Yamaha 450SX: Reed Returns, Webb Moves Up
Two time Supercross Champion Chad Reed will be returning to the Yamaha Factory Motocross Team for 2017, and he will be joined by two-time 250SX West Supercross Champion Cooper Webb. Webb is moving up from his Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha ride where Webb leads the 250cc class in the current Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series.
Reed, 34, won the AMA Supercross Championship in 2004 and 2008, as well as the FIM World Supercross Championship in 2003 and 2008. Reed has 44 Supercross Main Event wins in his career, putting him in fourth overall for lifetime wins behind Jeremy McGrath (72), James Stewart (50) and Ricky Carmichael (48).
This year, Reed finished fifth in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross standings, with podium rides in San Diego, Anaheim, and Atlanta. Reed finished in the top 10 in all but three rounds in 2016. Reed did not compete in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series this year, but did ride two MXGP events.
“I’m excited to get back to work with the Yamaha guys,” Reed said. “2016 was a great learning and rebuilding phase for me, and for Yamaha going racing as a factory team again. We learned the bike and found our strengths and weaknesses. It’s a huge positive that we are able to use this time wisely to prepare for 2017, and the team and I are motivated to continue building.”
Reed is also anxious to start working with 21-year-old Webb. “I think Cooper brings a new level of energy to the team,” Reed opined. “Youth has that natural way of upping the enthusiasm! I like that energy, and I’m looking forward to having him as my teammate.”
In addition to his 250SX titles, Webb came from the amateur ranks with a number of high-profile wins, including nine Winter-Olympics Amateur Championships, two Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championships, and a Monster Energy Cup Amateur Championship.
Webb and Reed have a long history with Yamaha, according to Keith McCarty, Yamaha’s Motorsports Racing Division Manager. “Both Chad and Cooper got their first starts in racing aboard Yamaha PW50s,” he said.
McCarty is enthusiastic about Webb moving up from the YZ250F to the YZ450F. “He is a fierce competitor who is brimming with talent and determination,” McCarty observed, “and we’re excited to have him join our Factory Racing team, with Chad as his teammate.”
Webb explained his connection with both Yamaha and Reed, saying, “I’m really excited to be joining the Yamaha Factory Racing team. It’s a dream come true for me, especially to be able to stay with the brand where I started my professional career. Also, it’s going to be great to team up with Chad. I met him a long time ago, and growing up, he was always my favorite rider. So, to be teammates with a legend is awesome. It’s going to help me tremendously to learn from him, and I can’t think of a better teammate to have as I move up to 450s full-time.”
As in 2016, Reed is signed for Supercross only. Webb will compete in both AMA Supercross and the AMA Motocross Nationals.