The Monster Energy Cup typically marks the last race of 2015 for most riders. Although, it’s really more a look at 2016 than anything, as most use the race to test as they prepare for their upcoming “boot camps”. Sure, this race is fun and typically competitive, but not necessarily a gauge for the upcoming season. You never know what you’re going to get, as most riders are returning from vacation, or in the case of Justin Barcia, the Motocross of Nations, and aren’t on top of their game. Tonight was different, as the same riders we thought would do well in 2015, and 2016 for that matter—Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey—were at the top of the leaderboard when all was said and done.
For as turbulent as his first season with Jimmy John’s/Soaring Eagle/RCH Suzuki was, Ken Roczen has been able to brush it all aside and perform when needed (see Ironman) when not relegated by injury. Roczen underwent back surgery following the season and said it sidelined him about five weeks. He crammed in some testing before these two off-season races—Red Bull Straight Rhythm and Monster Energy Cup—and looked like the Roczen we saw at the beginning of 2015, finishing runner-up last week and winning tonight.
“I felt great out there,” he said. “The bike felt good, but we only had a week and a half to really go through a lot of testing. We tried to squeeze everything in, but it worked out.”
After an "off" qualifying session, defending champion Davi Millsaps rebounded for a solid night. Simon Cudby James Stewart went down in the first race and pulled out of the final two races with a wrist injury. Simon Cudby Ryan Dungey and Jason Anderson were solid all night. Simon Cudby
Ryan Dungey didn’t have anything to prove at this race, or the week prior, after winning both the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships this year. But Dungey, ever the competitor, always strives for the best when he lines up. Tonight was no different, as Dungey, after qualifying thirteenth, was in contention all night and finished second behind Roczen.
“There is a lot more improvements to make,” he said. “I don’t think any of us come into this race 100 percent peaking.”
Dungey knows what it’s like to miss Joker Lane, as he missed it himself in 2013, so he can relate to Jason Anderson. The Rockstar Energy Husky rider was on fire all night, garnering three straight holeshots to win a brand-new Toyota Tundra for his efforts. Anderson won the first race, but forgot to take Joker Lane and was penalized five spots and was awarded sixth. He won the second race, this time taking Joke Lane, and grabbed the lead in the third moto as well, but made an early mistake and settled for third.
“I was gonna hit the joker lane but then I got........,” Anderson joked on Twitter.
The Joker Lane cost Jason Anderson, who won the second race. Cudby Justin Barcia finished fourth overall. Cudby Ken Roczen won the Monster Energy Cup for the first time. Cudby
Honda HRC’s Trey Canard, who nearly won the Monster Million a year ago, was fast all night. He led early in the first moto, but washed out in the corner following the start on the first lap. He finished second in the second race, and was in contention in the final race before a scary crash where nearly took out the mechanics tower. Luckily Canard was okay and finished the race.
James Stewart, riding a wave of confidence after his win at Red Bull Straight Rhythm last week, crashed in the same spot as Canard in the first moto and had to pull out of the final two motos with a wrist injury. The injury is not considered serious at this time. We will have more information later in the week.
Defending champion Davi Millsaps wasn't spectacular in qualifying—just making the cut in eighteenth—but was solid in the main, going 3-6-6 for fifth overall. Justin Barcia, in his first race since the Motocross of Nations, put in a consistent 5-3-4 night for fourth overall.
Monster Energy Cup Class Overall Results
- Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki (1-4-1)
- Ryan Dungey, Tallahassee, Fla., KTM (2-5-2)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna (6-1-3)
- Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (5-3-4)
- Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., KTM (3-6-6)
- Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda (10-2-14)
- Justin Brayton, Mint Hill, N.C., KTM (11-7-12)
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Suzuki (4-9-18)
- Christian Craig, Plymouth, Minn., Honda (14-14-5)
- Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha (9-16-8)
Amateur All-Star Class Overall Results
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (1-1)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2)
- Mitchell Harrison, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha (5-3)
- Josh Osby, Valparaiso, Ind., KTM (3-5)
- Tristan Charboneau, Tenino, Wash., Honda (4-6)
- Bradley Taft, Nixa, Mo., Yamaha (10-4)
- Sean Cantrell, Newbury Park, Calif., KTM (6-8)
- Max Markolf, Fort Mill, S.C, KTM (8-9)
- Dylan Merriam, Corona, Calif., KTM (12-10)
- Mitchell Falk, Costa Mesa, Calif., KTM (17-7)
Supermini Class Overall Results
- Lance Kobusch, New Florence, Mo., Kawasaki (1-1)
- Max Miller, Springfield, Ore., KTM (3-2)
- Joshua Varize, Perris, Calif., KTM (5-3)
- Jo Shimoda, Winchester, Calif., KTM (4-6)
- Jesse Flock, Adair, Okla., KTM (6-9)
- Chase Fasnacht, Port St. Lucie, Fla., Kawasaki (9-8)
- Austin Black, Tualatin, Ore., KTM (2-15)
- Conner Mullennix, Lakeside, Calif., KTM (14-4)
- Marcus Phelps, Cairo, Ga., KTM (7-12)
- Hannah Hodges, Deland, Fla., Kawasaki (13-7)