By admin | October 18, 2013
By Richard Allen
The Motocross season may be over and the start of Supercross may still be a couple of months away, but that doesn’t mean fans of fast paced, up-and-down action on two wheels have to do without. As a matter of fact, the sport’s biggest prize will be up for grabs in the Monster Energy Cup on Saturday night in Las Vegas at the Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Monster Energy Cup combines the best of both worlds in this extreme sport. For those who are drawn to the tightly packed action of stadium based Supercross, this event offers that same type of intensity from inside the football home of the University of Nevada- Las Vegas. And for those fans who appreciate the more wide open ‘outdoor’ racing of Motocross, the course used for this event is much different from that use annually for the Supercross season finale.
“The track incorporates elements of both Supercross and Motocross,” says Director of Supercross for Feld Motorsports Dave Prater. ”There are definitely a lot of Supercross style obstacles throughout the track, but we also build the track up into the stands and out into the pit area. This creates a much greater length than traditional Supercross and the natural terrain and high speed feel of Motocross.”
Prater points out that appealing to fans of both forms of the sport in this special event is important for the overall health of both Supercross and Motocross.
“It’s important to make this event as different as possible,” the director declared. ”It’s our goal to create a unique event that is neither Supercross or Motocross. It’s the Monster Energy Cup. With a track and a format that doesn’t necessarily favor a rider who excels at Supercross or one that excels at Motocross, it seems to open up the possibilities. The track doesn’t tend to favor a particular style of rider, thus making it more difficult to predict the outcome.”
The Monster Energy Cup offers the potential for riders to earn the richest prize this form of racing has to offer. The competition is broken into three segments with each offering its own rewards. However, if one star is able to win all three segments, he will take home $1 million for his efforts.
Two years ago, Ryan Villopoto did in fact achieve the lucrative prize. And according to Prater, Villopoto may have cashed in, but it was the sport that proved to be the big winner.
“Anytime an athlete walks away with that much money from one event it creates buzz in mainstream media,” Prater points out. ”The fact that Ryan was able to win all three segments and walk away with the $1 million was great. He proved that it was attainable. It proved to be a win/win for Villopoto and Supercross both. The Associated Press ran a story on the win for him and it was picked up in several major media outlets, such as SI.com.”
Villopoto has to again be considered a top contender to win this year’s Monster Energy Cup after coming off an incredibly successful year that saw him claim both the Monster Energy Supercross title and the AMA Pro Motocross season championship. If anyone is to claim the $1 million, it would seem as though the Washington native is the most likely favorite.
However, there will be plenty of competition to challenge Villopoto. Veteran riders such as James Stewart, Ryan Dungey and 2012 Monster Energy Cup champion Justin Barcia will be among those vying for top honors in ‘Sin City’. Younger stars such as Dean Wilson, Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen will also be looking for their chance to shine in this event that not only serves as a stand-alone happening but also as a preview for the upcoming Supercross season.
“Even though the Monster Energy Cup is not part of the overall Championship, we kind of think of it as the beginning of the new Monster Energy Supercross season,” Prater says. ”It’s our All Star event. It’s the first opportunity that the public gets to see riders compete with their new bikes, new teams, and new attitudes. It sets the tone for the upcoming season. Rookies to the 450 class let it be known that they will be contenders, veterans show the field that they’ve still got it, and dark horses appear in places we hadn’t thought to look. ”
The Monster Energy Cup will air live on Fox Sports 2 at 9:00pm eastern on Saturday night and will re-air on Fox Sports 1 at 1:00pm eastern on Sunday, October 20.
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