With all three championships locked up, along with an extensive list of injured riders, this year’s Las Vegas finale lacks the suspense and anticipation of year’s past. But that is not to say that the event will be a bore. The absence of three front runners opens the door for yet another new winner, something the previous seasons have lacked, and the Lites East/West Shootout will be the battle to settle the debates of which coast is stronger. On Friday, the annual pre-race press conference was held in the tower at Sam Boyd Stadium with Justin Brayton, Davi Millsaps, Eli Tomac, Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, and the injured Ryan Villopoto on hand to field questions from the media.
Though no groundbreaking news was released, there was enough to fuel the hype machine. Justin Barcia stated that while he knows what team he will be racing for next year, he must still keep it a secret. Ryan Villopoto walked to the platform sans cruches or limp, an astounding task for someone that underwent a full ACL replacement surgery just five days before. Davi Millsaps joked about his loss last week in Salt Lake City without venom in his words, and Ryan Dungey chalked his resulting win to Davi’s late race mistakes.
The five capable riders then took to the track for a very brief session on the uncompleted track, which features the typical Vegas ski jump and the Monster Alley sweeper.
All teams used today to set up and prepare their pit area for the weekend, and as of now there seems to be a lack of special edition graphics. Scott Sports, however, debuted the limited edition 350 race gear that will be used by Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham, Kyle Peters, and Kyle Cunningham in this weekend’s Lites races. The run was limited to 12 sets and features Rockstar model Jessica sublimated into the fabric.
Check back tomorrow for extensive coverage from the Las Vegas round and follow TWMX on Instagram @twmxdotcom