Starting in 2008, Vurb Moto wanted to come up with a method of determining the best amateur rider of any given year. Obviously there are the National champions spread around, and of course there is Loretta Lynn's which is easily the biggest and most prestigious event on the calendar, but Vurb wanted a way to try an encompass everything, so that each race of each class counted towards a greater prize - the Vurb Cup.
The first thing to do was decide which events would qualify for such a prize. Starting it off for the year would be Mini O's at Gatorback, before having a break until spring where the two Texas nationals would be included (it has since changed to Millcreek instead of Lake Whitney). Then it's World Mini near Las Vegas, before the two week stretch of Ponca City and then finishing off at Loretta's.
Now because of rider's locations and family budgets, they only have to ride three of those events, as long as one of them includes Loretta's (because it is so important). Another change for Loretta's is that each moto counts, rather than each class, so you really do need to do well at the Ranch if you want to stand a chance of winning. Basically though, if they attend an event, and start each race of the class, their result is counted. However at the end of the year, they get a mulligan and their worst result is discarded. We did this so that a freak accident or mechanical wouldn't ruin a rider's chances.
Essentially what you are left with is a group of riders who competed in anywhere from 10 classes to 30 classes from any age group, in with a shout of walking away with the prize because we add up all their class scores, divide by the number of classes to give an average finishing position. The lowest number being the Vurb Cup winner.
Previous winners include Eli Tomac, Zach Bell and Jason Anderson who actually won with an average class position of just 1.45. The cream definitely rises to the top, and this year is no different with names like Justin Bogle, Adam Cianciarulo, Cooper Webb and Jeremy Martin in with a shout.
Adam Cianciarulo is easily the most recognizable name in amateur racing and each year, he's been right up there with a chance of winning. In 2008 he came 2nd, 2009 3rd and in 2010 he slipped to 9th, but this year he's right up there again and maybe it'll be fourth time lucky for this phenom. He'll have to beat off long-time rival Cooper Webb though, who also has a good history in the Vurb Cup, coming 2nd last year.
One young rider in with a chance is Stilez Robertson who's been destroying all-comers in the 50cc and 65cc class. He's left it late, having missed out the first three qualifying events but starting with World Mini, this youngster has been dominating. Another 50/65 rider is Pierce Brown, who may not be one of the bigger names, but his results tell you all you need to know about him. He's ridden 15 classes and averages a finish of just 2.79. Impressive.
Getting slightly older is the 85 rider Sean Cantrell who just needs a solid Loretta's to round out another year filled with victories and podiums. The Vurb Cup would be just reward for his efforts but he'll have to beat off some strong competition in the Supermini, Schoolboy, B and A classes.
Jeremy Martin came 5th in 2009 but he's another one who'll hope that the six motos of Loretta's will go smoothly and barring any major disaster, the Suzuki B rider from Minnesota will take home the crown, but that's if Chris Alldredge doesn't win his motos in the Schoolboy classes.
Last, but not least, we have the big guns of Bogle and Faith. Each year we've run it, riders who have turned pro following Loretta's have been in with a shot. Eli Tomac and Dean Wilson were both close in 2009 and Jason Anderson obviously won it in 2010. This year is no different with Justin Bogle really stepping it up to become somewhat dominant. Gavin Faith has also done well, coming just slightly worse off as they traded wins this year, in what is a very stacked A class.
One thing's for certain though, it will go right down to the final motos of Loretta's. In fact 2009 came down to the final race of the entire championship as Zach Bell needed to finish 2nd or better to win. A 3rd place would've seen Dean Wilson take the crown, but Bell kept his cool and ended up winning the moto to seal his name in history. It's unlikely it'll ever be that close again but with eight riders in with a shot... who knows?