Didn't Motocross just end?
Eight weeks ago actually.
Not exactly the halfway point to the start of Supercross but Silly Season has fans itching for some racing and the annual Monster Energy Cup provides some relief. Though not a points paying event, the Monster Cup doles out $1 million if a rider can sweep the three 10-lap Main Event races that Eli Tomac infamously did last year after his then new, but now no longer, teammate Joey Savatgy waved him by on the last lap of the final race. No good deed goes unpunished.
Gates indeed drop for the ninth installment of the Monster Cup on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas where Tomac will "defend" his Cup title. Tomac became the third rider to win the million dollar prize joining Ryan Villopoto who won in 2011 and Marvin Musquin who padded his bank account in 2017. Tomac also won the Monster Cup in 2016, now he has a chance to be the first to win back-to-back and subsequently drain the energy drink conglomerate of $1 million three straight years.
The Monster Cup uses a hybrid Supercross / Motocross track and the 2019 course features three different starts one of which sends riders backwards on the track.
Monster Energy Cup Track Map
Inside Right Route
Outside Stadium Start
Inside Left Route
Monster Cup replaces the usual Supercross point system (26 points for first, 23 points for second, etc.) with the system used at the Motocross of Nations where the first place riders gets one point, second place gets two points and so on. If a rider does not sweep the three races the one with the lowest points gets crowned Monster Cup Champion and receives $100,000. And yes, the Joker Lane returns, a sand pit of sorts each rider must take once in each race or get docked positions. Past Monster Cup Champions:
- Ryan Villopoto - 2011*
- Justin Barcia - 2012
- James Stewart - 2013
- Davi Millsaps - 2014
- Ken Roczen - 2015
- Eli Tomac - 2016
- Marvin Musquin - 2017*
- Eli Tomac - 2018*
* $1 million winner
2019 Monster Cup Riders - Updated
The Monster Cup also serves as a preview of teams for the upcoming racing season as most contracts have been signed for 2020 and riders who race the Cup get to show off their new bikes.
Monster Energy Kawasaki
Expect Tomac behind the gate along with his new teammate Adam Cianciarulo on the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. Cianciarulo begins his 450 class rookie season on the heels of capturing the 250 class Motocross Championship and nearly taking the 250 West Supercross title earlier this year.
Monster Energy / Yamaha Factory
Monster Energy / Yamaha Factory racing will have their riders Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger behind the gate.
Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna
Dean Wilson represents the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna while his teammates Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson who both competed last month at the Motocross of Nations get some rest as well as newcomer to the team RJ Hampshire.
Jeremy Martin returns to racing after more than a year on the sidelines resulting from an injury during Round 4 of the 2018 Motocross season.
Privateers and those looking for a Factory Ride
Veteran Chad Reed is expected to ride with the provisional entry list having him aboard a Suzuki for 22 Motorsports but Instagram posts indicate Reed on a Honda.
Notable privateers looking for a quick payout or perhaps, even more importantly, eyes from a factory team include Justin Starling, Tyler Bowers, John Short and Alex Ray. Slovenian rider Tim Gajser, a two-time and current defending Motocross World Championship (MXGP) Champion, tries his luck again. Gajser endured a huge crash in the first race of the 2017 event and did not return. Jordi Tixier, an MX2 class (250) Champion from the MXGP series will also race.
The Rest Not Racing
Other prominent riders but missing in action this weekend include Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb, the defending 450 class Supercross Champion whose Outdoor season ended early after an injury at Unadilla, and his teammate Marvin Musquin who tweaked his knee during the final Outdoor round at Ironman; Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen, Justin Brayton, who is currently defending his Australian Supercross Championship, and Chase Sexton, the 2019 250SX East Champion (Sexton joins Geico Honda for Supercross and HRC Honda for Outdoors in 2020); Monster Energy / Yamalube / Star / Yamaha Racing riders Justin Cooper, who raced for Team USA at the MXoN, Dylan Ferrandis, the 2019 250SX West Champion, and Shane McElrath; Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki riders Cameron McAdoo, Garrett Marchbanks, Austin Forkner and Jordan Smith; and as the JGR / Yoshimura / Suzuki Factory Racing team remains in limbo with questions regarding them sponsoring a team next year, Alex Martin remains out as well as Savatgy.
Of course, this is all subject to change with or without notice.