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The Flashback: That Time Cody Cooper Almost Beat James Stewart

Posted by The Fast TImes on 2nd Jul 2018

The Flashback: That Time Cody Cooper Almost Beat James Stewart

Back in 2008, Aotearoa's very own Cody Cooper gave the "Fastest Man on the Planet" a run for his money, and secured his place in moto history.

C’mon, has it really been a decade since Cody Cooper took the second spot on the podium at Southwick? It’s the race where “Coops” – one of our country’s winningest riders – went up against James Stewart – one of the winningest riders, uh, ever – and almost broke the latter’s streak of wins. So, think about it for a minute, that a low-key guy from the South Pacific almost beat the “Fastest Man on the Planet”… at the time, of course.

Now, a decade on, James “Bubba” Stewart has left professional racing. But “Coops” is still racing in the premier class, here in Aotearoa and the United States, seeing him put campaigning the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Best of all, even though it’s been a decade since that best finish, he still sits in the top ten of the premier class in 2018 – despite his peers from ’08 being absent from the current series.

Back in 2008, the phenom that was Stewart – a racer and personality that helped take motocross to another level – was on a winning streak that saw him equal Ricky Carmichael, another “Flordian” who is considered one of the greats of moto. But, unbeknownst to Bubba and the rest of the world, there was a possible spoiler on the gate.

That spoiler was none other than Coops, a rider who had made his mark in New Zealand and Australia. In ’08, he was about to make his mark in the United States, in what is arguably the world’s premier motocross championship. While he was second on the podium in a previous moto at Unadilla, another icon of the circuit, it was Southwick AKA “The Wick” AKA “Motocross 338” that Coops was able to put in his best overall.

Sure, “Stew” won the motos and the overall, but Coops still put in one of the great rides. It was a ride that almost derailed a “perfect” season that saw Stewart on rails, and just reiterated the fact that, yes, Cody Cooper shreds.