Sam Boyd Stadium is about 20 minutes outside the bright lights and high rollers of the Las Vegas strip but Saturday night it will shine as bright as the neon lights as the Monster Energy Cup comes to town.
Taking over for the defunct US Open the MEC began in 2011 with Ryan Villopoto taking all 3 motos and the $1 million grand prize. 2012 saw Justin Barcia take the win followed by James Stewart in 2013, Davi Millsaps in 2014 and Ken Roczen last season in 2015. A rider must win all 3 motos to take the million dollar grand prize and so far only Villopoto completed that feat. Who will win in 2016? Ken Roczen on his new Honda, Eli Tomac? What about Chad Reed or Ryan Dungey. All I know for sure is Saturday night will feature great racing action.
Aside from the 3 moto MEC class there are also 3 additional classes competing for their time in the spotlight. And this is where I’d like to point out several “local” racers competing. Riders I’ll be keeping an eye on.
In the Super Mini class I’ll be keeping an eye on #351, Kawasaki mounted Jack Rogers. The Maryland native spends a lot of time competing in the Northeast and frequents Raceway Park.
In the Amateur All-Stars class, my eyes will be on NJ’s own #40 Brandon Hartranft. Brandon cleaned up a couple of weeks ago at the Vurb Classic and was a podium finisher 2 weeks ago at the Kawasaki Race of Champions so he is surely one of the top contenders. #91 Justin Cooper is another local racer that should be a force to be reckoned with Saturday night. The Yamaha rider from New York State has been on a tear lately winning 4 classes at Baja Brawl, both pro classes at the 2-Stroke Shootout, both pro classes at KROC and both pro classes last week at the Big Bucks Shootout. It would be great to see Justin add an Amateur All-Stars victory to his already successful 2016.
Rounding out the special events is the KTM Jr Supercross challenge and NJ racer Jaden Palmer is participating. Jaden won an event earlier this year and should be a favorite on Saturday night.
How to watch the Monster Energy Cup. Follow the instructions here.
So check it out Saturday and cheer the local riders on.