Welcome to the Racer X Race Day Feed, your one-stop shop for the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas, NV. We’ll be updating this post with news, notes, and results from today's races, so be sure to keep checking back throughout the day. You can also follow Racer X on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to stay up on all the action.
(Note: All updates will run top to bottom, starting with the morning report and going through the qualifying races. So, make sure to scroll down for the latest.)
Last night the track crew was working late to tweak and make improvements to the track. Press day was yesterday and many were complaining that the transitions were harsh, especially the transition between the elevated start grid and the stadium floor—Justin Barcia found that out with a get off on the first gate drop. The transition from the start still has some bite to it and with the added metal grid, the riders will definitely have something they’re not normally used to.
This is the first year that the Joker Lane is a timing advantage. Expect to see riders take it early tonight, but remember they must complete a lap before they’re able to use it. As always there is definite strategy to when to take the Joker Lane and more than one Monster Cup winner has been determined by the lack of taking it.
Tim Gajser is making his supercross debut tonight, something he’s been working towards for a long time growing up, plus he’s been injured the past two years. With Ken Roczen sidelined and Tim already an HRC Honda MXGP rider in Europe, he was a perfect fill in for the team. With Cole Seely sidelined from recovering from having hardware removed from his hand, Christian Craig is again stepping up to the 450 for the weekend and is running his 2018 number 32. Many other riders are wearing their new numbers as well including: Freddy Noren (#37), Jordon Smith (#45), Benny Bloss (#60), Tyler Bowers (#69), Alex Ray (#91), and Dakota Tedder (#90).
Cup Class Qualifying
The fast line coming back into the stadium appears to be triple, triple, triple, double. Gajser tried some different variations throughout the session and on the last lap of the untimed qualifying he had a good get off trying to go triple, double, double, quad. His hand came off on the second double section and he went down. He got up pretty quickly and seemed to be ok.
In the second session Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin were swapping spots on top of the leader board with Musquin leading most of it around one minute mark. On the last lap Tomac laid down a heater and was the first to dip into the 59’s until Dean Wilson came around on his last lap and nudged into the top spot coming in at less than a tenth of a second faster than Tomac. Dean has a sneaky line through the sand section that no one else is doing, he's known for being creative.
Others picked up on Wilson's fast line through the sand. There's a roller at the end of the sand that throws the riders into the face of the next double. Instead of slapping into the face of the double they're using the roller as a lip and launching over the face of the double and scrubbing the next one. Tomac was fastest in this one, dipping under one minute this time.
Your top ten overall in qualifying: Wilson, Tomac, Musquin, Anderson, Tickle, Gajser, Bogle, Bloss.
Cup Class main event ONE
Off the start Tomac and Musquin had two mini-holeshots (one each their side of the gate before the chalk line). Anderson took the inside of Tomac and took the first holeshot of the night. Marvin was right next to Anderson on the inside off the finish, but Anderson willed to the front and hung onto it. Right after that, going into Monster Alley Musquin got on the gas and took the lead.
One the first lap Musquin made a mistake in the rhythm and Anderson took the lead back. In the following corner Tomac block passed Anderson and took the lead. Tomac took the joker lane immediately followed by Musquin and a few others; Anderson did not.
On the following lap Justin Bogle came together with Justin Hoeft and crashed, knocking himself out for over 20 seconds. The race was red flagged. He would be assisted to his feet a few minutes later everyone else went back to the gate for a full restart.
On the second gate drop for main event one, Tomac took the holeshot. Musquin made up a bunch of time in the rhythm after the sand and took the lead through Monster Alley. Tomac block passed him back two turns later. Marvin had the inside on the next rhythm and re-took the lead.
Tomac took the joker lane the first lap followed by Anderson and Gajser and Wilson. Musquin who did not take the Joker Lane and moved back to fifth. On the second lap Musquin did take it and jumped back to second ahead of Anderson and was right back on the rear wheel of Tomac.
Later that lap Eli made a mistake and Musquin took the lead. On the following lap coming back into the stadium, Tomac went down hard. He got wheel spin coming out of the corner, got a sideways and high-sided, slamming into the hard-packed Sam Boyd Stadium dirt. He jumped up immediately to get out of the way avoiding being hit by the hard charging Anderson behind him.
With three laps to go Tim Gajser went down hard going into the same rhythm section as Bogle. He was down for about a lap before being helped off the track by the Alpinestars Mobile Medical Crew. Musquin took Main Event One making him the only one at a shot at the million dollars.
Super-Mini Race One
Preston Kilroy took the holeshot off the start with three other riders going down between the first jump and the finish line jump. They all got up quickly and continued. In the rhythm after the sand Jet Reynolds took the lead and started stretching it out quickly. Talon Hawkins went down in the following rhythm mid-pack. He appeared to be in pain, but got back on the track the following lap.
While out front by himself, Reynolds jumped off the track while leading the lead back to Kilroy.
