The third annual Monster Energy Cup was held this past Saturday, October 19, at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium and 33,845 fans were on hand to witness some of the most exciting racing of the year. 2012 Cup Champion and Team Honda Muscle Milk rider Justin Barcia made a valiant effort but was unable to defend his title, finishing eighth overall with 7-2-18 scores. GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac had an impressive showing on his CRF450R, finishing just shy of the podium in fourth with 5-6-3 marks.

The Race
For the second year, the Ricky Carmichael-designed track featured a Joker Lane—an additional sand section that each rider was required to run through one time in each main event, but it was up to the rider to determine the most strategic time during the race to tackle the Joker Lane. After qualifying fourth quickest in practice, Barcia got off the line in moto one to a sixth place start. On the second lap of the race, he made the mandatory run through the Joker Lane, ultimately dropping him back two positions to eighth. Throughout the remainder of the 10-lap race, Barcia was able to recover one spot, finishing seventh.

In the second main event, Barcia grabbed a fourth place start and made quick work of the rider in third to take over the position. On lap seven, Barcia strategically decided to take the Joker Lane in hopes of closing in on the leaders when they decided to take the lane later in the race. After the leader crashed on the final lap, Barcia was able to take over the second-place position, which is where he finished.

In moto three, Barcia went down while running fourth, sending him outside the top 10. He remounted his Honda CRF450R only to go down again the next lap and was unable to get the bike restarted, forcing him to pull off the track. Barcia’s 7-2-18 marks left him eighth overall in the standings.

“I am pretty disappointed with how tonight played out,” stated Barcia. “I really wanted to defend my title, and of course a million dollars would have been nice too. The track was awesome and I felt good on it at press day and throughout practice but couldn’t put it all together in the motos. I didn’t get a good start in the first moto, which made it tough to try and work through the other riders.”

“I got a much better start in the second moto and was able to pass Dungey pretty quickly for third,” continued Barcia. “I could see the battle going on between the leaders and they hadn’t taken the Joker Lane yet, so I decided to take it thinking I could close the gap when they did decide to go through it. I took over second on the last lap after Villopoto missed the lane and crashed. The third race was terrible all around. I got an OK start but crashed twice and the last time I couldn’t get the bike started. I’m bummed for sure but I just need to keep working hard and looking forward to 2014.”

Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard elected to sit out of the event and focus on the 2014 Supercross season.

GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac rode his way to fourth-place overall with fifth, sixth and third place finishes in the event’s three motos. In the first two motos, Tomac got mid pack starts and had to race hard to make his way through the pack. Tomac came into true form during the final moto of the night, logging the quickest lap of the race en route to his third-place finish.

“We got what we needed out of this event,” Tomac said. “We got to measure where we are against the best riders in the world. These are the guys I’m going to be racing every weekend next year, so it was encouraging to keep the pace of the leaders after we made the shock change. I’m pretty happy. There are lots of little things we need to work on, but the Honda is really feeling good right now. I’ll stick to my normal fitness routine and we’ll get everything in place for A1.”

Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/ Honda’s Cole Seely finished an impressive sixth overall for the night with 13-7-5 marks. Seely struggled in the first moto but found his groove in the second race, finishing seventh. In the final moto of the night, Seely got a bad start and decided to take the Joker Lane the second lap to get it out of the way. For the remainder of the race he began picking off riders as they went through the lane, working his way all the way up to fifth, where he finished.

In the Amateur All-Star competition, Jordan Smith rode his Factory Connection/AMSOIL Honda CRF250R to a second moto win and third overall for the evening. In the first moto, Smith was running in second and closing in on the leader during the final lap when he went down with just one turn remaining. He remounted his bike, finishing in ninth. Smith rebounded in the second moto, coming out of the gate strong and winning with a commanding lead.

Monster Energy Cup Class Overall Results
1. James Stewart 8-1-1
2. Ryan Dungey 6-3-2
3. Ken Roczen 4-4-4
4. Eli Tomac (Honda) 5-6-3
5. Marvin Musquin, 2-9-8
6. Cole Seely (Honda) 13-7-5
7. Broc Tickle 10-8-9
8. Justin Barcia (Honda) 7-2-18
9. Dean Wilson 20-5-6
10. Josh Grant 15-10-7

Amateur All-Stars Class Overall Results
1. RJ Hampshire 1-3
2. Zachary Commans 5-4
3. Jordon Smith (Honda) 9-1
4. Mark Worth 6-6
5. Jace Owen 2-10
6. Darian Sanayei 11-2
7. Ryan Surratt 7-8
8. Thomas Covington 8-9
9. Paul Coates 3-15
10. Keith Tucker 4-18