2017 Monster Energy Cup | Monday Kickstart

Recap From Las Vegas

2017 MONSTER ENERGY CUP | COMPLETE COVERAGE

IMAGES | Antonovich & Emery

It was good to be back at the races. With its mix of competition and special events, the 2017 Monster Energy Cup was a perfect spike of excitment to the long months of the offseason. This year’s race didn’t have as stacked of a roster as years past, there’s no denying that, but there was plenty for us to discuss with the rest of the industry in the paddock. We’ve got a lot of content that’ll hit the site this week, so be sure to circle back as the days click by. In the meantime, get to reading…

– In our opinion, the biggest news of the weekend was the unofficial reveal of the new KTM and Husqvarna machines. Although the team kept the bikes hidden in current plastics and wouldn’t speak a word on the technical details, it was impossible to ignore the differences (new shock, engine design, engine mounts, exhaust system, what looks to be a revised frame geometry, and talk of a new intake system). Although KTM has long been the only brand to have the “Factory Edition” line of bikes, we’ve been told by very trusted sources that Husqvarna will also have a “Factory Edition” bike for 2018 that will be raced by the team and that the bike will have a wildy different appearance. Hell of a debut for the new bike too, as it claimed three of the top-five spots (Musquin, Anderson, Tickle).

– What a night for Marvin Musquin. The Red Bull KTM rider was on another level through all thirty laps of racing, as he put himself at the front of the field in all three motos and raced uncontested to the checkered flag. In fact, Musquin clocked the quickest overall laps in two of the three races. His reaction to winning the million dollar prize was incredible, especially on the final lap of race three. Congrats to MM25 and his crew for claiming the win.

– If not for that crash, would Eli Tomac have been able to stop Marvin Musquin? That’ll be a talking point for a few weeks. The two riders squared off the moment the gate dropped in Moto One and traded passes for a few laps until Tomac hit the deck. After seeing their battle, our anticipation for Anaheim One just went up a few more clicks.

– Speaking of Moto One, we cannot remember a single race that claimed so many riders in such a short time. First was Justin Bogle’s insane impact on the long rhythm lane, then Tomac’s high-speed swap, and Tim Gajser’s case to eject. With those three out, the rest of the night seemed to lose some luster.

– Jason Anderson’s reflexes are unreal. The Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna rider avoided disaster two times in Moto One, first with the idiotic track worker that bolted across a full field of racers just after the start (image above) and then a few minutes later when Eli Tomac ran to the sidelines after his hard crash. Anderson put his bike within inches of both guys but managed to make it through unscathed.

– You could definitely sense an element of tension at Sam Boyd Stadium through the weekend. We knew quite a few industry people that opted out of attending the event and the normally lax venue ramped up security measures all as a result of the Mandalay Bay shooting, but it was great to see the crowd filled out the stadium seats.

How about that Mitchell Oldenburg to Star Racing news? Talk about unexpected.

– The Las Vegas shooting will be the first initiative of the “Supercross Cares” charitable foundation that Feld Motorsports has set up. When the race was finished on Saturday night, riders donated the gear for an eBay auction that will go live on October 16th to raise money for the victims of the shooting. You can find more information on the auction at www.supercrosslive.com/en-US/Supercross-cares.

– At Friday’s press conference Feld Motorsports broke the long-known news of their newest video game project with Milestone Gaming, makers of the popular MXGP title. The game will be available for sale in February 2018 and features full recreations of tracks from the 2017 season, top racers, bikes, and gear brands. We played for a brief moment (it’s part of the job) and already know that our thumbs will be callused up next winter.

– Get ready to hear a few big changes for the Supercross program starting in the 2018 season. The full announcement will occur in less than two weeks and includes a format change at select events. Stay tuned…

– Last race season Feld Motorsports and LitPro worked on a way to share the metrics (speed, g-forces, distance, racer’s heart rate) with the audience and on Saturday night we were able to see the first numbers on select racers via the stadium screen. Broc Tickle, for example, had a heart rate between 170-180 beats per minute during the duration of the ten-lap moto. This was a trial run of the technology, but we should see more information like this in the next few seasons.