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Deep field set for Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas

October 16, 2015

Trey Canard goes through spells, particularly when he’s hurting or struggling in rehabilitation, when he wonders why he keeps putting himself through all this pain.

It’s not that Canard doesn’t expect to get injured. Pain is part of the game in motocross and he accepts that. But when you’ve had as many unfortunate and severe injuries as Canard, it begins to take a toll.

The spells never last long, though. Canard always reminds himself that motocross riding is what he loves, what he’s good at and it’s worth it no matter how many times he gets hurt.

“Each time, it’s certainly more difficult to come back to racing, but on the other hand it grows me in some sort of way,” Canard said heading into this weekend’s Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas. “Hopefully, I’m done with most of the growing pains.”

Canard’s injury list includes two broken femurs, a broken collarbone and a horrific accident in 2012 — caused by a piece of sign getting stuck in his wheel — that left him with three broken vertebrae that required two rods to be placed along his spine.

Canard came back strong, finishing sixth in the 2013 Supercross standings and fourth in motocross. Canard suffered a broken arm while preparing for the 2014 Supercross season, but again had a strong comeback, finishing third in the 2014 motocross standings.

The 25-year-old rider from Elk City, Oklahoma, continued to race well at the start of the 2015 Supercross season, winning twice to rank second in the season standings through 11 races.

But in the 12th race, at Detroit, Canard did not see fellow rider Jake Weimer had slowed on the track until it was too late. Canard landed on top of Weimer in the scary looking crash and suffered a broken left arm, knocking him out for the rest of the Supercross season and most of motocross.

Canard did manage to return for four races at the end of the motocross season and is fully healthy heading into Saturday’s Monster Energy Cup.

“It’s been a few months since I’ve been riding and I feel healthy,” Canard said. “Even though I wasn’t completely ready to come back during the outdoor season, it was good to get back to racing and I’m looking forward to racing this weekend.”

He will be facing a deep, talented field not far from the bright lights of The Strip.

Ryan Dungey will be trying for a perfect season after sweeping the Supercross and motocross titles this season. Chad Reed, who’s won three combined Supercross and motocross championships, also is in the field and so is 2014 motocross champion Ken Roczen, along with defending Monster Energy Cup champion Davi Millsaps.

The race also will be the second for James Stewart following his 16-month drug suspension for a prescription drug that was not cleared ahead of time. The three-time series champion made a splash in his return last week, repeating as Straight Rhythm champion in Pomona, California.

“You don’t understand how good this feels,” Stewart said after beating Roczen in the finals. “I’m so stoked right now.”

So is Canard heading into motocross’ only $1 million race.

The Monster Energy Cup started with a bang in 2011, when Ryan Villopoto won all three motos to claim the biggest prize in the sport’s history. The triple has been much tougher to pull off the past three years on one of the sport’s most unique tracks.

Designed by multiple champion Ricky Carmichael, the Monster Energy Cup track has elements of Supercross and motocross winding inside and outside of UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium. It also features a sand-filled joker lane that riders must pass through at least once, adding a level of strategy.

“It offers a lot of good racing, especially with the joker lane,” said Canard, who will next race in Japan later this month. “In regular races with 20 riders and no joker lane, the riders tend to get a little spread out, but when you throw in things like the joker lane, I think the racing gets a lot better.”

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