Up next: The 2018 Monster Energy Cup


10/11/2018

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Now in it's eighth year, the 2018 Monster Energy Cup again promises to be THE off-season race to attend--both as a spectator and a racer. With the promise of a $1 million prize for winning all three main events, not to mention $100,000 for simply winning the overall with the lowest overall scores, there are many reasons that the race attracts the top names in the sport. 

Sometimes more telling, though, is the riders who choose to skip it altogether, instead focusing on their AMA Supercross training and opting to not interrupt it for a one-off race (particularly when they don't really need an extra potential $100K). The race is rather unique in that it technically isn't a "Supercross" track, due to the lack of a whoops section and the addition of more outdoor motocross style obstacles, plus a much longer lap time than a typical Supercross track.

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This can often lead to more of an outdoor-specialist-style rider filling the top spots. But with most top riders being great at both disciplines in recent years, we normally end up with the usual suspects rising to the top. Last year, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Marvin Musquin became the second rider ever to go home with the $1 million bonus for winning every main event. A little bit of luck and a lot of speed put him first across the line in all three mains, beating the likes of Jason Anderson, Eli Tomac, Blake Baggett and several other top stars.

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This year, Musquin will defend his title running the #1 on his factory 450SXF for the first time in his career in the United States. He has a new teammate joining this time, though, as Cooper Webb will make his debut on the team in his first race on the team and on a KTM. Running the No. 2, Webb will no doubt be hoping to prove that he finally has what it takes to consistently run at the front in the premier class against many of the sport's top riders. 

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Beyond the factory KTM team, a few other names stand out on the entry list, such as Eli Tomac, of course, who is always the man to beat when he lines up for any race. Joining him for the first time on a 450 in any sort of professional competition is his new teammate for the 2019 season, Joey Savatgy. A top 250 rider for several seasons on the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, Savatgy is another rider who needs to prove his mettle in the "big boy" class, and this may be just the stage to do it on.

TLD/KTM 250 star Jordon Smith is another rider who has only once been seen on a 450 in pro competition (at last year's Cup), and he's chosen to get out there and battle with the top crew once again. Smith has had several flashes of true brilliance in both MX and AMA Supercross in the past, so it's not improbable that he'll find himself battling for a top position this Saturday night.

In addition to these greats, we certainly can't count out the usual suspects, like Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing's Justin Barcia, or Chad Reed on the JGR/Autotrader.com Suzuki and of course Malcolm Stewart, who's trying out for a spot on the MotoConcepts Racing Honda 450. The field is stacked despite missing a few key players such as Jason Anderson, Justin Brayton and a couple others, so their absence won't be felt once the gate falls and this wave of 450s comes thundering into Sam Boyd Stadium!

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Adding to the fun, as usual, for this unique event is the presence of the two amateur classes: the Amateur All-Stars, which features top amateur A and B class riders on 250cc 4-strokes; and the Supermini class, which has the top amateur supermini riders from around the world in one place. Look for superstars like Ryder DiFrancesco, Tanner Stack, Carson Muford, Jo Shimoda, Max Vohland and France's hot up-and-coming EMX2 rider Brian Moreau. In other words, these amateurs may provide some of the best racing of the night.

It's easy to watch this AMA-sanctioned event, even if you can't get to Vegas. FoxSports2 will air the night show live beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET, as well as on the Fox Sports Go app, while qualifying earlier in the day can be seen on Supercrosslive.com. Of course, you can also come right here to catch Live Timing and Scoring, plus our Facebook page will be updated with action photos of the entire event. Don't miss it!


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