Monster Energy Cup Pre-Race Conference
At the pre-race press conference held head Saturday night’s Monster Energy Cup, at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium, Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, Davi Millsaps, Eli Tomac, Trey Canard, Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia, Austin Forkner, Chase Sexton, Hannah Hodges, and Zac Commans discussed the race with the media.
Two-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion Chad Reed will bring a Monster Energy Cup best finish of fourth place to this year’s race and hopes to add this title to his impressive resume.
“I’ve been on vacation for the last couple of months,” said Reed. “For the most part, supercross comes pretty naturally to me. If everything feels good tomorrow, I won’t second guess it and I will be out there on the track to give it a shot.”
Ryan Dungey has finished second at every Monster Energy Cup race since it began in 2011, so the former Monster Energy Supercross Champion does not want to settle for second this year.
“There’s a lot at stake tomorrow,” said Dungey. “It’s not everything, but I want to do good. This track is different than any other track. I was caught up last year in trying to catch Villopoto and missed the joker lane during the first Main Event. It was embarrassing, but it didn’t feel so bad after Villopoto missed it in the second Main Event. I will not be missing it this year.”
Davi Millsaps will make his debut ride for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team after missing the entire 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season.
“We don’t come here to lose,” stated Millsaps. “I would like to win. It’s been a long time since I’ve been behind a starting gate. My biggest expectations are to do my best and see what I need to work on coming in to Anaheim. Coming here on a new time and a new bike, everything has been great so far. The guys at Monster Energy Kawasaki are great and I’m looking forward to tomorrow and to see what we can push for.”
Eli Tomac placed fourth at last year’s race and third the year before. A former 250SX Class Champion, Tomac moved to the 450SX Class this year but injuries kept him sidelined for much of the season.
“I feel good right now,” said Tomac. “For me, I haven’t really had an off season. My body feels good, I feel like I’m in a good racing mode. I’m ready to go out there and do some fighting. Everyone does their own thing and it’s cool because that’s what this race something different.”
Trey Canard returned to racing after missing the first 12 races of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship, but did not make his way to the podium. This will be Canard’s first-ever Monster Energy Cup.
“I’ve never raced the Monster Energy Cup so I’m excited,” said Canard. “I’ve been watching it on TV for the last three years, so it’s fun to be able to be a part of it this time. A million dollars is up for grabs so it is obviously in the back of our minds. The biggest thing is to get good starts and race consistent laps.”
Blake Baggett will debut on a new team, Yoshimura Suzuki, as he transitions from the 250SX Class to the 450SX Class.
“Tomorrow night I am looking to be steady on the bike,” said Baggett. “We’re looking to see where we’re at for the supercross season after this race. I’ve been working on my starts and trying to get my feet wet in the 450SX Class and see where we end up.”
Also racing with a new team and bike tomorrow night is Justin Barcia. The 2012 Monster Energy Cup Champion will be looking to better his last results since winning the championship and taking home the million dollars.
“I wasn’t able to finish the outdoors season, but I am feeling good now,” explained Barcia. “I’m happy with my bike and I am getting more and more comfortable. Winning the Monster Energy Cup in 2012 was awesome. It would have been nice to win the million dollars, but winning is always nice.”
Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner, a two-time Super-Mini Champion, was set to make his Amateur All-Star debut but suffered an injury prior to the event and will not race at tomorrow’s Monster Energy Cup.
“I’ve been dealing with some injuries and haven’t gotten it completely dialed in on the new bike,” said Forkner. “Unfortunately, I have decided to sit the race out and focus on the future. I wish I could be out there racing with everyone but I am excited to watch.”
Chase Sexton, who finished second in the Super-Mini Class last year, has graduated to the Amateur All-Star Class for this year’s Monster Energy Cup and hopes to stay up front with the veterans of the class and fight for a championship.
“Last year I was a little nervous on the track,” said Sexton. “So being bigger on the bike this year, I will be more comfortable. It’s exciting to go out during opening ceremonies and seeing all of the fans cheering. It’s such a great experience for a Super-Mini Class rider.”
Hannah Hodges, the first female ever to race the Monster Energy Cup will test her skills against the top amateurs in the Super-Mini Class.
“I’ve been working hard and I am excited to be here and get good exposure,” said Hodges. “I cannot wait to get the track dialed in. This is my first big race and I am very excited to be the first girl to race it.”
Zac Commans finished second in the Amateur All-Star class at the 2013 Monster Energy Cup and looks to improve on his overall finish by taking home the win this year.
“The experience last year was awesome,” explained Commans. “The Amateur All-Star Class is stacked. You try to avoid chaos in the first Main Event and cause chaos in the second one. I think two consistent Main Events and good starts will get me an overall win this year.”
Also announced at Friday’s press conference was the 2015 Monster Energy Cup date of October 17. Tomorrow only, fans can save $20 by purchasing their 2015 Monster Energy Cup tickets at the Sam Boyd Box Office and fans watching live on FOX Sports 2 will receive a pre-sale discount code.
The 2014 Monster Energy Cup features an all-new track design inspired by 15-time AMA National Champion Ricky Carmichael. The Carmichael-inspired track design will consist of supercross and motocross obstacles unlike any other racetrack design in the world. The Monster Energy Cup track will include a unique split start where 11 riders from each side will blitz down a long straightway to huge 180 degree bowl turns, then converge into one lane.
For Ultimate Motorcycling’s coverage of the track design, visit Monster Energy Cup Track Revealed.
The Monster Energy Cup posts a $250,000 purse with the winner walking away with a $100,000 check, and any rider that wins all three Main Events will take home $1 million.
For more information, visit Monster Energy Cup. To follow the Monster Energy Cup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram log on to www.Facebook.com/VegasMECup; www.Twitter.com/VegasMECup; www.Instagram.com/MonsterEnergyCup.com.
Tickets for the 2014 Monster Energy Cup can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office, UNLVtickets outlets, online at www.UNLVtickets.com, www.MonsterEnergyCup.com, or by phone at (702) 739-FANS. Tickets will be available at the Sam Boyd Stadium Box Office on the day of the event only.
Monster Energy Cup on Television
• LIVE on FOX Sports 2 on Saturday, Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
• FOX Sports 1 will re-air the entire race on Sunday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
• FOX broadcast network offers a 90-minute Monster Energy Cup encore special on Sunday, Oct. 26 following NFL football in most markets, while preceding football in others (check local listings).