my family. We only have six-month visas, so we have to fly back to New Zealand a bit, but I don’t mind that as I miss the food and I’ve found it difficult to make friends here.

“I’m training with Wil Hahn, and riding with Pierce Brown, Ryder DiFrancesco and Colt Nichols. I’ve been learning a lot riding with those boys… at first they were blowing me away on the practice track, but I’ve been getting better and I can start to run with them, and go up the inside of them in corners, which is good.”

The Kiwi talent opened his 2024 Supercross Futures campaign in the best way possible at A2 as he held Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Gavin Towers at bay to win the opening round of the season, crossing the line only +0.632s ahead of Towers in a tight finish.

“It was a Triple Crown round [for 450SX and 250SX classes] and we were after the second lot of main events, so the track was so gnarly,” he added. “Like it was so beat up, rough and rutted that just trying to get around it was one of the biggest factors. Towers and I battled for a lot of the race and I was breathing so hard by the end. I was stoked to come away with the win after such a big battle.”

Image: Supplied.

The win in Anaheim was enough to earn Davies an entry into the winner takes all Supercross Futures AMA National Championship race at round 17 of Monster Energy Supercross in Salt Lake City, but even though he’d already earned his spot, the number 17 decided to contest all four of the Supercross Futures qualifier rounds on the 2024 calendar.

In another nail-biting finish, Davies went on to finish P2 at Daytona, a mere +0.263s behind eventual winner Drew Adams (Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green). He then backed that up with another podium in St. Louis where he was third, before finishing the final qualifier round in Foxborough in fifth in what was another eventful race.

“I feel my riding has been good, but my starts haven’t been the greatest and I’ve had to work my way through the pack a lot, which has been a bit annoying,” continued the teenager. “At Foxborough I started dead last and worked my way all the way up to third, then got taken out and ended up fifth. Looking at the lap-times, I was catching up to everyone and I definitely rode well there.”

With all four qualifying races in the books, it all came down to the winner takes all race at the final round of the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross Championship in Utah. Davies started the day out well, topping the timesheets in both of Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions. Of note, Davies’ 55.158s lap-time in Q2 would have had him in P11 in 250SX East qualifying two – one spot behind Max Anstie – and P10 in 250SX West.

In the Salt Lake City main event it was Adams who got out to the early lead ahead of Davies. Adams put his head down and started to check out, before a mistake on lap eight handed the lead to GasGas’ Davies. After inheriting the lead, the number 17 wouldn’t be challenged as he went on to win the Supercross Futures AMA National Championship.

Image: Supplied.

After wrapping up the title, it’s not clear what the rest of 2024 holds for Davies. He’s since returned home to New Zealand, but will make his way back to the US for the 2024 Scouting Moto Combine races at RedBud and Ironman, and despite having already contested a few Loretta Lynn’s qualifiers, it’s still not confirmed wether Davies will race at the Ranch in July.

“First, we’ll go back to New Zealand for a week or so,” he explained. “When I get back, I’ll do some races at Pala and the two Combine races at RedBud and Ironman again. I’ve already raced some qualifier races for Lorettas already, and will do another one when I get back, but I’m not 100 percent on whether I’ll race Lorettas yet, even though I’ll definitely qualify.

It’s been an impressive journey so far for Davies, but as the mentors around him – including TLD trainer Will Hahn – would often be reminding him, this is the first step in his path to the professional ranks. Already he’s been linked to a factory seat for 2025, but nothing has been confirmed at this moment.

“My deal with GasGas is just for 2024 for now, so we’re just going to get through this year and see what the future holds for next year,” Davies indicated. “I’ll be happy to either race Futures again or go pro – I don’t really care, I just want to ride my dirt bike.”