Then Matt LeBlanc came through the pack and then passed Kilroy at the end of the rhythm coming back into the stadium. Reynolds had a good run through there as well and snuck in for second behind LeBlanc in the following corner.
LeBlanc took the lead in the rhythm with three to go and then Reynolds stole second back before the corner from Kilroy.
Outside the stadium Reynolds passed Leblanc and pulled a small lead. LeBlanc was right there the rest of the race, but not close enough to make the move. Reynolds, Leblanc, Kilroy your top three.
Amateur All-Star Race One
There was a crash on the left gate in the first turn that include Mitchell Falk and another rider. Seth Hammaker took the holeshot from the right gate, the gate that has claimed every holeshot tonight. Lance Kobusch was second with Jo Shimoda third.
On the last corner on the first lap Kobusch washed his front end and slid back to fourth. Hammaker re-gained the lead followed by Shimoda in second and Pierce Brown in third. Kobusch tried to make a run for the front, but from there everyone spaced out and the order stayed the same to the checkered flag.
Cup Class Main Event Two
Hayes went down hard on the right gate—he got up holding his arm and did not continue. Barcia had the jump on the right gate, but Musquin took it from in him the following corner. Tickle was first from the left gate and he and Musquin raced down the straight to the chalk. Musquin just nudged Tickle to take the second holeshot of the Cup Class. Anderson made a move on Tickle for second.
The following lap Musquin, Anderson, Tickle, Smith, Wilson took the Joker Lane pushing Barcia back. The next lap Barcia took the Joker and moved himself back into fifth.
With six laps to go it was Musquin, Anderson, Tickle, Smith, Barcia as the top five. Musquin was solid out front with Anderson about a second behind most of the race.
With two to go Anderson cased a rhythm hard and he had to roll a few jumps before he got going again. From there, he didn’t attack the track the way he usuall does--settling for second. Back in eighth Benny Bloss and Tyler Bowers were battling with Bowers was trying to make a move, but he couldn’t get it done in this one.
Musquin, Anderson and Tickle on the podium. Standard silent, solid ride from Tickle. Musquin's hopes of $1 million dollars tonight are still alive, but so are Anderson's hopes at $100K if he can upset him for the overall. This next race should be interesting.
Super-Mini Race Two
On the left gate Crockett Myers went down and was done for the night. Matt LeBlanc took the holeshot (from the right) and pulled a small lead early. On the second lap, outside the stadium his front wheel edged over the outside of the berm and tangled with a tough block. He was briefly stuck under his bike before he could get going again.
With LeBlanc down, it allowed Kilroy to take lead. Then Parker Earl went down off the side of the track in the rhythm. The following lap, Kilroy crashed at the end of the rhythm and was in a bad spot with the pack coming at him. Reynolds who was making up a bunch of time, nearly hit him in fourth. A half a lap after that, Mark Stone crashed hard in the rhythm coming back into the stadium. The red cross flag came out and stayed out for two to three laps tightening the pack up. There was about a five-way battle for the lead from there.
The race was crazy. Riders nearly collided or cross jumped each other with “oh’s and ah’s” filling the stadium air. Jace Kessler found himself in the lead. Reynolds was looking good coming through the pack and then washed front in the corner before the finish while in third.
With two turns to go, Reynolds made a pass for second and got close to Kessler for the lead, but kept it clean going into the final corner. Then Reynolds charged up next to him and it was intense as they drag raced to the finish. In a nearly photo finish, Kessler inched him by .020 seconds.
Because Kessler had only finished 12th in the first race, Reynolds took the overall with a 1-2.
Amateur All-Star Race Two
Other than crashes, there weren’t any passes up front in this one. Hammaker took the first holeshot of the night from the left with Pierce Brown close behind. Kobusch and Enzo Lopes were mid-pack and collided in a rhythm on the second lap. Kobusch got the bad end of it slamming into the face of the next jump. Lopes got up pretty quickly, but Kobusch slid off the slid of the track and out of view and would not return. With three to go Falk crashed on his own in third, sliding back to seventh.
Cup Class Main Event THREE
With the pressure on to get the win and the million dollars, Musquin got a huge holeshot from the left gate and took off. Anderson was mid-pack on the right gate and jumped his way into second by tripling out of the first rhythm before the lanes came together. At the end of lap two it was Musquin, Anderson, Wilson, Tickle Barcia; all them took the Joker Lane on lap two.
Musquin rode well in the first two races, but was even better in the third. He pulled a two-second lead by the end of the third lap. Wilson got by Tickle early somewhere, but all eyes were on Musquin. Barcia was riding in a solid fifth on his privateer Honda.
With five laps to go Musquin stretched his lead to 3.5 seconds. It was all Musquin’s to win and to lose. On the final lap, Musquin shook his head in excitement so hard that he nearly lost it with one turn to go. Musquin became only the second rider to ever win the million dollars at the Monster Energy Cup (and he’s a Red Bull athlete I might add).