Time always has its way with us and it is hard to believe that it has been six years since the inaugural Monster Energy Cup (MEC) in fabulous Las Vegas. The event blasted onto the scene in 2011, offering one million dollars to anyone who could win all three mains. Four-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto took the challenge and became the sport’s million-dollar man.
In addition, it seems like only yesterday when the Supercross world became electric during those final laps of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross Championship last May in Sam Boyd Stadium. Meanwhile, the summer has come and gone. As you glance over at your calendar, you will notice that there are only 25 days remaining until October 14. That’s right, it’s time to do it again!
The anticipation for the 7th running of the only Supercross race for one million dollars is reaching a fever pitch for many reasons. For starters, there is a imminent force in Eli Tomac, who is likely salivating at the chance to not only win the MEC again, but this time take home the grand prize.
There are three 10-lap main events. Pressure? You bet. if he gets a bad start in that all-important first gate drop, the million goes away. Ah, but what if he gets the holeshot and wins the first main event? Things will get very, very exciting for the Monster Energy Kawasaki racer who won nine 450SX main events in 2017. What a way to garner revenge for narrowly losing the title, capturing the million!
Marvin Musquin is going to have something to say about it. The Frenchman won two 450SX main events in 2017 and six straight motos in the Pro Motocross Championship this summer. The talented Mr. Musquin has the goods to get the job done and win this thing. Many regard Musquin as a technical racer, but you have to remember that he showed the world that he has outdoor skills in a major way. With this year’s Track Map displaying the most intense hybrid designs in the event’s history, Musquin is poised to win the biggest race of his career.
What about the man who won the last 450SX main event of 2017? Jason Anderson knows how to win races and will be hungry to do just that on October 14. Rewind back to 2015 where, for all intents and purposes, Anderson would have been the overall winner, but he forgot the Joker Lane. As fast as Jason has been in 2017, we may not have witnessed his peak just yet. Also, don’t forget that, at the 2015 MEC, Anderson won a Toyota truck by pulling all three holeshots. So, if you are an “El Hombre” fan, start getting stoked for MEC right about…NOW.
Enter 2016 MXGP Champion Tim Gajser. Finally healthy for the event, he is a definite wild card to not only race strong, but also serve as a bona fide contender for the win. Notorious for his scrubbing abilities, Gajser will have ample opportunity to prove to the world that he is fast on the outdoor MXGP tracks, but also just as lethal in the majestic stadiums of America.
If we go back in time to 1999, when this race was called the US Open, there was a story that has come full circle in a way as the 2017 MEC approaches. Jeff Emig lost his factory Kawasaki ride in the summer of 1998 and came into the 1999 US Open aboard a privateer Yamaha. Emig won the race and $100,000 that night. This year, an entry jumped off of the sheet with the name of Justin Barcia. The 2012 Monster Energy Cup Champion will be racing on a privateer Honda and will be trying to become the first two-time winner.
In the six-year history of this race, we have seen some of the wildest moments of all-time and it’s coming. There isn’t anything that compares to turning the lights down in the stadium with everyone screaming.
It’s a long time between May 7 and October 14 and people are hungry for Supercross. It makes that moment so much more exhilarating and, when the music begins to pound with the fireworks ringing in your ears, the goosebumps creep up your arms.
For a fan, it doesn’t get any better. For the racers, the quest for one million dollars is the ultimate gamble.