Justin Cooper | Rock River/Star Racing Yamaha, |12-2 for fifth overall in 250MX
Racer X: Before we talk about the second moto, which was great and awesome to get a second, what did you think about your first moto ride? First ever pro National. I thought it was pretty good.
Justin Cooper: Yeah, practice was super fun. Having super fun all day. Just got a pretty bad start the first moto. Was buried. Those guys were all going fast. It was hard to pass out there. Just kind of had fun with it. The roost definitely wasn’t fun. Second moto I got off to a great start. Had to with the mud. Kind of just paced with Jeremy [Martin] and was able to come away with second. The 20 minutes felt pretty long, to be honest, being out front like that. Definitely a big achievement for me. I’m just so stoked.
At one point, you were reeling Jeremy [Martin] in. I’m sure you saw that. We were matching the times in the tower. Did something happen or did he pick it up? Did you make a mistake?
It was just the nerves of being up front. This is all new to me so I’m trying to take it all in and be smart at the same time. Definitely started catching him, but it was pretty one-lined so it would be hard to pass out there.
AP [Aaron Plessinger] was on you at one point too.
Yeah, he ended up going down, but I definitely heard him for a little bit there. I’m just so happy with how today went.
What surprised you, if anything?
Just being up front, I guess. I didn’t really expect that. I just expected to do my own thing today and be top 10. That was the goal. So, to come out with a second and podium in the second moto is just unbelievable.
What’s the difference between the race bike and your amateur bike, if any? Did you notice a difference?
Yeah. The Star Racing Yamaha, you can’t really compete with that. It’s as good as it gets for a Yamaha. I was able to run the same bikes as all those guys, just different graphics for the next couple weeks.
Did you notice it being a lot to tame a little bit?
Yeah, the starts were definitely tricky for me. Starts and the clutch. A lot of power. Just have to get used to the starts out there.
You’re from Long Island. Did you ride here at all? Is this at all a home race for you or anything?
I ride here all the time, but on the amateur track. Haven’t been on this track, so it’s all new to me, but so much fun out there in practice. I had fun all day. I’m really happy with how the day went.
Little bit of a whirlwind for you. Do Loretta’s all week, you win the [Nicky Hayden AMA] Horizon [Award], straight here, right?
Yeah, coming off a great week at Loretta’s. Just came here to have fun and keep the ball rolling. That’s what we did. I’m so happy to be pro now. A long three years in the A class for amateur. It was time for me to move up and I’m glad I did.
Justin Bogle | RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki | 4-10 for seventh overall in 450MX
Racer X: You had third, a podium, looking great, and then stopped for goggles, which was fine, but unfortunately right after that, they threw the red flag.
Justin Bogle: Yeah, I didn’t do myself any favors there. I actually felt like I had the speed. I was running Marvin’s [Musquin] pace. I made a mistake and pulled all my tear-offs on like lap four, so I couldn’t get too close. It was kind of raining and I was honestly trying to make it through the moto. I figured if I could stay up top three and get on the podium that would be good enough. It got too bad once it started raining. A lapper got in my way and roosted me. I pulled in. They’re like, “You’ve got 10 seconds. You’re good! You’re still going to be in third.” I take off a little too antsy, not thinking that I’m on just wet grass. Slid her into home there pretty hard.
It could have been worse.
It could have been way worse. I kind of was going a little too fast. So, I got up in fourth and two corners later the red flag came out. That was a bummer, honestly. That kind of hurt losing a third with two corners to go, but it’s motocross, man. Stuff happens. It’s all good. I felt like I had the speed honestly to win that moto, so I’m happy with that.
The second moto, I thought that might have been a better ride because there’s nowhere to pass. It’s a slot car track [in the mud]. I don't know what happened off the start, but you come around in 39th or whatever and then you work your way to 10th.
I rode really good second moto, honestly. I really like these conditions. I don’t enjoy them, but I feel like I have a little bit of an edge there. Just kind of get in a flow and go, but I had a couple spots where I had to send it to make passes because it was slot car, one-lined. Actually I took a move out of my buddy Trey Canard’s book and threw double goggles on for the start, but I got to the first corner mid-pack and couldn’t see anything. Slammed on the brakes, ran into somebody. Took the first pair off, took off. Next lap in, I ended up tangling with some guy. I don't know where I was at.
It worked so good with Trey.
He won that race! I was like, there’s good mojo with this. I’m going to win today, right? No, it didn’t work out that way. Honestly, I’m happy with getting up to 10th. The track was unreal.
Were you okay with the short moto? I think most guys were. Were you all right with it?
I was okay with it. If we went 30 then fine. It might have actually been better for me just because I was riding good and I felt like I could have kept going, but it was gnarly. I don't know how many motorcycles would have grenaded and not made it. I think that was a good move. I’m surprised that we were even able to race, honestly. There was so much lightning and sketchy weather going on. I’m happy with that. I didn’t want them to call it. I didn’t want to end my day losing a podium. I wanted to give myself a chance to redeem myself. I didn’t want to lose my day losing a podium with two corners to go because I made a bonehead move.
