The last two weekends we have seen a pair of drastically different races over here in the USA. The Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas and then the Red Bull Straight Rhythm in Southern California were both crazy events with unexpected happenings in both and I suppose, cynicism aside, that should be enough for us, the dirt bike racing fan.
But let’s leave that for someone else who wants to run the pom-poms for both events, as I’m here to compare and contrast them. Let’s break both races down in some very important categories that are completely irrelevant and at my choosing.
Marv’s Legacy: As you know, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin won both events so he’s pretty stoked on his off-season so far. But what race means more to him? Well, the MEC was three ten lappers that he won pretty easily while the RBSR was three 45-second runs which he only needed two of to win. This one is pretty easy, right? The Monster Cup is something that will stand out on his resume and he beat Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac at that. The Straight Rhythm featured less competition and he was the heavy favorite going in so it’s probably not something he’ll cherish forever. EDGE: MONSTER CUP
Cash Won: Well, Musquin won one million dollars at the MEC by sweeping all three mains which is awesome. At the RBSR it was $25K for two forty-ish second runs. Both great money if you can get it as I like to call it, Lewis Phillips money. Anyways, breaking it all down one million is quite a bit more than 25K. Musquin made $33,333 each minute he was on the track at MEC and $312.50 a second he was on the track at RBSR. Either way, he didn’t sweat that much. EDGE: MONSTER CUP
Support Classes: At the MEC there was a Supermini and Amateur All-Star class on 250F’s and at Straight Rhythm it was a 250F class along with a two-stroke class that featured guys named Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto and Mike Brown. Although the second Supermini class provided some great thrills as the favorite Jett Reynolds crashed a couple of times and worked through the pack, there is no doubt that the two-stroke class, won by Gared Steinke and featuring a made up character named Ronnie Mac, was THE show of the two races. It was kooky, it was weird and it probably was a bit much, but everyone loved it. EDGE: STRAIGHT RHYTHM
Depth: Well yeah, as I just explained Chad Reed and Ryan Villopoto were at SR but they weren’t the main class and in fact, Reed went out with injury the day before competition. The MEC wasn’t exactly stacked but with Jason Anderson, Dean Wilson, Justin Barcia, Tim Gajser and Tomac, the Cup race in Vegas featured way bigger names. No offence to Josh Hansen who Musquin beat and rode well at SR, but most were more interested in the two-stroke race at SR than the main class. EDGE: MONSTER CUP
Vibe: This is pretty subjective I know, but the MEC was just another supercross to many. In fact, with the new SX rule changes in ‘18, it will be just another supercross. The Monster guys hate to hear that because they want to make this anything but an eighteenth supercross, but it is just that with all the trucks there, scheduled signings for riders and a big stadium. The Red Bull event had riders out of box vans and trucks, so everyone was hanging out. No one was that stressed and fans could just mingle with some serious stars. EDGE: STRAIGHT RHYTHM
What the Hell Moment: The Red Bull event had a guy in overalls on a 1998 CR250 who pounded beer and talked crap to Reed and Villopoto on social media for weeks. This just in: He was actually very fast in losing in the final to a guy nicknamed Stank Dog. Yes, you read all of that correctly. At the MEC, things were played a bit straighter but there was still complete crash-outs by Eli Tomac, Tim Gajser and Justin Bogle all within the span of about fifteen minutes. Some of the best riders in the world decided that this “for fun” race was to be taken very seriously. EDGE: STRAIGHT RHYTHM
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Red Bull Content Pool/Chris Tedesco