2019 Monster Energy Cup Preview


10/15/2019

Each October, the AMA and Feld Entertainment get together for an invitation-only, experimental race. The 2019 version of this event -- The Monster Energy Cup -- holds more surprises than any before it.


First and foremost is the three-main event format, with the overall winner of the combined scores taking home a huge paycheck. If, like the previous two years, the winner makes a clean sweep of each main event, that person earns the Monster Million -- $1million. Last year, that was Eli Tomac.Before that, Marvin Musquin. And Ryan Villopoto managed the task in the event's first running in 2012.

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The track and the way it's used this year, particularly, are also quite a departure from normal. Each year, the track is considered a hybrid between Supercross and motocross styles, with a noticeable lack of a whoops section and significantly longer lap times. This year, even the way the track is utilized will be unique. There are three different ways the start will be run, including two entirely separate starting gates. Each race will start differently and, the track will be run in both directions! It should be interesting, that much is for sure.

The field of racers for this event is often unique, as well, with a few key players missing and a few added. Not to mention that any size bike, whether two-stroke or four, is welcome to run the premier "Cup" class. Since it is the off-season for not only the U.S. series but also the MXGP, it's not unheard of that racers from both series compete together, and this year is no exception. Here are some of the favorites:

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Of course starting off the lineup will be last year's winner Eli Tomac. After a perfect run last year, Tomac has had a couple months off since the motocross series and his full status is unknown as he keeps his cards close to the chest. One thing is for sure though: When a healthy Eli Tomac lines up for any race, he'll be a threat for the win. 

His new teammate and 450 rookie Adam Cianciarulo is also a highly anticipated addition to the lineup. Cianciarulo has been somewhat more open with the fact that he's been riding Supercross and is adapting well to the 450 thus far. He's also stated that he's heading into the MEC with every intention of winning.

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The next group of favorites must be the Monster Energy/Yamaha factory racing teammates of Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger. While Plessinger's results in the 450SX class were slowly improving in his rookie 2019 season, he suffered a major leg injury that sidelined him. Upon his return to the motocross season, his results left a lot to be desired. So it's safe to assume that he'll be looking to make a statement this weekend in Las Vegas.

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His teammate, Justin Barcia, on the other hand, was once the overall Monster Cup winner and is coming off a strong and relatively injury-free 2019 season. Barcia seems to really enjoy this race, as he's shown up even as a full privateer before and done remarkably well. He'll be a podium threat for sure.

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Rockstar Husqvarna's Dean Wilson is the only one of his 450SX class team that will show up to race in Vegas this time around. Former AMA Supercross champion Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne have been racing and training nonstop since the motocross season finale in late August. Wilson, though, has been keeping busy with a win at the Montreal Supercross about a month ago, and, based on his social media feeds, has been regularly hitting the SX test tracks in preparation. Another podium threat.

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Malcolm Stewart will make his first start since Round 2 of the AMA Supercross season, when he broke a femur while running up front. Stewart was very impressive prior to his injury, running the leader's pace (or better) in each heat and main event up to that point. The No. 27 rider will once again be aboard the Honda 450 provided by Motoconcepts/Smartop/Bullfrog Racing, which he's signed on with for 2020.

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Beyond these front runners, we have a few wild cards hitting the track, as well. First and foremost is Chad Reed. Though it's not certain what he'll be riding, rumors are that it will be a privately financed Honda effort. But one thing is for sure: Reed will have one of the longest autograph lines in the pits.

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Next up are two from the MXGP scene. Newly crowned MXGP (450cc class) FIM World Champion (his second), Honda HRC's Tim Gajser. The No. 243 450 rider has been to the MEC before and looked a bit out of his element before crashing and hurting himself for a DNF.

This year, the track will be somewhat less "Supercrossy," due to the fact that it will be run both directions, thus the jumps will be shaped somewhat differently than a normal Supercross-style track. Regardless, the Slovenian has always dreamed of making a splash on the U.S. scene, and this may just be his best chance.

The other wildcard from the GP scene is former MX2 FIM World Champ, Frenchman Jordi Tixier, a last minute addition. It's far from certain how Tixier will fare here, but he's shown flashes of brilliance in European Supercross style races for years and has been seen training at various southern California tracks leading up to this weekend.

Go check out Supercrosslive.com for more info and on how to check out the action, or otherwise keep your eye out on our Facebook page AMA Supercross Championship.


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