The Monster Energy Cup this past weekend was spectacular, it really was. In my opinion, it was the greatest edition thus far, as we saw some strange things that were quite unique. Thankfully, there was a great lineup of riders this year; most of the top guys elected to chase the million-dollar prize. So, which riders had a good day? Who had a bad time of it? Well, lets take a look at that in this new feature.
James Stewart: Honestly, I did not expect James Stewart to win the Monster Energy Cup; he was certainly a bit of a surprise. It seemed like no one was talking about him as a contender, heading in. Although he did get a bit lucky (an 8-1-1 scorecard would not typically secure an overall victory), there is no doubting the fact that he was on (if not) the fastest on the night. Some of the scrubs, and passes that he did were breathtaking, and reminiscent of ‘Bubba’. I could not believe it when he dived inside of RV heading out of the stadium, it was a brilliant pass – I am sure it shocked Villopoto too!
Red Bull: Everywhere you look at the Monster Energy Cup, you see the Monster Energy logo. It is on everything, pretty much. It is obvious that the event means a lot to Monster, so I am sure that they would like to see one of their guys on the top step, to assert their dominance. Honestly, it was amusing to see three Red Bull riders stood on the podium, at the end of the night. Obviously, it was great for the energy drink that has been overshadowed by Monster Energy a lot in recent years.
Ken Roczen: I expected Ken Roczen to hover around the top five, heading into the event – I certainly did not think that he would be leading the overall classification going into the final main event! The German made a statement this past weekend; he will be a force to be reckoned with on the 450f – he is not going to need to spend some time adjusting to the bigger bike when the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series begins in January. Overall, he was a bit unlucky to finish third overall; he made a poor choice when deciding when to take the ‘Joker Lane’ in the closing stages of the third main.
Dean Wilson: Recently, Dean Wilson has had a testing time of it. In total, he has completed just over ten races in two years. Now, he finally seems to be on the right track; he used the Monster Energy Cup to get accustomed to racing again, and see where he is in comparison to everyone else. Well, he is looking pretty good, already! Although a fall in the opening main event hindered his overall finish, a fifth and a sixth in the final two races proved that Dean has the speed needed, still. At the Monster Energy Cup, he was on a 450f, but he will be on the smaller 250f full-time in 2014.
Cole Seely: If you start scrolling through the overall results from the Monster Energy Cup, Cole Seely is certainly the first rider that is a genuine surprise. Cole had a great ride, but it went unnoticed, as he was overshadowed by the crazy action that went on up front! Like Wilson, Cole jumped up to the 450f for the unique event. However, we all know that he is capable on the bigger bike, as he proved that he could run up front in his brief stint as a fill-in on factory Honda in 2012. Seely recorded a thirteenth, seventh and a fifth in the three mains, so he was a bit lucky to finish sixth. But, it was a great performance, nonetheless.
Ryan Villopoto: I did not know whether to put Ryan Villopoto in this category or not, as there are a lot of positives that he can extract from his performance – he is obviously still the fastest guy out there. However, the fact that he crashed out made it a bad weekend, hence why he has fallen under this heading. Fortunately, it looks like Ryan did not sustain an injury in the vicious fall, so he was very lucky.
Justin Barcia: Overall, the 2013 Monster Energy Cup was not great for Justin Barcia. Justin was not slow, evidently. However, his speed did not translate into results, unfortunately. In the second main event he finished second, which was the highlight of the weekend for him, as he kept the leaders in sight for the duration. Like I said, his speed was good. Following the second race, he was just one point down on the leader, Ken Roczen. However, any hopes that he may have had of becoming a repeat winner went up in smoke, when he pulled out of the third main event, because he could not start his factory Honda following a fall.
Zach Osborne: Zach Osborne did not have a bad weekend – it was awful. I am sure that he wishes that he had just stayed at home, as a 21-20-20 scorecard was not a good debut with the number sixteen! In the end, crashes and DNF’s left him right at the back of the field. I have tried looking for a positive that he can take from his performance, but the only thing that I can come up with is that he started sixth in the second main event. However, he dropped to the very back of the field (following a crash) within a lap in that one!
Jake Weimer: I came very close to putting Jake Weimer in the positive category, honestly, as his third in moto one was really quite impressive. However, a twenty-second and a nineteenth in the final two main events really put a downer on his day. Although the overall result was not what he would have expected, I am sure that he is going home happy, as the third in the opening main event was his best finish this year. It is obvious that Weimer has the speed to contend – he has not been able to put it together this year, though. Jake ran into that problem again at the Monster Energy Cup, but at least he shined through the first ten laps.
Words by Lewis Phillips