THE ADAM CIANCIARULO COLUMN
In every way, shape, and form, the Monster Energy Cup is different from any other event I’ve ever been to — for many reasons. The biggest one, for me, is the atmosphere. The whole vibe, in general, makes me feel like a goldfish in a shark tank. It’s scary — I’m not gonna lie — but I love that. As most of you know, the Monster Cup was my first race on a 250F, and in my mind there wasn’t a better place to make the debut.
On top of the excitement for the race, it also happened to be my 16th birthday, which I didn’t think I was doing anything for. I was wrong though! Right before we were about to go to the stadium for press day on Friday, my dad asked me if I wanted to go burn some laps at Pole Position. Not wanting to miss the opportunity, I quickly said yes and asked no question. When someone asks you if you wanna go to Pole Position, you simply don’t ask any questions. I had no idea what was happening until I saw my friend Zach’s dad, Glen, walking in the door as soon as I got out of the van. Apparently he didn’t know that being fashionably late to a surprise party just doesn’t work... I was honestly blown away when I walked in the door though. There were a lot, like a lot, of people there.
Kawasaki, Monster, Alpinestars, and DC were kind enough to rent out the whole place for me! I was speechless and at the same time ready to put some people into the wall. I mean “out brake” them. I’m a decent driver but not good enough to where I don’t have to hit someone to make a pass on a one-line course. I ended up qualifying in the back, fortunately, and I was able to bob and weave myself into second. Although it wasn’t the result I wanted, I spun Perebijnos, so all and all I was happy with the performance.
After I claimed my silver medal, (I made that up. No medals were involved), I literally ran to the van so I could make it on time for the press day. We got there on time, and first up was the press conference, which provided me with yet another opportunity to face my slight fear of public speaking. This time it wasn’t all the people who were watching me that made me nervous; it was the guys sitting next to me. Ryan Dungey, Justin Brayton, Justin Barcia, Ryan Villopoto, and Chad Reed were those guys. That’s a combined 19 championships. Enough said. After that, we all had the opportunity to turn a few laps under the lights. I can honestly say that was the most fun I’d had on a dirt bike in a long time. That’s saying something, too, because I have an abnormal amount of fun every time I ride. The track was perfect; everything was just flowing. I felt more comfortable than I ever had. I really think it had something to do with it being at night. You see, I grew up racing the Saturday night series at my local track, and there is just something about riding in the late hours of the day that I love.
The next day it got real very quickly. The competition in my class was seriously insane. I was nervous, and I usually am not the guy who gets nervous. I was able to get the fastest lap in both qualifying sessions, but I knew that meant absolutely nothing once the gate dropped. There really aren’t words to describe the feelings I had and the thoughts that were going through my mind sitting on the gate. I was nervous, excited, and everything in between. If you don’t believe me, just go back and watch my first start again. I’m sure most of you watched the race, so I’ll spare you a play-by-play race report and cut to the highlights, or in this case, the lowlights. Most of the race I just felt like I didn’t belong out there; I still felt like a supermini rider out on the track with A and B riders. I started feeling more and more comfortable as the race wore on, though. I remember it wasn’t until I got the two-lap board that I felt like myself again. I was in third and thought there was a good possibility I could get second. Right after I finished that thought, I washed the front. I wasn’t happy. Fortunately for me, I was able to use all of that anger in the next moto to ride the way I know how. This time, I felt like I belonged there. I didn’t care about anything or anyone else. I blocked it out of my mind. Although winning the second moto didn’t give me the overall, the way I looked at it is that I learned way more than if I would have just got the start both motos and won. Don’t get me wrong, though, I would have rather done that!
In the end, in my eyes, my first big bike race was a success. I know what I need to do to be stronger and better all around, and with the people I have around me helping me to do that, I know I can get to where I want to be. Until next time...
SEND LETTERS TO: TransWorld Motocross, Attn: Adam Cianciarulo, 2052 Corte del Nogal, Suite 100, Carlsbad, CA 92011