It’s the unique, once a year Monster Energy Cup! Held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas!
It’s a warm sunny day, and the crowd is already filling into the pits. A lot going on there. The track is unique as well – it’s combination of ‘indoor / outdoor’ (Supercross / Motocross). The track is long, has no whoops, and a wide, banked, large corner on the south end of the track (see photo).
The Talladega ‘turn’
News here today – Ricky Carmichael and Suzuki have joined forces with the Hart and Huntington race team. One of their riders for 2013 – Broc Tickle.
Ricky Carmichael’s Suzuki is now part of the Hart and Huntington Team
Josh Grant #33 Yamaha with the Joe Gibbs Racing MX Team
Number 14 Kevin Windham made his return to racing … but had a fall in practice and is out of today’s event.
:: All photos from today and tonight are here! [nggallery id=143] ::
The rest of the best in this first practice – Jake Canada, Jake Weimer, Josh Grant, Chad Reed, Mike Alessi, Justin Brayton, Christian Craig, Ben LaMay, and … the one person riding a 250cc bike in this race – 250 National MX Champion Blake Baggett at 1 minute 11 seconds.
There are actually three classes racing tonight; The main guys in the Cup, the Amateur All-Stars, and the Super Mini.
3:14pm – news has just come in that Blake Baggett has an injured wrist.
Even with many of the top riders in the world (Villopoto, Reed, Dungey) on the track, a lot of fans are enjoying the pits. There is all kinds of stuff going on there …
The ‘Cup’ riders have finished their qualifying. And in the ‘A’ group, it’s like this: Ryan Dungey at 1:09, Ryan Villopoto just behind at 1:09. Eli Tomac is third at 1:10, then Justin Barcia, Chad Reed, Jake Weimer, Mike Alessi, Kyle Chisholm, Kyle Cunningham, Christian Craig, Jake Canada, Justin Brayton, Josh Grant 13th at 1 minute 13 seconds.
Opening ceremonies started around 7pm. National Anthem. Introduction of riders. Fireworks. Music.
There are going to be eight races tonight: The LCQ is first, it’s five laps, and the top four get to transfer to the ‘Cup’ main events. Next race – Main Event 1, then Super Mini Race 1, Amateur All-Stars race 1, Main Event 2, Super Mini Race 2, Amateur All-Stars race 2, and then the final ‘Cup’ Main Event (3). The three main events are 10 laps each.
The top four of the LCQ that get to go to the Main Events are: Politelli, Swanepoel, Jeff Alessi, and Howell.
The crowd is standing for the start of Main Event 1. It’s ten laps. One interesting thing about this race – it’s a ‘split-start’. Riders enter the main stadium area from two different lanes.
7:56pm: It’s Josh Grant with the holeshot! Followed by Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, Justin Barcia, and Mike Alessi. Reed is seventh. Tomac eighth. Villopoto has gone past Dungey.
Lap 3 – In a tight left hand corner, Ryan Villopoto has overtaken Josh Grant for the lead! Running order – Villopoto, Grant, Dungey, Barcia, Alessi, Tomac, Reed. And Dungey goes past Grant.
Dungey bobbles. So it’s Villopoto entering the stadium, already with a big lead! Justin Barcia is now second. Grant is holding off Dungey … but not for long. Running order on lap six – Villopoto out front … by a long way. Barcia is second. Dungey bobbles again – it’s Grant in third. Then Dungey, Alessi, Reed now in sixth. Tomac next.
Villopoto, is his first race since the Seattle Supercross, is way out front. Justin Barcia, in his first 450 Supercross in the USA, is second.
Ryan Villopoto has crushed everyone in this first moto. Winning convincingly! Finishing order of this race is Villopoto, Barcia, Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, and Josh Grant.
Can Villopoto repeat and do what he did last year? In his first race back after an injury???
Now comes Super Mini race 1 (of 2). Six laps. It’s Austin Forkner, Tristan Miller, Chase Sexton, Mark Worth, and Challen Tennant finishing as the top five.
Now it will be Amateur All Stars race 1. This race will include Adam Cianciarulo.
The early leader of this six lap race is Shane McElrath. Second belongs to Cooper Webb. Adam Cianciarulo is third.
Last lap – sensation Adam Cianciarulo takes a tumble. The finishing order – Shane McElrath wins. Cooper Webb second. Then it’s Jordan Smith, Brady Kiesel, and …. Cianciarulo comes up to finish fifth.
Now it’s time for Main Event 2. At 8:53pm, Ryan Villopoto emerges with the holeshot. Amazing. Ryan Dungey is right behind him. Mike Alessi is third. Chad Reed is fourth, with Josh Grant fifth.
As he is leading, on the outside part of the track, Ryan Villopoto goes down! And he’s slow to restart. It’s now Ryan Dungey in the lead. Mike Alessi second, Reedy next, and Justin Barcia into fourth. Grant fifth.
Reed is on the gas. And so is Mike Alessi. Alessi has passed Ryan Dungey and moved into the lead! Alessi is leading, Barcia is second, Reed has moved into third. and Dungey fourth.
