2014 Monster Energy Cup
Competing in his first Monster Energy Cup, factory Honda rider Trey Canard rode his CRF450R to victory in the first two main events, leading every lap after getting the hole shot in each.
Canard had to settle for eighth place in the third main event, missing out on the truck that was up for grabs to any rider able to get the holeshot in all three events and the $1 million prize for the rider that could have won all three mains. This finish put Canard in third place overall in the Cup competition.
The overall winner of the Monster Energy Cup was Davi Millsaps on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. Millsaps claimed the $100,000 top prize for the evening. Honda rider, Eli Tomac finished second overall.
Canard’s overall performance was strong throughout as he set the third-quickest time in qualifying practice (1:10.626), and his 1:10.409 in the first main event was the fastest lap of the race.
He had the third-quickest time (1:10.069) in his win in the second main event, and although he had his worst result in the third main event, he set the fastest time of any rider in the event, at 1:09.509 on lap two.
Canard summed things up after the event, saying “I wanted to win this race. I wanted to win all the races tonight, and I was so close. I was feeling really good, which is probably why I crashed in that last race; maybe I needed to back it down a little for a couple laps.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know if I came into that cushion too hot, but it put me on the ground quick. I gathered it up and was trying to get going again when I went down with Malcolm [Stewart]. But man, it was still such a great night, and I’m grateful to be leaving healthy.
“There was a lot on the line but I had already told myself that if I won the money I wasn’t going to keep it. There’s too much trouble with money elsewhere and I already make enough, so I’m just happy to be here. I can’t be too mad with how I rode and how great the bike and team are working. I’m hoping to carry the momentum that I’ve gained from the end of motocross and these two race wins into next year and hopefully have a successful 2015 season.”
Honda-supported rider Eli Tomac showed consistent performance finishing fourth in the first main event, improving to third place in the second main and then finishing second in the third main, for second overall.
“We top four were really close, and I was just a little behind them on the start,” Tomac said. “It was a little bit of a bummer not to battle for the lead, but I felt like it was a good showing. We’ve made some good changes on our motorcycle, and it’s working awesome. I can’t wait to get into supercross mode.”
Team Honda manager Dan Betley commented on the event’s outcome as the first chance to evaluate the factory 2015 CRF450R in competition.
“We went into this race in part with the idea of seeing where we are compared to the competition, even though not all of the players that we’ll face next year were at the race,” said Betley. “Obviously, we wanted to do well, and it would’ve been great to win, but in the big picture, we wanted to see what we need to do to improve the bike and equipment.”
Betley said he was ecstatic with Canard’s performance but he was even more pleased with the direction of the team: “This reflects the progress we’ve made in testing, and the staff changes and restructuring. We’ve had an inflow of engineering staff and support from Japan, which really helps us from an R&D aspect. It also goes a long way with the riders, knowing that the support is there to address any issues, so we’re excited to move forward and advance the program even further.”
As for next steps, Betley’s plans are clear: “Now we’ll go back and evaluate the race, take everybody’s comments into account, and continue the testing process, which never stops. We’ll keep working on the bike and hopefully the riders will continue to fine-tune their skills, and we’ll march toward Anaheim 1. I’m really looking forward to it, and I think it’s going to be a great 2015 season with our guys.”
For a recap, visit 2014 Monster Energy Kawasaki Results.