It was a strange night of racing at the third edition of the Monster Energy Cup, as we saw some peculiar stuff take place on-track. Perhaps the full moon influenced the results, and racing? But, despite the odd things that we saw, the action was faultless, as there were some great battles throughout the night.
James Stewart vs. Ryan Villopoto – Main Event Two
James Stewart (1st)
Ryan Villopoto (21st)
In recent years, we have accepted the fact that James Stewart is no longer the fastest man on the planet. However, at the Monster Energy Cup this past weekend, James proved that he is slowly inching closer to where he once was; he had no problems matching the pace of an on-form Ryan Villopoto. Interestingly, most thought that the battle that they had in the second main event was the best race that they have seen this decade! It really was great.
Overall, it looks like James Stewart was the faster rider, as he had some very quick lap times. If you have watched the race, you will notice that Ryan Villopoto made a handful of little mistakes, before he had that huge get-off on the final lap. It was quite peculiar, as Ryan rarely makes that many errors; it shows just how much they were forcing the issue. In particular, his mistake on the ‘Amsoil Arch’ could have really been disastrous. It was in this race that James started jumping over the tabletop in the section following turn one; hence why he dropped into the one-minute second seven range on lap three.
James Stewart vs. Ryan Dungey – Main Event Three:
James Stewart (1st)
Ryan Dungey (2nd)
Interestingly, the ‘Joker Lane’ really influenced the final main event on Saturday night. If you look at the lap times of the top two, it looks like they were having a great battle for the lead. However they did not meet until the final lap, because they took the lane at different points. If you look at the chart, it is clear that Dungey entered the unique section on lap six, whereas Stewart waited until the final lap, which seemed to be the popular option throughout the night. It is really quite interesting to see that on the laps that they took it, their times were very similar; the section seemingly cost a rider three or four seconds.
When James Stewart exited the ‘Joker Lane’, he was only just ahead of Ryan Dungey. So, I think that this is why Ryan set his fastest lap on lap ten – he was urged on, because he could see his rival right in front of him. James Stewart had the fastest lap of the race, though; his 1:08.366 lap time on lap four was really quite impressive. It proves that James was a deserving winner. If he can take this speed into Anaheim 1, the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series will be quite amazing.
Words by Lewis Phillips