What Really Happened: Monster Energy Cup 2012
Who was fast, rusty, and who broke.
What Really Happened: Monster Energy Cup 2012
Photos and Typos: Scott Hoffman
The official “official” end of the 2012 racing season is over, yet in a small way it is the start or sneak peek preview into the 2013 supercross season. Anaheim 1 is just a little over two months away and for some racers it will seem like it snuck right up on them whether they are ready or not.
So what did we learn from the MEC? Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed are back on the bike and both looked good, but Villopoto was faster, at least in practice and the first of three races. RV sat out the final race after his crash in race two. A lot of folks wanted to see James Stewart race as well, but in the end he sat out and we will have to wait until A1 to see what he has in his bag of tricks. And Ryan Dungey needs to avoid hitting stuff with his shifter. RD rode two races stuck in second gear. We saw him in the second race land on a tuff block and then later try to reach down to shift his bike to realize there was no shifter to grab. Bad luck for Dungey but he still rode like a hero only having a one-speed Katoom.
The MEC was a solid event. The pits and the stands were full and the racing action was intense. The track seemed a little more SX this year, yet they still left out the signature whoops. One of a few twists that were tossed into the mix this year was a full split start where the field was split in two and merged as racers entered the stadium from either side of one end. The second twist was the Joker lane. This was a small section of sand whoops or gnarly jumps that each rider had to ride through at least once in each of the three races. It did seem to swap up the order very late in the races as riders attempted to time the section to avoid losing spots on the track. Racers also had the option to use two-way communication if they chose.The MEC didn’t appear to blow away the dark cloud injury-prone 2012 season just yet. Kevin Windham tried to make his racing comeback, but he knocked his head in practice and elected to sit the night out. Blake Baggett was not as lucky. He may have broken his wrist or arm, which will likely affect his Supercross season going into 2013. Some may ask why race a one-off race so close the start of the 2013 season and risk a possible injury? Well, there are a few reasons. The chance for $1 million dollars is the main reason, the second is a chance to win $100K, and the third is to get some racing practice in for the 2013 season. Racing in the off-season is nothing new and the top racers have often gone overseas to ride big money events. Nothing has changed, but this high dollar event is in our own backyard. So who stuck out at the MEC? Justin Barcia, aboard his new Muscle Milk Factory Honda. Barcia already appears to have made a seamless transition from the 250 to a full-time 450 ride. Eli Tomac also impressed with his 450 skills by winning the final race of the night, yet we might have to wait a season to see him on a big-bore full-time. Mike Alessi looked solid and it was nice to see Josh Grant on a JGR Yamaha. He is also adapting to his new ride very nicely.
Chad Reed admitted he was just happy to be back racing and considering what he has gone through, he rode very well. Not the Reed we watched last year before he got hurt, but with only two months to train, he and his TwoTwo Motorsports Honda team have some work to do. Reed said he has been doing a lot of kart driving and seems to be just as interested in driving four wheels as he is in racing two. Most expect Reed to close out his MC career in the next year or two.
So Barcia took home $100K for his MEC efforts and the event seemed well received. The track was a little slippery, but that is to be expected from Vegas. The Amateur All-Stars was a great look into possible future stars and the Super-Mini race seemed like the track was almost a tad much for the small 100cc machines, but most of the racers were pretty impressive to watch.
Nobody won the million in 2012 so does that mean $2 million will be up for grabs in 2013? I bet the racers would love to see that. That would really be called Monster Millions.
Monster Energy Cup Overall Results
1. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Honda
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
4. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda
5. Josh Grant, Corona, Calif., Yamaha
6. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha
7. Jake Canada, Corona, Calif., Suzuki
8. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Kawasaki
9. Mike Alessi, Hilliard Fla., Suzuki
10. Ryan Villopoto, Seattle, Wash., Kawasaki
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