Ryan Villopoto put his Kawasaki on the podium enough times this year to win both the AMA Supercross and Motocross titles, while Ryan Dungey struggled through the tail end of the season, unable to retain his 2010 No. 1 plate.
Once the outdoor season ends, the teams and riders start negotiating for the upcoming season to decide what team they’ll be riding for. The contract negotiations usually start right after the last race and continue for a few months. Rumors run rampant over the internet about who will be riding what bike, and what team they will be riding for.
Most of these rumors were put to rest at last weekend’s Monster Energy Cup supercross race at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. That’s where many teams debuted their new riders and sponsors. Not all riders are invited to this event, but the ones that do show up have a chance to win the big cash prize.
In past years, this race was held at the MGM Casino in Las Vegas and had a $1 million purse that was split between all the winners. This year, Monster Energy stepped up and moved the venue to the Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Monster renamed the event the Monster Energy Cup and offered a million dollar purse to the winner of the 3 main races of the event.
I was fortunate enough to have some of my industry friends invite me to the event this year, and I was thrilled to go. Many of the riders have changed teams, and some teams have been reduced to just a couple of riders this year. Ryan Villopoto is staying with team Kawasaki, while Ryan Dungey has left Suzuki and joined team KTM. James Stewart didn’t compete in the event this year because he has yet to sign with a team, but the word is circulating that he may be riding a Yamaha for Joe Gibbs Racing.
The event was every bit as exciting as I anticipated. Ryan Villopoto managed to pull off three great starts and win every race in which he competed. He was blistering fast, edging out the competition and walking away with the $1 million purse. That’s the largest cash prize ever offered for racing a dirt bike. In fact, the million-dollar prize was only available to any rider to could pull of a triple win, a fete that was thought to be nearly impossible.
Meanwhile, Ryan Dungey looked very comfortable on his new KTM, finishing second and taking home a $45,000 prize, while Brett Metcalf rode his Suzuki motorcycle fast enough to warrant a $20,000 third-place win.
Just a few months until the 2012 Supercross season begins and this Monster event only whet my appetite!