Alessi had a nice lead … but Barcia has closed right up on him. On the back paart of the course, lap six, Barcia has moved into the lead! Alessi second. Lots of action going on behind them. There is a ‘Joker Lane’ that each rider has to do for one lap per race. (It’s a section of the track with bumps and slower lap time than normal.)
Lap seven – it’s Justin Barcia leading. Mike Alessi is second. Chad Reed is third. Josh Grant is next. Ryan Dungey fifth.
Lap eight – Reed slides out. It’s Justin Barcia first, Mike Alessi next, Ryan Dungey has moved to third. Then Josh Grant, Eli Tomac, Chad Reed. Ryan Villopoto is 13th.
This ten lap race win goes to Justin Barcia! Ryan Dungey is second. Mike Alessi finishes third. Then Tomac, Grant, Reed. Ryan Villopoto comes up to finish 12th. Barcia is in the best position to claim the MEC 2012 right now.
Justin Barcia, number 51, in action at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas today
Next race: Super Mini race 2. Six laps. The top five finishers in this exciting race are – Austin Forkner, Joey Crown, Kotaro Takahashi, Chase Sexton, and Bret Welch.
The overall for Super Mini is Austin Forkner.
Now it’s time for Amateur All-Stars race 2. And the early leader is …. AC92. Adam Cianciarulo on the 92 Kawasaki.
And Adam Cianciarulo wins this six lap race. Paul Coates is second, Cooper Webb third, then Mitchell Oldenburg and Daniel Baker.
The overall victory for Amateur All-Stars is Cooper Webb. Adam Cianciarulo is second overall. Paul Coates gets third overall.
Last race of the night. And the most important. Main Event 3. Guess what? Ryan Villopoto will not be racing this moto. That crash he had in the second moto was enough to keep him out of this final race.
As the riders come into the stadium from the outside area, it’s M Alessi leading thru one alley, and R Dungey leading thru the other alley. Dungey takes the holeshot … but after the long straight that leads to a tight right hander, it’s Mike Alessi with the lead.
No matter to Ryan Dungey. As they start lap two it’s Dungey with the lead. Justin Barcia now second. Eli Tomac has moved to third. Josh Grant fourth. Chad Reed fifth. Looks like Alessi went down.
This race could come down to the ‘Joker Lane’. It’s a small section of track that the riders must do at least once per moto – and it’s probably five seconds slower for that one lap that the riders have to use it compared to their normal lap times.
At the halfway point of this ten lap race, it’s Ryan Dungey leading, Justin Barcia second, Eli Tomac third, Chad Reed fourth, Josh Grant fifth.
Ryan Dungey has used the Joker Lane. Justin Barcia has not. Justin Barcia is now leading. Eli Tomac is second. Dungey third. Then Chad Reed.
Lap nine – Barcia uses the Joker Lane … and Eli Tomac takes over the lead! It’s Tomac, Barcia, Dungey, Reed, Grant.
It’s the checkered flag! Eli Tomac wins this race! Justin Barcia wins the overall for Monster Energy Cup!
The top finishers in this race – Tomac, Barcia, Dungey, Reed, Grant.
The top overall finishers in this 2012 version of Monster Energy Cup are Justin Barcia, Ryan Dungey, and Eli Tomac. Justin Barcia wins $100,000!
Justin Barcia – 2012 Monster Energy Cup overall winner
Podium, L – R: Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac
Monster Energy Cup Overall Results
1. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Honda
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
4. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda
5. Josh Grant, Corona, Calif., Yamaha
6. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha
7. Jake Canada, Corona, Calif., Suzuki
8. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Kawasaki
9. Mike Alessi, Hilliard Fla., Suzuki
10. Ryan Villopoto, Seattle, Wash., Kawasaki
Amateur All-Star Overall Results
1. Cooper Webb, Newport, NC., Yamaha
2. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki
3. Paul Coates, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Yamaha
4. Shane McElrath, Corona, Calif., Honda
5. Brady Kiesel, Fort Worth, Texas, Honda
6. Nick Gaines, Ringgold, Ga., Kawasaki
7. Anthony Rodriguez, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha
8. Jordon Smith, Belmont, NC., Honda
9. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, Kawasaki
10. Daniel Baker, Crittenden, Ken., Suzuki
Super-Mini Overall Results
1. Austin Forkner, Richards, MO., Kawasaki
2. Chase Sexton, LaMoille, Ill., Yamaha
3. Kotaro Takahasi, Las Vegas, Kawasaki
4. Luke Purther, Oak Hills, Calif., KTM
5. Joey Crown, Metamora, Mich., Suzuki
6. Tommy Maxey, Bloomingdale, GA., Kawasaki
7. Challen Tennant, Willis, Texas, KTM
8. Mark Worth, Santan Valley, Ariz., Kawasaki
9. Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha
10. Brandon Hartranft, Brick, NJ., Suzuki