Despite their best efforts with preparation, Team USA did not have a good day at the 2019 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. Justin Cooper gave the team big momentum with a win in the MX2 qualifying race on Saturday, but that was washed away with huge rain Saturday night, and then gone completely when Cooper crashed just moments into Sunday’s first moto. Then Jason Anderson had nowhere to go and ran right into him!
Zach Osborne | 5-13 25–29 for fifth overall in MX2
Racer X: Okay Zach, I was once a member of a losing Team USA, so I know it sucks, you put a lot of work in. You’ve got to be a bit bummed, you rode well in the first one but the third one I’m sure you wanted to do better.
Zach Osborne: Yeah it was a strange day. I rode really well in the first moto to come through for fifth, the third moto I just got in behind some squirrels at the beginning, I was maybe 15th, 20th, and I got 13th. Had to stop for goggles. I just didn’t make it happen. I think the dynamic for the team changed a little bit right off the bat when Jason and Justin crashed into each other right off the bat. That was the worst case scenario. We were very, not overly optimistic, or silly, but it gave us a flash of hope. Justin was riding really, really good all weekend and Jason was riding well. It was just a shit deal there, really.
Start was everything, you had the team’s good gate each time and it didn’t happen. Any reason why?
The first one was actually good, someone fell in front of me in the second turn, and there was nowhere to go, and it was done. The second one, I really don’t know. I was maybe ninth or tenth, choose one wrong line, and was 20th. That’s just how quick it happens. Man it was tough conditions, tough, tough, tough conditions but there’s no excuse. It is what it is. It was a lot of work to get us here as good as we were, and then to have all this rain and blow it all away, it kind of sucked because we put in a lot of work to be good at a completely different thing than the race was. All in all, as the team captain, I have to say the other two guys on the team were incredibly hard working and professional the whole time we were here. They had as much passion for what we were doing as I did, and I really appreciate that.
We saw Justin yesterday, fastest qualifier and won his qualifying race. Did he hurt himself? He didn’t look like himself in his second moto.
Yeah, I think he hurt his hand. I mean, what do you do?
Where and how could you pass?
You hoped that someone hit the wrong deep spot. Some of the jumps were just hard to jump. It was just one of those deals where you went through something you thought was solid and you would just sink. Strange track. I’m not criticizing it, it’s the same for everyone, but I think there are better race tracks.
You weren’t pumped on it before today, you told me that. You’re not just saying that now because you had a bad day.
There are a lot of great, historic motocross tracks in Europe that you can go to and this isn’t one of them. I know it’s cool for the spectators, having the grand stands. It is what it is.
Compare this to the Matterley -Basin loss in 2017?
This one is a little tougher, for sure. Matterley, we were kind of underdogs straight away. Here we put in a lot of effort to come here, to do sand prep, ride different settings and test a lot. So this is kind of sour.
Hopefully future Team USA’s can learn a bit from what you did.
Right. Yeah that’s a goal. I’m not saying we changed the game or anything by any means, but the effort was there. That’s what I can rest easy on, knowing we did everything we could.
Justin Cooper | 25–29 for 15th overall in MX2
Racer X: Justin Cooper, yesterday was fantastic. The worst thing that could happen today was the mud and the rain and a first-lap crash. You’ve got to be bummed out beyond belief.
Yeah, the vision was very tough out there, I couldn’t even see by the first turn. The 450s definitely got me on the start.
You were like tenth or 11th.
Yeah, not bad. Then the rollers….[Gautier] Paulin kinda went left a little bit, then I went left, then I caught an edge and I was kind of falling, and someone pummeled me. That’s all I knew. Later I found out it was Jason. That was not what I wanted to hear.
Literally the worst thing that could happen for the team.
Yeah, first lap. It was not good. Nothing more to I can say about it!
Hurt your hand?
Yeah, knuckles hurt. Looks like I got into a fist fight.
Is that what was affected you in the second race?
Yeah we got injections in it, but it didn’t work. I could barely even pull in the clutch for the start. So it was all downhill from there.
You lost your clutch lever in the first moto?
Yeah, it broke off. It was there but it was just dangling.
Look, you’ve ridden in mud and sand but these conditions, there’s not much you can do if you go down or if you don’t get a start or whatever, right?
It just makes it that much harder. The vision is so tough, it’s so treacherous out there and you can’t see the lines. The first lap is always chaotic and that’s what happened to us there. Bummer it was Jason. I got hit pretty hard. [Laughs] I wasn’t feeling too good after that one.
How was the 250s versus 450s?
It was pretty hard. Especially today. You can’t really see and you’re going off of sound almost. Yeah, we’ll go back and regroup. If I get the chance to do it again, I’ll come back and try to get some revenge on these guys.
What did you think of the whole experience? You came in a little later than the other guys, but you still came early and put in the work.
It was good, I feel blessed to do it. I felt like we prepared as good as we could have, nothing to regret, it’s just how the cookie crumbled on this one.
How did that qualifying win feel Saturday? Only a qualifying race but it had to feel good to get a win on the world’s stage?
Yeah, it felt good. It was a good stepping stone to today—which obviously didn’t turn out good. It was good to get a holeshot and be able to ride my own race. It was a good experience and I learned a lot racing against different people. Yeah, a good experience overall.
Hey, well thanks for doing this.
Yeah, I feel like once we get a consistent day in, it will all come together for us.
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Bittersweet weekend out here in Assen, this sport has those highs and lows. It’s part of racing and what keeps us all coming back for more. Can’t thank each and every single one of the team USA members enough for all their efforts and sacrifices this year, it was a great team and a great experience. Bummer it turned out the way it did, but so proud to be a part of it all. No one gave up through all the stuff that was thrown at us. It was a true team effort, without everyone we wouldn’t be here in the first place. So honored to be picked to represent my country and would do it again in a heartbeat. Time to get back to the states and regroup, got them sausage fingers today ???