The 2016 Monster Energy Cup is Up!


10/13/2016

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 9.01.34 AM.JPG

It’s time again for the Monster Energy Cup, the biggest “off-season” race of the year. Now in it’s sixth year, the MEC’s hybrid motocross/supercross tracks have always been a testing ground for new concepts–whether it be the novel and not-so-successful split starting gate or the joker lane–and this year is no different. Again, the star of the show is the start, but this time designers have built on last year’s raised, downhill starting straight and kicked it up–by about 40 feet–into the stands at the end of Sam Boyd Stadium.

 P_S_16_01_10086A.JPG

A full 60 feet above the stadium floor below, riders will tear 160 feet down to the stadium floor and an additional 150 feet into the left first turn before embarking on the high speed jump-filled circuit. The track was designed by five-time AMA Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael and should make for brilliant racing and non-stop excitement all night.

 Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 8.28.01 AM.JPG

With three 10-lap main events, the format is unique, as well, but, as many of the world’s top racers know, the real draw to the Monster Energy Cup is the Monster Million. That’s right, $1 million pre-tax dollars are up for grabs to any “Cup Class” rider who can win all three main events on the night. It’s been done once, back in 2011, when Ryan Villopoto was able to pull it off ahead of such other greats as Chad Reed and James Stewart, No one has done it since.

O_S_16_01_10264A.JPG 

This year, defending MEC champion Ken Roczen hopes to add his name to that short list of achievers. Riding his new factory Honda CRF450R for the first time in a race, Roczen certainly has plenty to prove. And, even if he can’t win every main event, if he’s able to once again be the best overall performer, he’ll still walk away with a cool $100,000 for his efforts. 

roczen_honda_0.jpg

As returning champ, Roczen’s characteristic No.94 will be replaced with a big fat No.1, something he’ll also get to run when he returns to the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship this summer as defending 450MX Champion.

 3_S_16_34_10100A.JPG

First in line to dethrone King Kenny is Monster Energy’s own Eli Tomac, who’s also seen a fair bit of success at Sam Boyd Stadium. A past main-event winner, Tomac is coming into Vegas with a full head of steam and confidence after absolutely decimating the competition at the last two rounds of the FIM U.S. MXGPs a couple of weeks back. Many believe that, with two full seasons of racing under his belt on the Monster Kawasaki factory racing team, Eli has finally found his stride. With their history together, he and Roczen promise to either be at the front of the pack all night or very quickly making their way there!

 5_S_16_34_10087A.JPG

The fact that 2016 AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey is the third rider mentioned on this list just underlines how competitive this eventwill be. Dungey, who took most of the summer off from racing due to injury, was able last weekend to again prove himself as one of the best in the world. At the inaugural Supermotocross Manufacturers Cup in Germany, Dungey was able to put together three solid motos on a sandy, supercross/motocross hybrid track against the likes of Jeffrey Herlings, Romain Febvre, and Tim Gajser to come away the overall winner. Judging from that event, Dungey looks to not have last one bit of his speed, endurance or tenacity.

 14_S_16_34_10261A.JPG

The rest of the field at the Monster Energy Cup will no doubt be chasing these three all day and night long. Heading up that group has to be Roczen’s Honda teammate, Cole Seely. Also returning from an injury sustained early in the summer, Seely has been putting in the time at the practice tracks and is, by all accounts, on his A game coming into MEC.

Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 8.24.24 AM.JPG 

Cooper Webb, while on the entry list, is a bit of a question mark as he makes his debut not only with his new permanent No.2, but also in AMA sanctioned racing aboard a 450cc factory Yamaha YZ450F.  Webb’s coming off an emotional Motocross of Nations, so it will be interesting to see how he’ll rebound.

 22_S_16_34_10089A.JPG

Let’s not forget about Blake Baggett–making his debut on the new Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM team–or Chad Reed (above) as Webb’s teammate on the new factory Monster Energy/Chaparral Yamaha team.  

25_S_16_34_10300A.JPG

It goes without saying that Dungey’s Red Bull/KTM teammate Marvin Musquin–himself a former 250SX regional champ–will be in the battle, as well, as he comes off a great performance last weekend in Germany. Rockstar Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne also put on quite a display last weekend, although a hard get-off may have left him too bruised and battered to race the MEC this time around. Add to this the likes of Shane McElrath, Jordon Smith, Mike Alessi, Benny Bloss and several others and, well, you get the idea. The 22-main “Cup Class” field is going to be stacked from one side of the gate to the other.

 O_S_16_01_10317A.JPG

As if that’s not enough, The Monster Energy Cup has also been a showcase for up-and-coming talent through the years by way of two additional classes: The Amateur All-Stars (young 250cc intermediate national-level racers), and the Supermini class (top finishers in the Supermini division at national-level events). Both of these amateur events take place on the same track as the Cup Class races and in front of the same sold-out crowd. With two six-lap main events, an overall winner is crowned in each class and the racing is certainly not to be missed. It makes for an incredible down-time between the Cup Class mains.

For those who can’t make it to Sam Boyd Stadium this Saturday night, then there are plenty of options for viewing at home. Check out this link for all of the info you need: TV Listings

Also, check out a first-person virtual track lap Here.

As usual, keep up with photos, info and live timing and scoring right here at AMASupercross.com, and on our social media outlets on Facebook and Instagram.


 

 


Recent News

All News
American Motorcyclist Association New Member Benefit Announcement