Features 2 May 2024

Conversation: Cole Davies

Kiwi teenager details his experience in Supercross Futures 2024.

US-based GasGas amateur Cole Davies is quickly building a name for himself as one of the most capable young riders in Monster Energy Supercross, already winning a Supercross Futures main event at Anaheim 2 and standing on the podium in Daytona and St. Louis. With the finale at Salt Lake City rapidly approaching, MotoOnline caught up with the 16-year-old Kiwi to talk about his year and his journey across the world to race on the biggest stage of all.

Image: Supplied.

Cole, 2024 has been an impressive year for you so far, with a Supercross Futures win, three podiums in total, and finishing every race inside the top five. Are you happy with your season so far?

Cheers. Overall, I feel my riding has been good, but my starts haven’t been the greatest and I’ve had to work my way through the pack a lot, which has been a bit annoying. At Foxborough I started dead last and worked my way all the way up to third, then got taken out and ended up fifth. Looking at the lap-times, I was catching up to everyone and I definitely rode well there, but I was stoked to come away with the win at Anaheim 2.

That battle you had with Gavin Towers at A2 would have to rate as one of the best races of the Supercross season. What was it like for you on-track?

It was a Triple Crown round and we were after the second lot of main events, so the track was so gnarly. Like it was so beat up, rough, rutted that just trying to get around it was one of the biggest factors. Towers and I battled for a lot of the race and I was breathing so hard by the end. I was stoked to come away with the win after such a big battle.

Yeah, your smile afterwards said it all! So being part of the GasGas amateur program, I’m assuming you’re based in Southern California?

Yeah, I’m living at Canyon Hill with my family. We only have six-month visas, so we have to fly back to New Zealand a bit, but I don’t mind that as I miss the food and I’ve found it difficult to make friends here. I’m training with Wil Hahn, and riding with Pierce Brown, Ryder DiFrancesco and Colt Nichols. I’ve been learning a lot riding with those boys… at first they were blowing me away on the practice track, but I’ve been getting better and I can start to run with them, and go up the inside of them in corners, which is good.

Image: Supplied.

How did the opportunity come up to race in the US this year?

I came over last year for the SX Futures at Anaheim 2 and finished fourth, which surprised a few people. Wil Hahn texted Ben Townley afterwards to congratulate him, and that’s how I got a connection with Wil. He came over for a meeting and I rode and trained with him, then flew to the US for the Arlington Futures round and got P7. At the last round at Glendale I crashed in practice, and broke my collarbone and a couple of ribs, so I returned home, recovered, then kept training with Ben. I then came over and did some training at the Star Yamaha compound, which was definitely cool, then raced the RedBud and Ironman Combines and finished sixth overall. After that last race we headed back to California and I got the ride with GasGas for 2024. It’s been all uphill from there.

How much of a help has Ben Townley been with your career and development so far?

Oh dude, he’s helped so much. I definitely wouldn’t be here without Ben’s help and his contacts. When I first got on the Altherm JCR Yamaha team in NZ I started training with him, and I spent a year and a half at his place learning how to ride supercross. There’re no supercross tracks in New Zealand to train on, except at his house. It was very repetitive and had to go to Australia in 2022 to get some actual supercross racing experience.

Even that must’ve been an eye-opener, going from lapping one private track to then racing in front of thousands of people during the AUSX championship.

It was definitely a crazy, new experience for me. Newcastle especially was a big eye-opener as that was a big stadium and it was pretty much packed out. The series didn’t end the way I wanted it to, though. Jack Mather and I were tied on points going into the final round at Wagga Wagga – I’d gone 2-1 and he’d finished 1-2 – but I crashed on the first lap after holeshotting and DNF’d, which dropped me back to fourth in the championship. It was a disappointing way to finish, but I still learnt heaps and took lots of positives from the experience racing in Aussie.

Image: Supplied.

Nice one. Well, the 250SX Futures all comes down to next weekend at Salt Lake City for you. Are you feeling confident you can get your second win of the year?

I’m feeling good and confident I can win there – I just need to focus on getting a good start and riding out some consistent laps. The dry, skatey dirt we ride in California is quite similar to what you get at Salt Lake, and it’ll be interesting to deal with the elevation change as well. The Futures structure is a bit different though, because the first four rounds are just qualifiers for this last round, which means the whole championship comes down to one race that counts.

After SLC do you intend to stay in the States and race some motocross over the summer?

Yep, but first we’ll go back to New Zealand for a week or so. When I get back, I’ll do some races at Pala and the two Combine races at RedBud and Ironman again. I’ve already raced some qualifier races for Lorettas already, and will do another one when I get back, but I’m not 100 percent on whether I’ll race Lorettas yet, even though I’ll definitely qualify.

Sounds good. And what are your plans for next year? Is anything locked in yet?

Nothing at this stage. My deal with GasGas is just for 2024 for now, so we’re just going to get through this year and see what the future holds for next year. I’ll be happy to either race Futures again or go pro – I don’t really care, I just want to ride my dirt bike.