Well, the first ever Monster Energy Cup kicked off over the weekend and for the most part it was a huge success. Ryan Villopoto won a million dollars (before taxes, of course), Adam Cianciarulo made his future boss, Mitch Payton, proud with a convincing win in the Supermini class and there was a four way tie for first in the Amateur All-Star class, with Justin Hill taking the tie breaker.
With any new event the first year is critical, especially when you're putting up one million smackers. And while the ME Cup was a success, it didn't look that way early. As the weeks approached more riders seemed to be pulling out than signing up, and the big hitting star power was dwindling faster than a $100 at the black jack table. Reed pulled out, as did Dungey (at one point), Stewart, Wilson and Barcia. Those names alone are enough to hurt ticket sales. But the boys at Feld did they're job. We're not sure how they did it, but they did and that's all that counts.
The game changer was the announcement that Dungey would race on his brand spanking new KTM. Anyone who loves supercross would kill at the chance to see Dungey face off against RV on a KTM for the first time, right? That, my friends, is correct. The fans showed up in droves and while the racing wasn't quite as tight at most would have liked, it was a success nonetheless.
The race was unique not only because it offered a million bucks to any rider who could sweep all three main event motos, but it also gave the world a chance to see the younger generation in action. Here's a breakdown of the premiere Monster Energy Cup class, but be sure and check back in tomorrow as we highlight the Amateur All-Star and Supermini classes.
Monster Energy Cup Class'
If Ryan Villopoto's 2011 season was an ice cream sundae, then the ME Cup was the cherry on top. Simply put, he dominated. He pulled holeshots, stretched leads and threw big whips for the crowd on his way to becoming a millionaire in Vegas.
But while RV was impressive, he wasn't the only rider on the track. As mentioned, Dungey showed up on his new steed and while he didn't steal a win from RV, he did look solid for only having a few rides on the bike. He'll get better with testing over the off-season and show up to A1 prepared for battle, that you can count on. Brett Metcalfe also looked solid. He led his heat qualifier for the majority of the race before being passed by RD and he put in solid 4-3-3 moto scores for third overall. Metty struggled through much of the supercross season in 2011 as he adjusted to the new team so hopefully this is a preview of what to expect from the likeable Aussie in 2012.'
Other notables were Martin Davalos and Eli Tomac, both of whom were making their maiden 450 debuts in Vegas. Before we start don't get too excited. This was a one-off race for the two, as both will be competing for the Lites title next season. Davalos and Tomac impressed mightily despite having little time on the bigger frame. Tomac had more flashes of brilliance with his 5-4-10 moto scores for fifth overall, but Davalos proved to be more consistent with his 7-7-5 scores for fourth. But needless to say, both will be highly touted riders once they do decide to make the jump to the premiere class full time.
While many impressed, there were a few that, well, didn't, so to speak. Justin Brayton was getting a lot of hype after completing an all-star outdoor season and switching to a new Muscle Milk Honda team. However, his results weren't there as he finished a disappointing 13-5-18 for 12th overall. Brayton's fellow Honda ace, Kevin Windham saw his share of troubles as well. After struggling to make it to the main, K-Dub never found his groove as he went 15-14-12 for 13th overall. And last but certainly not least, Broc Tickle also seemed to struggle in his 450 debut. Broc will be the first ever fully backed Pro Circuit 450 rider in 2012 and if he wants to live up to Mitch Payton's expectations, he better plan on putting in better results than 21-12-16 for 21st overall.
1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Brett Metcalfe
4. Martin Davalos
5. Eli Tomac
6. Kyle Chisholm
7. Nick Wey
8. Jimmy Albertson
9. Jake Weimer
10. Mike Alessi