Monster Energy AMA Supercross – East Rutherford 2014 | Winners & Losers
The 23-year pent-up demand for Monster Energy AMA Supercross racing in the New York metropolitan area ensured a record-setting attendance (announced 62,217) Saturday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, even though you would have been hard pressed to find anyone betting against Ryan Villopoto wrapping up his 4th consecutive title. This didn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm at the penultimate race of the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season, even if the skies threatened to. Let’s see how it played out.
Ryan Villopoto. Monster Energy Kawasaki. It was inevitable. As much as race fans wanted to see a close battle all the way to Las Vegas, Ryan Villopoto put in the donkey work early in the season, leaving very little room for his challengers to get close enough to dethrone the reigning Monster Energy Supercross Champ. And while he might have taken it easy and coasted his Kawasaki KX450F to victory with an 18th place finish, Villopoto won it up in style, winning his Heat race, and then pulling a holeshot in the Main and never looking back. “It’s been a long season and it feels so good to wrap up the championship,” said Villopoto. “I knew I just needed to finish to clinch it, but sometimes the easiest and safest way to do that is to just get out front. Without my Monster Energy Kawasaki team and family, I certainly would not be standing here tonight.” The Big Win.
Eli Tomac. GEICO Honda. Getting a good jump off the gate with his CRF450R, Eli Tomac made his way into 2nd behind Villopoto by the 5th lap, and would hold the position all the way to the checkers, equaling his best finish of the season. “We’re getting closer and closer to that No. 1 spot,” Tomac said. “I’m always satisfied to get on the podium, but, of course, you want the win. Hopefully, we’ll finish strong next weekend and then get ready for outdoors.” Win.
Justin Hill. RCH Soaring Eagle Suzuki. Great to see Justin Hill finally back on the Monster Energy Supercross podium after a long three years of injuries and rehab. He almost stole the holeshot from Villopoto, and then held second for a quarter of the race before being passed by a fast moving Tomac. Hill kept his RM-Z450 in the last podium position for the remainder of the race. Win.
Justin Barcia. Muscle Milk Honda. An 11th place start left Justin Barcia battling most of the race with the KTM boys – who also got bad starts – and provided the only real competition of the night. After chasing and passing Ken Roczen, and then getting passed back, Barcia put on a charge and overtook Roczen again, as well as Ryan Dungey, for a 4th place finish. As well as Barcia was riding, he surely could have added another podium finish to his season, he just needs to get those starts figured out. Win.
James Stewart. Yoshimura Suzuki. The good news is that James Stewart did not do any serious damage to his knee when he twisted it on lap three and ended up pulling out of the race. The bad news is that left Villopoto’s closet competitor out of the mix before things even heated up, so there wasn’t much to watch. However, Stewart’s three-point lead over Ryan Dungey for 2nd in the Monster Energy Supercross Series evaporated and there is little chance he can regain the position, even if he wins in Las Vegas. Lose.
Ryan Dungey. Red Bull KTM. A 10th place start, late-race mistake, and a 6th place finish would have left Dungey in worse shape—points-wise—if Stewart hadn’t DNFed. Dungey leaves East Rutherford with an 11-point lead over Stewart going into the final 2014 Monster Energy Supercross round at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Veags. So, the poor result doesn’t really matter, right? Still, Roger DeCoster can’t be pleased and it doesn’t do much for Dungey’s confidence. Lose.
Ken Roczen. Red Bull KTM. On paper, a 5th place finish isn’t bad for Roczen, and one can’t complain about his 4th place standings in the points race in his rookie Monster Energy Supercross season. Still, the sharp form from earlier in the year has gotten inconsistent and the 12th place start left Roczen having to make up a lot of ground. He’s a two-time FIM MX2 world champion, and better than this. Lose.
And now for the final 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross round at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Photography by Simon Cudby and Jake Klingensmith