As Fall weather finally descends on the most of country, AMA Supercross breaks up the off-season with the ninth running of the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., Saturday October 19.
And with a $1 million payday on the line for any rider who can sweep Victory Lane in three Main Events, there is plenty on the line. In eight previous races, three riders have performed the feat. Ryan Villopoto pocketed the bonus in the inaugural running in 2011. The last two editions of this race have also featured perfection with Marvin Musquin sweeping in 2017 and Eli Tomac in 2018.
It will be a little different in 2019, however; and perhaps just a little more difficult. This year the three races will be run on three different versions of the track. Two of the Mains will start inside the stadium with a hard turn to the right in one race and a longer, sweeping turn to the left requiring the riders to transverse the track in two directions.
The third Main will start outside of the stadium with a left hand turn leading onto a long, fast straightaway that culminates in a hairpin rising almost to the upper deck.
In order to accommodate the various layouts, several of the jumps and turns are oddly configured for compromise and riders are going to have to learn essentially two completely different tracks.
If that were not enough, there will be a Joker Lane that has to be navigated during the event. In 2013, missing the Joker Lane in the first Main cost Ryan Dungey a shot at the million.
While several of the top names will skip this weekend to recuperate from a grueling outdoor Motocross season, there will be plenty of star power to watch. Tomac is defending his Monster Cup title from last year and as the three-time reigning Motocross champion, he is looking to ice the cake.
Adam Cianciarulo will make his 450 debut this week after winning the 250 Motocross title last year.
Making this a head-to-head-to-head matchup for champions, Tim Gajser looks to prove that his MXGP championship matches up with the American titles.
The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.
For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.
Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.
One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.
Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.
It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.
Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.
Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.
Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.
Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.
Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.
Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.
Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.
Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.
The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.