AMA Monster Energy Supercross returns to the New York Metropolitan area for the first time in 23 years on Saturday night with the series set to invade MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, for the first event there since Super Bowl XLVIII in early February.
Feld Entertainment gathered Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart, Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen for a pre-event press conference this morning in the Meadowlands and here are a few highlights from that.
Muscle Milk Honda’s Barcia will be racing in front of a hometown crowd on Saturday night when the series visits the largest media market in the world.
“It’s really cool,” Barcia said. “I grew up in upstate New York and was born in Paterson, New Jersey. It’s special for me. Even later on today I’m going to get to see some family that I haven’t seen in years. It’s exciting. A lot of fans will be here, a lot of family. I like that a lot. I get up to New York once a year for Unadilla for the National, so this is very special for me. They [the New York fans] are crazy. Us New Yorkers, we get wild. We keep in on the edge and we’re loud so I’m sure that stadium is going to be getting pretty crazy on Saturday night.”
Villopoto will be attempting to wrap up his fourth successive AMA Supercross title on Saturday night and he realizes the importance of the series returning to the New York Metro area.
“It’s pretty big,” Villopoto said. “It’s been 23 years since it’s been here and it’s a place and area we haven’t been in a long time so to get back to this area and bring racing here again… it’s going to be big for the sport. Once we get out there the fans are going to love it. It’s a unique sport and it’s action-packed. We’re going to put on a good show for everybody.”
Roczen was enjoying himself in his first visit to the area, the German - along with several other racers - visiting some of the tourist spots in New York City, including the Empire State Building.
“Personally for me it’s the first time being here and it’s a very unique city,” Roczen said. “Being from Germany, we don’t have those kinds of crazy cities and especially that big. It was just rad to hang out a little bit and topping it off with racing this weekend is a big honor and I really can’t wait. The fans will be crazy and there will be a lot of people. It’s great to be racing up here.”
Stewart’s biggest fear of racing at MetLife? Making it to the track.
“It’s going to be a great turnout,” Stewart said. “My biggest fear is just making it here on Saturday night. I’m staying in the city and this racing taxicabs and people. It’s the first time I’ve ever been somewhere where I’ve been scared on my way to the racetrack,” Stewart joked. “I think it’s going to be good. There are a lot of friends up here and a lot of buzz about the event. For me it has that same feeling as Anaheim – there’s a lot of excitement about it. I’ve never raced up here and having the city across the bay right there and having all the media… it’s going to be a pretty special event.”
According to Feld, MetLife Stadium will be on next year’s schedule as well with the race slated for April 25. The rest of the 2015 series schedule will be released next week at the series finale in Las Vegas.