Race Report – Monster Energy Cup

By Jordan Powell

Photos by Brendan Lutes

With one-million dollars on the line, the Monster Energy Cup set the stage for an all-out battle royale. The catch: one single rider had to win all three 10-lap mains. So, 40,000 fans packed the bleacher-filled Sam Boyd Stadium to watch the action unfold. When Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto won his heat race in dominating fashion, many were wondering if he was the one that could pull it off. Well, he did. In every single main event, Villopoto had a healthy lead, and pulled off the huge million dollar win in Sin City.

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MAIN 1

When the gates dropped for the first main of the night, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto lead the 21 other riders out of the first turn. Close behind him, though, was Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ben Townley and Suzuki-mounted Mike Alessi. As soon as the riders made it back into the stadium, Villopoto was already starting to pull away from Townley. Behind Alessi, Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey were engaged in an intense battle for fourth, and the two kept that battle going for a couple laps. Finally, the two riders caught up to Alessi with such great speed that Metcalfe had to avoid running into Alessi, and Dungey snuck around the two of them in one corner. As the laps started to count down, Villopoto was making it very clear that he was going to be the rider to beat. After winning his heat race in a dominant fashion, he was proceeding to do the same in the first main. With two laps to go, the Red Bull KTM rider and Townley had the crowd on their feet as they pushed each other to the finish. When the checker flag flew, Townley took second by a small margin, and Villopoto won by over 12-seconds. Dungey finished third in his first race on his Red Bull KTM.

RESULTS:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Ben Townley (Kaw)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
5. Eli Tomac (Hon)
6. Mike Alessi (Suz)
7. Martin Davalos (Suz)
8. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
9. Kyle Chisholm (Yam)
10. Chris Blose (Kaw)

MAIN 2

Leaving where he left off after the first race, Villopoto grabbed another holeshot in the second main. This time, he had Dungey right behind him in second place. Rounding off the top-five were Metcalfe, Townley, and Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac. After the second lap, Alessi pulled off the track and made his way back to the pits. Back up front, Villopoto continued to pull away from Dungey. Tomac was starting to gain some ground on Townley, and he made the pass after a few laps. At the halfway mark, Townley pulled into the mechanic’s row, and did not finish the race, due to a wheel problem. This allowed Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Brayton into the top five. Once that happened, the top five were pretty spread out from one another and there were no more battles taking place. Villopoto took another easy win with Dungey and Metcalfe rounding off the podium.

RESULTS:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
3. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
4. Eli Tomac (Hon)
5. Justin Brayton (Hon)
6. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
7. Martin Davalos (Suz)
8. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
9. Kyle Chisholm (Yam)
10. Jimmy Albertson (Yam)

MAIN 3

After two holeshots in a row, all eyes were on the number two Kawasaki, but it was Alessi with the holeshot in the final main event. As the riders made their way back into the stadium, Villopoto held it wide open through the sand rollers and passed Alessi coming out of the corner. This allowed RV to move into first, while Alessi and Dungey sat in second and third, respectively. After a couple of laps, Villopoto had already extended his lead to over six seconds. Meanwhile, Dungey was searching for alternate lines to pass Alessi, and he finally found one that worked. But it wasn’t all over for Alessi, as the Suzuki rider quickly rebounded and passed Dungey back. Dungey once again sat behind Alessi, but then managed to make a pass stick on the next lap. Alessi fell back even more after that, as the track became even more slippery and he launched off the side of the track. By that time, Villopoto was way out front, and there were no signs of him giving up his huge lead. When the checker flag came out, Villopoto celebrated his huge million-dollar earning by throwing a big whip off the finish line jump. RV had become one million dollars richer at the inaugural 2011 Monster Energy Cup.

RESULTS:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
3. Brett Metcalfe (Suz)
4. Nick Wey (Kaw)
5. Martin Davalos (Suz)
6. Mike Alessi (Suz)
7. Kyle Chisholm (Yam)
8. Jimmy Albertson (Yam)
9. Broc Tickle (Kaw)
10. Eli Tomac (Hon)

OVERALL RESULTS
1. Ryan Villopoto (1-1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey (3-2-2)
3. Brett Metcalfe (4-3-3)
4. Martin Davalos (7-7-5)
5. Eli Tomac (5-4-10)
6. Kyle Chisholm (9-9-7)
7. Nick Wey (14-11-4)
8. Jimmy Albertson (11-10-8)
9. Jake Weimer (12-6-11)
10. Mike Alessi (6-21-6)