Something I didn’t think about, but J-Mart mentioned on the podium was no parade lap, and then not knowing where to go was sketchy. What’d you think?
It was, for sure. Especially because honestly you don’t know what you can jump, or what’s on the backside of those jumps, especially because these tracks are rough most of the time and I know today wasn’t as rough as normal, but still rough and some ruts. When you add about 800 inches of rain it gets a little sketchy. So, just hitting the jumps, especially the beginning of the race, was sketchy.
Weston Peick | Autotrader.com/JGR Suzuki | 6-20 for 13th overall in 450MX
Racer X: Weston, dammit second moto was going well. What happened?
Weston Peick: Just had a little mishap off the start. My front end … I think someone roosted me off the start and it kicked up [a rock] and locked my front brake up on the start and literally almost endoed over the bars. The whole second moto I had no front brake, like a complete goon, couldn’t do much because I couldn’t stop. Finally came in with like three laps left….
I think you were like seventh or eighth or something?
I was up there, but I had no front brake so I couldn’t stop, which was bad. I pulled in for goggles and I looked down, and my disc guard was into my caliper. So as soon as he ripped it off I went out for the last two laps and my front brake came back. It’s a bummer situation, but we don’t race in mud every weekend … I’m not a mud rider as it is—I grew up in California on concrete. But, first moto was awesome for me. Came from 14th or 15th up to sixth, so had some good potential. That’s the kind of racing we do on a typical bases, so I’m not too worried about this weekend. Just bummed with how the second moto happened. Obviously it’s muddy, there are a lot of rocks here, so you never know what’s going to happen.
Are you doing any more testing or learning on the bike?
I don’t think we’re going to do anything more with our ‘17s, probably just small suspension stuff here and there, but overall there’s no more developing that, because obviously the new bike is coming out and obviously we’ll put our hands on that and go for that.
You made me laugh when you said you don’t even want to ride the ’18 right now because you can’t race it.
Yeah, it’s one of those things where Suzuki has such a good bike where it is right now, and with the amount of time that they’ve waited they’ve made an even better bike. I don’t want to ride something that I know could potentially be better, but I’ll still have to race the old bike. It’s one of those things were I prefer to finish out the season on what we have, because what we have is good and it’s working.
Phil Nicoletti | Autotrader.com/JGR Suzuki | 12-18 for 16th Overall in 450MX
First race back. It looks like my 14-18 [prediction] was pretty optimistic.
Phil Nicoletti: No, I went 12-18. That’s pretty freaking close, though. But that doesn’t count because I had a good holie, and we had some issues in the first corner and I went down, but I came back to 18th. I didn’t fade to 18th.
I knew that would happen.
I’ll give credit where credit’s due. You did say 14-18. I went 12-18. Either way, it sucks.
Peick said his front brake locked up, and Bogle went down at some point in the first turn. What happened to you?
Well, I was in the first corner for almost a whole lap. It was bad. I did a full scorpion. It kind of sucked because I was really looking forward to the mud because I think I would have really excelled.
Your first moto start wasn’t great, either.
I don't know what happened. We’re going to do some testing on Tuesday. To be honest, I really haven’t done much testing. Motor testing, we did a little bit of suspension testing, but I just kind of winged it. I just wanted to ride and put in my time. I felt really good the first moto for what it was. I kind of kept the guys at bay that were in front of me, but it’s almost been seven months, so I don’t really know where I was at.
How was the foot, ankle, all that? Did it hurt?
Yeah, that hurt in the mud because after the long ruts I dabbed it and dragged it and ran it over. It took a beating today. It was okay. I’m just happy I somewhat survived. I am gutted with the result because it should have been a 12-5 I think, realistically.
In the mud, I don’t give a shit. I really think I can do it in the mud, and I have plenty of other times. You just can’t crash in the first corner when it happens.
We talked before today after practice and there’s nothing like racing, no matter how hard you’ve been practicing—the intensity, the going balls-out. Did you notice that?
Yeah. I just didn’t have it the first moto the first couple laps. Normally I am balls-out and I don’t care who’s in front of me. I’ll try and pass them. This time, I’m not going to lie, I was actually pretty tentative. A little bit freaked out. People cross-jumping. I don't know if it’s because I’m getting older or what, but I just kind of let it play out. I ended up losing too much time when I did that. At least that I kind of know where I stand and where I can be, I should be good. Still shitty.
Were you okay with the short moto? It was fine?
No, I think it’s BS. I really do. We raced plenty of other motos when it was 30 minutes. It’s not like the track was too terrible.
I think they were thinking it was going to get dark.
We’re still here tearing down at 7:00 and it’s still plenty light out.
Don’t shoot the messenger.
I’m just not a fan of it. If I was winning, for sure, 20 minutes, but the fact that I got 18th, I could have used the extra 10 minutes to pass some guys. It’s a catch-22. It could go either way.
J-Mart won today.
It’s awesome. I’m pumped. I’m happy.
Are you going to text him congrats?
Probably not. He should know. I’m still friends with the kid, just haven’t talked. But listen, if any Martin goes 2-1 for the overall I’m pumped for him. I still consider him a little brother, but he’s still a s#%t stick, so whatever.