In a thinning field of top riders, former two-time AMA Supercross champion James Stewart and 2011 Eastern Regional Supercross Lites class champ Justin Barcia have become the latest riders to withdraw from the Monster Energy Cup, which happens in Las Vegas Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Stewart said his withdrawal is due to the logistics surrounding his 2012 team building efforts, but he used the announcement to give his fans insight into his closely guarded 2012 negotiations. After making his official announcement not to race, he released a flurry of Tweets, including the following: "The decision was made last night to not race Vegas. It sucks, but to be honest, I don't have a team for next year yet. A1 will be my 1st race."
He then requested his followers to send him messages asking, "Which color James?" as to which brand of bike he'll be riding next year. At 9 p.m. ET he Tweeted back: "I'll either be riding a Yamaha or a Suzuki next year!"
Stewart released a statement via his company, James Stewart Entertainment: "I had a real tough decision to make," said James. "I want to race as bad as anyone, but in the best interests of my team and the 2012 season, I have to make decisions that not everyone will like or understand. All I can do is stay true and be honest with you all and ask for your patience and understanding. As soon as there is news about my 2012 plans, you'll know!"
Barcia announced his plans to withdraw from the race via Twitter on Thursday: "No Monster Cup due to other priorities and obligations! Start the s--- talking!" After winning the 2011 Lites SX East title he raced the second half of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship in the 450 class where he won the Southwick round in August.
Chad Reed was the first top rider to back out. Reed returned a text message from ESPN on September 28 that stated his withdrawal was still unofficial but he was staying in Australia until early November. On September 30, he told UK's 'Moto' the following: "Living and breathing 24 hours a day as a racer and team owner has meant I've not had as much time for my family as I have wanted, and its very important to me that I have a break before re-focusing on 2012 and going one better in Supercross."