The million dollar race that helps boost the bank account for one rider and ease the growing anticipation from fans for the start of the Supercross season drops gates on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
The eighth annual Monster Energy Cup offers riders in the Cup Class (pro) a chance at $1 million if they can win all three 10 minute Motos, a feat accomplished just twice - the inaugural dance in 2011 when Ryan Villopoto rode away a million dollars richer and last year when Marvin Musquin took all three wins. Musquin returns this year and leads a field consisting of Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia who raced last week for Team USA at the Motocross of Nations as well as Cooper Webb, Blake Baggett, Chad Reed and Malcolm Stewart, among others.
Marvin Musquin celebrates his win at the 2017 Monster Cup - all photos courtesy of Supercrosslive.com
And by all accounts this race might very well feature, for the first time, two past million dollar winners as all signs, rumors and innuendos point towards the retired Villopoto lining up too.
Additionally, the usual Supercross point system of 26 points for first and 23 points for second gets replaced by the method used at the Motocross of Nations where the first place riders gets one point, second place gets two points and so on. The rider with the least amount of points wins. If no rider sweeps all three Motos, the one with the lowest points gets crowned Monster Cup Champion anyway, albeit with a much smaller payout of $100,000. In the event's seven years no rider has won the Cup twice:
- Ryan Villopoto - 2011
- Justin Barcia - 2012
- James Stewart - 2013
- Davi Millsaps - 2014
- Ken Roczen - 2015
- Eli Tomac - 2016
- Marvin Musquin - 2017
The Monster Cup incorporates a hybrid Supercross/Motocross track that takes riders outside of the stadium along with a Joker Lane intended to slow momentum down. If a rider fails to take the Joker Lane during the course of each race, which has happened, the rider gets docked a few spots quickly ending winning celebrations with a "doh!" and a thunk on the head. Check out the track map:
In addition to the pros, the Monster Cup hosts amateur racing - which often features tomorrow's factory riders - superminis and a race for the little guys on KTMs. The day-long festivities also includes the Pit Party starting at 12 p.m. with a whip contest, truck racing and BMX demonstrations, among other activities.
Practice for the riders begins at 12 p.m. with qualifying starting at 12:40 p.m. Racing starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium. FOX Sports 2 airs the Monster Cup live.