REFLECTIONS OF THE PAST: 2011 MONSTER ENERGY CUP
October 15, 2011–the date of the inaugural Monster Energy Cup (MEC). Held at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, the MEC has become an annual event during the off-season. This is, like most anything, due to money and exposure. Promoted by Feld Motor Sports–the same folks that own the Supercross series–the MEC has all of the backing it needs to remain successful. Here’s why.
(1) The Monster Energy Cup can be a big pay day. The winner walks away with a cool $100,000 for taking the overall. Win all three main events, like Ryan Villopoto did in 2011, and a racer gets paid a cool $1 million. Even those who qualify for the main event receive a nice chunk of change.
(2) It’s a great opportunity for racers to knock off the ring rust of Supercross after spending the previous five months focused on motocross. The MEC isn’t a traditional Supercross layout, per se, but it’s close enough.
(3) The MEC is conveniently run around the time that race teams are deep into Supercross testing. Many teams have their riders try new settings, because no amount of practice laps can replicate a race situation.
(4) For all the reasons mentioned above, the MEC brings out many of the best and brightest Supercross racers. In turn, lots of people flock to Sam Boyd Stadium like the swallows to Capistrano. Not only that, but we’re talking about Sin City, here. There’s no need to explain any further.
The very first Monster Energy Cup was dominated by Monster’s own Ryan Villopoto. RV was on a roll, having won the 2011 Supercross title, followed by the National crown. It was written in the stars that Villopoto would burn the field en route to a $1 million pay day. He cleared the competition by over five seconds in all three mains. No one, not even Ryan Dungey, could stick to Villopoto’s Kawasaki rear fender.
Villopoto’s trifecta was big news, but there were other happenings, too. Ryan Dungey made his debut on the Red Bull KTM team. He finished second overall, but looked tentative on the Austrian machine. Ben Townley finished second in the opening main while racing on a specially made Pro Circuit Kawasaki KX450F. Brett Metcalfe was riding for Rockstar Makita factory Suzuki and went 4-3-3 for third overall. And Eli Tomac, then with Geico Honda and a full-time 250 rider, jumped up to a 450 and went 5-4-10.
Take a look back at the 2011 Monster Energy Cup through the following images.
How many of these riders can you name? Thanks to the AMA numbering system it should be pretty easy. Marvin Musquin (125), Broc Tickle (20), Nick Wey (27), Ben Townley (101), Justin Brayton (10), Ryan Villopoto (2), Brett Metcalfe (24), Ryan Dungey (5), Jake Weimer (32), Eli Tomac (19) and Kyle Partridge (76) rocket toward the first turn.
Brett Metcalfe was on a good run five years ago. Then a freak practice crash kept him out of racing and off the radar. These days, Metty is racing the Canadian Nationals. At the MEC in 2011, Brett went 4-3-3 for third overall.