The big event this weekend? Saturday’s Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas. It’s a once-a-year, unique kind of race. It will also be the return to action of Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed. All this Monster Energy Cup info below courtesy of Feld Motorsports.
Five days remain until the world’s top supercross and motocross riders take to the stage for the second-annual Monster Energy Cup at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium this Saturday night. Led by defending Monster Energy Cup Champion Ryan Villopoto, this year’s line-up includes 2010 Supercross Class Champion Ryan Dungey, two-time Supercross Class Champion Chad Reed, supercross veteran Kevin Windham, defending Lites Class Champions Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac and 250cc AMA Motocross champion Blake Baggett.
“I’m really excited to head back to Vegas in October for the Monster Energy Cup,” said defending Monster Energy Cup winner Villopoto. “There is so little time in between races, it’s tough to recover for all three Main Events. It also becomes demanding for the team to get to the gate ready for three races on a track that requires different set-ups; it’s a full team effort. The track had some cool features last year that made it exciting, so I hope that they have more surprises in store come October.”
“It’s going to be tough to repeat this year,” said Villopoto. “Last year we had a perfect night and came away with the million, but this year it sounds like all the top guys are going for it. With the three race format, consistency will be the key.”
“They’ve made some changes to the track this year,” added Villopoto. “It’s always exciting to race a track that’s a little different from your typical supercross track. The joker lane should be interesting and some strategy will definitely come into play.”
At the inaugural Monster Energy Cup, Villopoto swept all three races. He earned the holeshot in the first two races, and in the third and final race, he passed holeshot winner Mike Alessi on the opening lap and rode to the $1 million victory.
The Monster Energy Cup Championship rounded out a perfect season for Villopoto having won the 450cc AMA Motocross and Supercross Class championships as well as the Motocross des Nations.
Last year’s runner-up, Ryan Dungey, made his debut at the Monster Energy Cup aboard his Red Bull KTM motorcycle, finishing 3-2-2. Dungey recently captured his second 450cc AMA Motocross Championship.
Reed, who will make his Monster Energy Cup debut, has not raced since suffering a major crash at the Cowboys Stadium stop during this year’s Monster Energy Supercross Championship. In the crash he fractured his T-6, two ribs, tibia, fibula, torn ACL, LCL, and meniscus.
“On race day, it will have been eight-plus months since I have raced,” said Reed. “It’s been a lot of work with rehab, but I’m excited to get back to racing and to have my fitness at 100%. If I win a million bucks in Vegas – I mean – you just add it to the collection; it would be better in my bank account than anyone else’s.”
One of the most anticipated Open Class debuts is that of Justin Barcia, who is a two-time defending Lites Class Champion. The Monster Energy Cup will be the first time the Muscle Milk Honda rider will compete inside a stadium on a 450cc motorcycle.
“The $1 million is life changing for a rider, but I’m more focused on just going out there and racing to the best of my abilities,” said Barcia. “I mean, it’s certainly a nice prize, but you just can’t go out there focusing on that, because you’ll make mistakes and divert your attention from the main goal of racing solid and being at the top spot. I feel that the three 10-lap main event format was the perfect length. It’s always a good experience to get on the gate three times, because you get the opportunity to capitalize and learn from your earlier performance. I don’t think anything should be changed. A race like this certainly brings out the true talent of a rider. You really need to lay it on the line to contend against the others.”
The Monster Energy Cup will be broadcast to 124 countries around the globe and live domestically on SPEED Saturday, October 20 at 7:00 p.m. PST.
SPEED will provide the broadcast to an additional 45 countries and territories outside of the U.S., including Canada and South America. ESPN International will broadcast the race live – for the first time ever – to 78 countries in Australia, the Middle East and Africa. Check local listings for exact time and channel.
The 2012 Monster Energy Cup features an all-new track design inspired by five-time Supercross Class Champion Ricky Carmichael. The Carmichael-inspired track design will consist of supercross and motocross obstacles unlike any other racetrack design in the world. New to this year’s track will be a 200’ banked sweeping turn that will be built in the stands, two 11 rider starting gates split by 220’ before they converge at the apex of the 300’ start straight and the joker lane that riders will have to race through at least once during laps 2-10. After racing through these sections of the track, fans will be treated to equally exciting racing lanes that are built into the Monster Energy Fan Zone, which is located outside of the stadium. The Monster Energy Cup posts a $250,000 purse with the winner walking away with a $100,000 check, and any rider that wins all three Main Events will take home $1 million.
But wait! There’s more! A video of Blake Baggett!
Newly crowned AMA 250cc motocross champion Blake Baggett is heading to the Monster Energy Cup on October 20 in Vegas ready to face a new challenge. With the open rules format of the one-of-a kind event, Baggett will be competing on a larger 450cc bike for the first time as a pro. The Monster Cup also marks his first race against some of the top riders in the world. As a champion in the sport, Baggett is ready for the competition and is looking to challenge for the million-dollar prize.