2011 Monster Energy Cup
The 2011 Supercross and Motocross Champion Ryan Villopoto took his Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F to a dominating win at the inaugural Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, pocketing a cool $1 million in the process.
To earn the $1 million prize, the highest ever for a single super cross event, Villopoto had to win all three Main Event races, which he did convincingly.
Villopoto grabbed holeshots in the first two Mains, and trailed privateer Mike Alessi on a Suzuki RM-Z450 early in the first lap of the final Main.
However, just after Alessi and Villopoto emerged from Monster Alley after traversing the motocross portion of the MX/SX hybrid track designed by Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael, Villopoto put a clean pass on Alessi and never looked back. He won all three Main events by wide margins and was never challenged.
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, on his first ride for the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, took third in the first Main (behind New Zealander Ben Townley on a Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F), and followed it up with a pair of seconds on his KTM. Dungey battled a bit against Alessi in the third Main before pulling away as Alessi faded to 6th, and 10th overall.
Rounding out the podium was Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Brett Metcalfe. After finishing off the box in fourth in the first Main, he put together a solid pair of 3rds to cement his overall podium status.
Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac (racing a CRF450R for the first time) and Team Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Martin Davalos went to the mat for fourth pace, scoring an equal number of points–19. After two Mains, Tomac had what seemed to be a solid lock on fourth, thanks to a 5th and 4th. The closest rider was Davalos with two 7ths. However, Tomac’s 10th in the final Main coupled with a 5th by Davalos tied them on points, with Davalos getting the win thanks to a superior final Main finish.
Inconsistency ruled the day lower in the standings. Alessi had two 6ths, but a 21st in the second Main pushed him back to 10th overall. Townley’s 2nd in the opening Main was stunning, though he followed it up with a 19th and 20th, for 15th overall.
Perhaps the most frustrated rider of the night was Geico Honda’s Kevin Windham. The vet had looked good in practice and seemed ready to poke his nose around in the front. However, he failed to qualify in the heat or semi, and had to qualify in the LCQ, which he didn’t even win. Finishes of 15th, 14th, and 12th landed him in unlucky 13th overall for the night.
Factory Honda rider Justin Brayton lacked consistency on the CRF450R. A 5th in the second Main shows he has speed on his new mount, yet he could only manage a 13th in the first Main and 18th in the final Main, which added up to 12th overall.
Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Josh Hansen looked strong in practice until a crash in the turn at the end of the long rolling sand straight–a turn that claimed many riders in practice–put a damper on his efforts. Finishing 21st overall (out of 22), he struggled to finishes of 22nd, 17th, and 21st.
2011 Monster Energy Cup Results
(number, name, residence, race 1, race 2, race 3)
1. 2 Ryan Villopoto Seattle, WA, US 1 1 1
2. 5 Ryan Dungey Belle Plain, MN, US 3 2 2
3. 24 Brett Metcalfe Lake Elsinore, CA, US 4 3 3
4. 23 Martin Davalos Cairo, GA, US 7 7 5
5. 19 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO US 5 4 10
6. 11 Kyle Chisolm Valrico, FL, US 9 9 7
7. 27 Nicholas Wey Murrieta, CA,US 14 11 4
8. 108 Jimmy Albertson Ozark, MO, US 11 10 8
9. 32 Jake Weimer Rupert, ID, US 12 6 11
10. 800 Mike Alessi Victorville, CA, US 6 21 6
11. 125 Marvin Musquin Le Reole, FR 8 8 17
12. 10 Justin Brayton Murrieta, CA, US 13 5 18
13. 14 Kevin Windham Centerville, MS, US 15 14 12
14. 38 Chris Blose Phoenix, AZ, US 10 16 15
15. 101 Ben Townley Taupo, NZ 2 19 20
16. 20 Broc Tickle Holly, MI, US 16 18 9
17. 34 Cole Seely Corona, CA, US 21 12 13
18. 76 Kyle Partridge Las Vegas, NV, US 18 15 14
19. 53 Jarred Browne Nuevo, CA, US 17 13 19
20. 72 Nick Paluzzi Riverside, CA, US 20 22 16
21. 100 Josh Hansen Elbert, CO, US 22 17 21
22. 43 Weston Peick Wildomar, CA, US 19 20 22
Photos by Don Williams