The unique event also invites the best Amateur All-Stars and Super Mini riders to compete on the hybrid racetrack. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green’s Darian Sanayei put his KX™250F on the podium in both races to finish second overall in the Amateur All-Stars Class and Garrett Marchbanks rode his KX™100 to second overall in the Super Mini Class.
One would have never known that Millsaps had not raced in 18 months, as he looked smooth and confident on his new KX™ 450F. The Monster Energy Cup’s three-race format, separated start gate, and joker lane were additional hurdles that needed to be considered, but none were an issue for “The Duke”. Millsaps did not start where he wanted in the first race and was forced to make some quick passes in order to stay in contention. He got into third position and rode safely to a podium finish.
In race two, Millsaps got off to a great start and rounded the first lap in third place along with the leaders. He inherited the lead with three laps remaining but had saved the joker lane for the last lap and while pushing to try and keep the lead through the longer joker lane, he slid out and crossed the line in fourth place.
“I left it all on the track,” said Millsaps. “I knew Trey (Canard) was close but I had to push and try to get the win. I came out of the final corner and since the joker lane wasn’t getting ridden as much as the rest of the track, it was still slick.”
Going into the third and final race, Millsaps was tied for third place in combined points while the leaders finished 1-2 in both races. Determined for redemption, he got the holeshot and began to lay down consistent fast laps which no one was able to challenge. He took the joker lane without losing position and won his first race since February of 2013. Luck was in Millsaps’ favor as his rivals had poor finishes in the final race, giving him the overall win and making him $100,000 richer.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be up on top of the box after being off the bike for so long,” said Millsaps. “I don’t think anyone expected this and I couldn’t be more thankful to my Kawasaki team. We’ve been working hard and will continue to work hard up to Anaheim 1.”
Kawasaki’s success continued into the Amateur All-Stars Class as Zac Commans, Sanayei, and Rookie White rounded out the top five in combined qualifying times, but Sanayei suffered a crash that broke his front tooth and fractured his hand. Unable to admit defeat, he fought through the pain to pull both holeshots in the two-race format and led laps in both races to finish second overall.
“Today was not easy for me, which makes this that much sweeter,” said Sanayei. “After crashing in practice, I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to race but when your adrenaline kicks in, pain goes out the window. It’s safe to say my starts are on point, and I just didn’t have the rhythm section. The track was so fun and I’m alright with finishing second to Plessinger, since he will be turning pro and racing supercross this winter while I’ve got another year of amateur racing.”
In the Super Mini Class it was Joey Crown who led Team Green in the qualifying times, but coming out of the gate in the first race was the youngest competitor at the Monster Energy Cup, Carson Mumford who grabbed the holeshot and battled for the lead. Marchbanks would make a pass on his teammate and attempted the chase down the leader but had to settle for second place while Mumford held on for third place. The second race saw Marchbanks and Crown come together as the pack came through the rhythm lane on the first lap, which brought out a red flag. Marchbanks lined up once again and this time for through the first lap clean but without starting upfront, he was unable to catch the leaders. His 2-3 score gave him second overall and Mumford finished fourth overall with a 3-5 score.
“Tonight was a great night,” said Marchbanks. “I would have liked to get the win and I think if I got better starts I could have. It was pretty sketchy at times out there so I’m just happy to come out healthy and on the podium.”
Kawasaki has a great track record at the Monster Energy Cup as they have won a championship every year since the inaugural event in 2011 where Team Green swept the Super Mini Class, Amateur All-Stars Class, and of course Ryan Villopoto winning the Monster Million. In 2012, Austin Forkner won the Super Mini Class while Adam Cianciarulo finished second in the Amateur All-stars. Last year Forkner successfully defended his Super Mini Championship and Commans took second in Amateur All-Stars. Although past champions like Forkner, Cianciarulo, and Villopoto were unable to compete this year, Millsaps, Sanayei, and Marchbanks continued the winning tradition and proved why champions choose KX™.
While Anaheim 1 is the next focus for Millsaps, Wil Hahn, and the Pro Circuit race team, Team Green will be lining up for the 2014 Thor Winter Olympics at Gatorback Cycle Park in Gainesville, Florida in one month’s time. Team Green riders will compete in both supercross and motocross over the coarse of Thanksgiving week, which is considered by many as the first race of the new 2015 season.
Monster Energy Cup
Sam Boyd Stadium – Las Vegas, Neveda
Cup Class Overall
- Davi Millsaps, Monster Energy Kawasaki
- Eli Tomac, Honda
- Trey Canard, Honda
- Ryan Dungey, KTM
- Malcolm Stewart, Honda
- Justin Hill, KTM
- Jason Anderson, Husqvarna
- Jake Weimer, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Justin Barcia, Yamaha
- Blake Baggett, Suzuki
Amateur All-Stars Class
- Aaron Plessinger, Yamaha
- Darian Sanayei, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green
- Benny Bloss, Yamaha
- Jordan Smith, Honda
- Robbie Wageman, Yamaha
- Chase Marquier, Honda
- Ryan Surratt, Yamaha
- Marshal Weltin, Honda
- Cody Mcculloch, Yamaha
- Bradley Taft, Yamaha
Super Mini Class
- Mitchell Falk, KTM
- Garrett Marchbanks, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green
- Chase Sexton, Yamaha
- Carson Mumford, Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green
- Derek Drake, KTM
- Brock Papi, KTM
- Casey Keast, Yamaha
- Carson Brown, KTM
- Justin Rodbell, KTM
- Hannah Hodges, Suzuki