October 21, 2012
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Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac on the podium. Photo: Hoppenworld

The Monster Cup delivered all it promised in racing excitement, even if the TV show was lackluster and long. Here were the major points:

(1) Justin Barcia rode a 450 the same way he rides a 250?flat out. His go-for-broke style carried the day for him with a  2-1-2 score for the three motos. He got a $100,000 check for the night.

(2) Ryan Villopoto came for the million dollars and might well have done the deed again, but for an unfortunate crash while leading moto two. He struggled back to 12th by the end of the moto, but with the $1,000,000 gone (a million dollar prize was up for grabs if any racer could win all three motos; Villopoto had done just that last year and won that million-dollar bonus then) and any chance of the $100,000 first-place prize money out the window?he packed it in the for the night.

Ryan Dungey’s bike was flawless most of the season, but seriously flawed on Saturday night. Photo: Hoppenworld

(3) Ryan Dungey might as well have been testing KTM’s revolutionary new hand he spent two motos shifting his bike by reaching down and pulling up on the shift lever with his left hand. Nobody even knew that was possible! And amazingly, Ryan scored a third and a second in both motos with mangled shifters. Then, breaking with tradition, he returned to a contemporary foot shifter for the final moto…but still only finished third. Dungey’s rides were exceptional given his troubles. With his $35,000 payout, Ryan can buy a lot of KTM shift levers.

(4) Blake Baggett and Kevin Windham were either the first two riders to be injured in the 2013 season or the last two to be injured in the 2012 season. Baggett broke his arm in practice and Windham suffered a concussion.

(5) It’s sad that Eli Tomac will have to wait another year before he can move to the 450 class. Eli has the knack for racing a 450 and it showed with solid performances and a flair for keep the big bike hooked up on the scrappy Las Vegas soil. Tomac will be racing the 250 Supercross series and the 250 Nationals in 2013.

(6) Speaking of scrappy, Mike Alessi looked good, bad, desperate and frustrated all at the same time. He had a solid third in moto two, but wasted a lot of time and energy looking around and playing cat-and-mouse with Barcia all night long. Alessi’s best chance to make an impact came in the third moto when he got a good start, but he wheel-hopped over the big berm on the first lap and ended up 19th.

(7) Chad Reed went 5-6-4 for fourth, but looked even better than that. He had some small issues that would push him back every time he was close to getting involved in the battle up front. For a guy coming back from eight months off, it was a solid night. Now he’s off to the Aussie Supercross series, where he should find the going mighty easy.

(8) Josh Grant holeshot moto one and led, but an unfortunate line choice, which he stuck with for the whole moto, cost him place after place. He turned a holeshot into a sixth by going double/double/double while his competition went around the outside and went triple/triple/goodbye. All in all, Josh looks better on the YZ450F than he did on his KX450F.

(9) You have to wonder if the risk of killing a 14-year-old on a mini bike on national TV is worth whatever entertainment value that Feld gets out of throwing overexcited amateurs out on a track that even the Pros struggled with. When Ricky Carmichael designed it, he admitted he hadn’t even thought about the possibility of amateurs riding on it, let alone minicycles. Can any sport endure the sight of young kids auguring into the face of jumps (and the possibility of suffering the kind of injuries that the factory riders have proven are possible). Feld dodged a bullet in Vegas (and so did the sport). Do they want to spin the chamber in the future? These kids will get to Supercross soon enough.

(10) The Monster Cup is a crackpot race?in a good and bad way. The split start was a stupid idea and dangerous to boot. Yes, they avoided the big one, but only by inches in the 250cc amateur race. In a way, the use of the Joker Lane determined the third moto winner and played a big part in the overall victory, but looked like a Chinese fire drill in person. Who did it, who didn’t and when did they do it. One-off races are gimmicky. That is part of their unique charm. Next year? Pit stops?

(11) If any casual sports fan managed to sit through the complete 3-1/2-hour TV show it would be amazing. It was long…too long. It had a pre-race that went on for 35 minutes and said nothing. They had a twitter segment with Miss Supercross that resorted to using tweets from earlier in the day and some from earlier in the week. “What was your favorite part of the track,” was the question that Ricky Carmichael kept asking the winners. How many times can the audience watch the same three commercials for the series sponsors. There was even an ad for the 2013 Monster Cup…think about that. It was an ad for a race that is 12 months away. That is blatant filler. Timing and score on the screen was always a lap behind?you could see a rider pass another rider, but the scroll across the screen wouldn’t change. Feld could invest in a few more scoring loops and connect them to the live scoring. The racing was good. Flo was entertaining as always (she really should be “Miss Supercross”). Ralph, Jeff and Ricky need to do a little more pre-race prep. The vast majority of the show was what they invented Tivos and DVRs for.

1. Ryan Villopoto
2. Justin Barcia
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Eli Tomac
5. Chad Reed
6. Josh Grant
7. Mike Alessi
8. Kyle Cunningham
9. Jake Canada
10. Justin Brayton

1. Justin Barcia
2. Ryan Dungey
3. Mike Alessi
4. Eli Tomac
5. Josh Grant
6. Chad Reed
7. Kyle Cunningham
8. Justin Brayton
9. Kyle Chisholm
10. Jake Canada

1. Eli Tomac
2. Justin Barcia
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Chad Reed
5. Josh Grant
6. Kyle Cunningham
7. Jake Canada
8. Kyle Chisholm
9. Vince Friese
10. Jake Weimer

1. Justin Barcia..2-1-2
2. Ryan Dungey…3-2-3
3. Eli Tomac…4-4-1
4. Chad Reed…5-6-4
5. Josh Grant…6-5-5
6. Kyle Cunningham…8-7-6
7. Jake Canada…9-10-7
8. Kyle Chisholm…11-9-8
9. Mike Alessi…7-3-19
10. Ryan Villopoto…1-12-DNF


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