The last time factory Yamaha won the Supercross Championship was 2008 when Chad Reed won his second title. That said, they have high hopes for North Carolina’s Cooper Webb, who comes charging into the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship as a dark horse contender.

With a pair of 250SX Western Division Championships on his mantle, Cooper entered the rough and tumble world of 450SX competition last season to cut his rookie teeth. Webb didn’t start as strong as some would have hoped, but, by the Oakland round, he found himself on the podium and riding with a ton of confidence. He would win his heat race the following weekend in Arlington and had a lot of eyes on him to possibly win the main event. Instead, Cooper suffered a flat tire and his chances were dashed. Unfortunately, he would have a crash and injured his shoulder the following weekend in Minneapolis.

Webb would miss a few weeks, then he began working his way back into form worthy of placing on the podium. He was on fire at the Seattle round, running in the second position for most of the 450SX Main Event before crashing spectacularly. That would be about the end of the flashes of brilliance during his rookie campaign, but he had already proven that he has what it takes to win races and place on the podium.

Armed with a “brand new from the ground up” 2018 YZ450F, Cooper comes into the 2018 season with high hopes for more podiums and possibly a championship effort. A proven champion in the 250SX class, Webb fears no one and is one of the more brash racers during his interviews. He is also very aggressive. A rivalry with Marvin Musquin dates back to their fight for the 2016 250cc Pro Motocross Championship (which Webb won) and if you see these two on the Supercross track together at Anaheim 1, maybe look for a little extra effort from both.

With his take-no-prisoners riding style and a penchant for being straight to the point in his podium interviews, he has earned the nickname of, “The Wolf.” Can Webb be the leader of the pack in 2018?

We will find out in 10 days.