Thursday, was the opening press conference at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. It’s the ‘start’ of activities of the first ever Monster Energy Cup – a brand new type of motorcycle racing event combining Supercross and Motocross on one track.
The press conference was started and hosted by a former Supercross and Motocross Champion, Jeff Emig. Jeff welcomed all in attendance, and explained that this event has been 12 months in planning between Feld Motor sports and Monster Energy beverage company. It’s a special ‘hybrid’ track, combining Supercross and MX style sections. The track was primarily designed by two people very well known in Supercross and Motocross – 8 time AMA National Motocross and Supercross Champion Jeremy McGrath (best ever in Supercross, 7 time champion, 72 main event wins), and 15 time AMA National MX and Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael (most wins ever in combined AMA Motocross and Supercross).
Amanda with Miss Supercross Dianna Dahlgren
A normal Supercross track uses about 6,000 cubic yards of dirt. This track, the biggest of it’s kind, uses 10,000 cubic yards of dirt.
Jeff Emig commented that new rules were being put into place for this special event by the AMA. For example – two way radios are being allowed, so teams can communicate with their riders during the race. Jeff also told the media on hand there are three other ‘events’ in this Monster Energy Cup extravaganza: Super Mini, Amateur All-Stars, and Best Trick Freestyle Motocross. In the Best Trick Freestyle MX, it’s going to be five riders, each get only one chance to perform their jump where the winner gets $40k.
Next person introduced was Ricky Carmichael, co-track designer with Jeremy McGrath. The 15 time AMA Champion (10 National MX titles and 5 Supercross titles) commented on how big the exposure and opportunity is for everyone involved. Riders, manufacturers, sponsors, and more. Just the fact that 1 million dollars is available if someone can win all three 10 lap main events brings mainstream exposure for everyone involved.
Ricky said that not only is the track design unique, but the three moto racing format makes it incredibly exciting. His input on the track was to make it as fun as possible, and provide good racing for the fans and riders. One feature, or lack there-of on this track – there is no whoop section. ‘RC’ believes this event could help open the eyes of the rest of the world to the talent and excitement the sport has to offer.
Next up – Monster Energy Cup featured riders Mike Alessi, Marvin Musquin, Justin Brayton, Josh Hansen, Kevin Windham, and the guy who won everything in 2011 – AMA Supercross Series Champion and AMA MX Champion Ryan Villopoto. But as they were being introduced – something else was being introduced as well – the actual million dollars! And the Monster Energy Cup trophy, which weighs an astonishing 217 pounds!
Some of the highlights of each of those riders as the press conference, Mike Alessi is recently married, and has started his own team with his own money, including buying stock Suzuki bikes. Marvin Musquin said he’ll be on the 350 KTM, and has been practicing on the bike for two weeks. He thinks the track suits him well. He looked very fast and smooth in practice later in the afternoon. Justin Brayton said that it’s been his dream to come race with his new team, the American Honda Factory Racing Team. Josh Hansen is riding a 450 in this race. He jokingly said he wouldn’t be afraid to park someone in the front row in the the third moto if he was in line for the Monster Million dollars. Kevin Windham said he likes Vegas. He always looks forward to coming here, and he’s excited to try the new race format. Supercross Champ Ryan Villopoto said, “There are lots of big jumps. I’m recently married, too, but I’ve still been training. I’ve got one more big race this season!”
And news came out earlier in the day that Ryan Dungey, who just signed with KTM and has been testing the new 450, will be racing Saturday in this inaugural Monster Energy Cup.
Race coverage of the event starts on Supercross.com Saturday morning.