At Unadilla in New Berlin, NY, the tenth round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series, the Loretta Lynn's Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Award winner Justin Cooper made his Pro debut in his home state. Justin exceeded his expectations by going 12-2 for 5th overall at Unadilla. We will take you through his day at his first professional race.

Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin Cooper's bike was pitted next to the Star Yamaha team under an EZ-Up tent.Rob Koy

At Loretta’s the plan was for Justin to make his pro debut with the Cycle Trader Yamaha team at Unadilla. Things changed quickly at the Ranch on the first day of racing when the Start Yamaha owner Bobby Reagan announced that he signed Justin to a pro contract. So an agreement was made for Justin to ride a Star Racing Yamaha with Cycle Trader graphics on the bike for the last three rounds.

Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin and his family arrived to the Star Racing tent before the riders meeting got underway. Justin had a nervous look on his face as he was about to begin his pro career.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
In the 1st timed practice session Justin turned a 2:10.832 on his 4th lap which gave him the 9th fastest time in the 1st round of practice.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin said that his main goal at Unadilla was to go out and have fun. Well he went out in the 1st practice and turned a qualifying lap every lap instead of pacing in between laps.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin had a lot of well wishers giving him support all day at his pits and on the track. Justin has raced many times at Unadilla on the amateur track, but has never been on the pro track until now.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin was taking it all in before the 2nd timed practice. Justin admitted being a little nervous before practice but felt at ease after qualifying in the top ten in the 1st practice.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin practiced his starts in the start session before the 2nd time practice got underway.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin got to finally jump the sky shot at Unadilla. The amateur track is just behind the sky shot jump and Justin has had many laps on the amateur track, but today he graduated up to the pros.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin and his mechanic Drew Hopkins get ready for Justin’s first-ever pro race. Justin’s nerves were evident before the gate dropped.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Drew gives Justin a last minute pep talk before the mechanics have to leave the area.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin got out of the gate well and was with the pack going into the first turn, but the pack pushed outside in the first turn and pinched Justin back to a 13th place out of the 1st turn.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin was able to make a few passes as the race went on as he jockeyed around the 12-13th position. Justin was okay with his 12th-place finish as he said he was having fun out there.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin got a great start in the 2nd moto as he races towards the first turn, trying to avoid getting roosted by the mud from the other riders.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin was able to avoid the mud as he got the inside line through the 1st turn but JMART got the holeshot. Justin said his goal was to get a good start so he wouldn't be covered in mud.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin follows Jeremy Martin out of the sweeper after the mechanics tents.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin goes for it through the water hazard on the lower turn before the mechanics tent.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin was still able to do most of the jumps in the muddy conditions in Moto 2. Luckily, Justin didn’t need the blue rags tucked on each side of his waist if he had fallen.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin said the track was very one lined in Moto 2. He was matching Jeremy Martin's lap times and at one point was catching him, but Justin said his nerves got to him while catching Jeremy but did not think he would be able to pass outside the main line.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin Cooper went 12-2 for 5th overall at his pro debut at Unadilla. Will Hahn congrats Justin after he crossed the finish line and was pumped for his rookie rider.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin gives the thumbs up on his pro debut at Unadilla. He still had clear vision after the 20 minute plus 1 lap of the 2nd Moto.Rob Koy
Justin Cooper's Day at Unadilla MX 2017
Justin gets an interview with Lurch for his 2nd place finish in Moto 2.Rob Koy

Justin thanked the crowd for there support and said he was pumped to finish in the top ten at his 1st pro race. He said he is looking forward to having fun at the last two races and hopes to continue getting good results and carry that into next season under the Star Yamaha tent.

ADVERTISEMENT