Adam Cianciarulo took advantage of a depleted field and won his first race as a member of the 450 class taking the 2019 Monster Energy Cup on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas by one point over Cup defending Champion Eli Tomac.
Cianciarulo who capped off his 250 class career this summer with a 250 class Motocross Championship went 2-2-1 at the Monster Cup netting him a $100,000 check. Tomac who was trying to become the first back-to-back winner in the nine year history of the Cup and sweep as he did last year, which got him $1 million, took the first Moto but crashed in the second ending any chances the energy drink company would hand over another big check. A rider must win all three Motos to claim the $1 million payout.
Malcolm Stewart, in his first race back since breaking his femur in January, took third overall which included a Moto 2 win. Cianciarulo, Tomac and Stewart were tied in points heading into the final race.
Vince Friese took fourth overall and Tim Gajser, the reigning Motocross World Championship (MXGP) champion rounded out the Top 5 and his 7-4-4 scores were a whole lot better than his 2017 outing when he bailed off the bike in Moto 1 and didn't return. Jeremy Martin, a surprise last minute entry, finished eighth overall with 6-6-14 finishes in his first race since a crash in the 2018 Outdoor season that left him with a burst fracture to his vertebrae.
Though the Monster Cup serves as a preview of sorts for the upcoming Supercross season which starts in January, a lot of riders took the weekend off including Ken Roczen, Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, Dylan Ferrandis, Justin Brayton, Justin Cooper and Chase Sexton, all who were either still recovering from injury, racing another series or simply needed a break.
Check out all the action at the 2019 Monster Cup. Photos by Ryne Swanberg.