22 Takeaways from the Monster Energy Cup
Ever since the inaugural Monster Energy Cup, the idea of taking home the Monster Million was just a tantalizing tease. Marvin Musquin and Lady Luck made it happen in the '17 edition. Here's some of what we spotted during the night in Vegas.
1Las Vegas is almost always a party. Following the mass shooting just a week before along The Strip, it was a somewhat more subdued crowd, and everyone showed their respects before the night's action got started.
2So how do you lighten the mood after that? Monster girls with flamethrowers...all well-documented via smartphones. #myinstaissogoingtoblowup.
3Tim Gajser looked strong early in the first Cup main event, but he went down hard in the rhythm section that nearly all the top riders struggled with, and was quickly done for the night. We're guessing he learned a lot from the experience that he can use in the future. Will we see him again in a full-on Supercross? That remains to be seen.
4There was a restart of the first main after a really ugly crash involving Justin Bogle, who had Justin Hoeft cross-jump in front of him. It almost got worse when one of the TV crew guys ran out onto the track to retrieve something (you can see him on the right, standing on the gore point where the split start came together), and he almost got cleaned out by Jason Anderson (who's already long gone in this shot).
5Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin were putting on a show in the first main event...right up until Eli got sideways over a jump, swapped big-time, and then got flicked off hard. He took enough of a knock to the head that he opted to sit out the rest of the night. That made the prospects of Marvin taking home a $1,000,000 payday a whole lot better, but also made the action a lot less compelling.
6Broc Tickle looks really good on his new Red Bull KTM. Like Marvin, he was taking advantage of the open rules package of the Monster Energy Cup, and was already onto some next-gen machinery. In the final main, he was still in contention for a podium spot, but got edged out by Dean Wilson.
7Jason Anderson was also aboard a next-gen version of Husqvarna's machinery. He was just a tick off of of Marvin Musquin's performance. He jokingly mentioned after the race that Marvin didn't try to make a pre-race deal to make it easy on him in the final main; but on the other hand, it would have made for an awfully awkward training camp if Jason had beaten Marvin, and cost him $900,000...the difference between a three-main sweep, and the usual prize for the overall.
8Jett Reynolds scored an easy win in the first Supermini main, but had bigger challenges ahead in the second main.
9Seth Hammaker went wire-to-wire for the win in both Amateur All-Stars main events. That says good things about his future. As usual, there are a lot of very fast riders in that class, but sometimes a combination of youthful exuberance, and adrenaline result in mistakes, so putting together a pair of fast an consistent main event scores is impressive.
10When you get that mix of speed and showmanship in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge race, you get a winner like Drew Adams. We wouldn't be shocked to hear his name in the future.
11The last time we'd seen Jordon Smith in action was when he crashed out spectacularly from the 250 main event at the Las Vegas SX finals. It was good to see him not only back in action, but finishing the night in fifth overall with 5-4-6 scores in the Cup class.
12Listening to Dean Wilson's croaky voice after the night's action, it was obvious that he was still sick after his travel to the MXoN. To grab a third overall on the night was a great finish for the speedy Scot. He tied with Broc Tickle on points, but edged him out with the better finish in the final main. Interestingly, he was still on the older version of the Husqvarna. Parts and chassis for the next-gen bikes are still apparently in very limited supply.
13Justin Barcia got better as the night went on, with 10-6-5 scores, and a sixth overall. We'll have to see what the future holds for him...whether he continues on as a privateer, or if a factory deal may come his way.
14Jarryd McNeil is a bad dude on a motorcycle, and his whips? Just nasty. He finished second in the Best Whip contest.
15Tyler Bereman had the style, and variety in his whips to take home the Best Whip win. Amazing, especially considering that (as usual for Vegas), the wind also whipped up as they were being introduced.
16The format for the Best Whip contest was pretty cool, with a five-minute jam session with all the riders, which was then narrowed down to the final three. Tyler Bereman (center) got the win, Jarryd McNeil (right) was second, and Edgar Torronteras grabbed the third spot.
17Jace Kessler took the win in the second Supermini moto, and it wasn't easy. Late in the main he was feeling the heat from both Jeremy Ryan (10), and Jett Reynolds. Jett got by Jeremy, and was bar-to-bar with Jace at the finish.
18Seth Hammaker almost slid out a couple turns into the final Amateur All-Stars race, but he continued on to make it a clean sweep of the two mains. Jo Shimoda (47) ended up in third overall with a 2-4 score.
19Pierce Brown was second overall behind Hammaker, with a 3-2 night.
20Ah yeah, there's nothing quite like getting interviewed on the line, right before the gate drops for the third and final main event, when you have a chance to win a million dollars. Well, not that we'd know. But we can imagine that it didn't help the butterflies.
21Solid under pressure? You bet. Marvin Musquin crushed the start in the final main event. He had nearly a full bike length advantage at the bottom of the start hill. He ran away and hid after that, and wrapped up the third main event win to claim the Monster Million.
22Marvin was pretty much giddy after the races. Enough so that he could easily overlook that they misspelled his name on the check. Way to go, Marvin...and the Red Bull KTM squad. That was a big turnaround from the first morning practice when he cut it short early due to bike problems. We also ran into Kenneth Feld (CEO of Feld Entertainment) at the podium, and he had a pretty awesome attitude about having to pay out the Monster Million. "It's good for the sport."