ROCKSTAR MAKITA SUZUKI'S RYAN DUNGEY CELEBRATES HIS PHENOMENAL ROOKIE SEASON
Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey has had a banner year. After securing the 2010 AMA Supercross title, he went on to be crowned the 2010 AMA Pro Motocross Champion, as well. The first rookie ever to win both titles, Dungey was named captain of Team USA for the Motocross of Nations this weekend. Dungey performed well at the MXoN in 2009, winning his race and helping secure the trophy for the U.S. team.
Dungey is currently in Lakewood, Colorado, preparing for the weekend's race against Motocross talent from around the world. "Thunder Valley should be a good spot for motocross in America," Dungey said. "The site is good and the track should hold up pretty good over two days. The best of the best are coming over here and it should be good one." Dungey and two other racers from America are set to take on the competition on their home turf. "This is a fun team to be a part of," said Dungey. "The three of us get along great off the track, but know that we each are going to Colorado to get the job done as a team."
Ryan Dungey started off the 2010 AMA Pro Motocross season as the freshly crowned AMA Supercross champion. With expectations and hopes high, Dungey wanted to prove that his 450 SX title wasn't the product of luck, but the result of talent, years of hard work, and a team of dedicated professionals.
The start of the season at Hangtown, just outside of Sacramento, California, didn't go as well as the team had hoped. After finishing off the Supercross season, Dungey took a few days to recover from the excitement and strain of the series. With that, Ryan wasn't completely prepared for the start of the motocross season and he hadn't done as much Outdoor testing on his bike as he would've had he not won the SX title. Dungey finished 10th in the first moto and sixth in the second race, giving him eighth overall. After winning his first 450 title only a few weeks prior, Dungey knew he had the power, the speed, and the team to win, and he was determined to be ready for Round 2.
The next round of the AMA Pro Motocross series at Freestone MX in Texas was a different story. Dungey and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team had time to fully develop and tweak their Outdoor setup. While his competitors might have not expected the dominant Dungey they saw during the Supercross season to show up in Texas, Ryan lined up at the gate fully prepared. He took the overall at Freestone with his perfect moto scores of 1-1 and reasserted himself as the man to beat when it comes to racing dirt bikes. He gained enough points at the race to put him second overall in the championship chase, only 11 points out of the lead.
“We put in our work the last couple of weeks, and actually, it goes all the way back to after the Vegas Supercross, really,” Dungey said after the Freestone race. “I admit we didn't have a good race at Hangtown, but we kept after it as a team and pulled through in some pretty tough conditions in Texas. We know each other very well after four-plus years together and you could say we drew on our experience to win this overall. This was a team win. My bike was a big advantage today. The power delivery is very controllable and on a rough track like this, it made it easier to be smooth and find good lines. My team really worked hard to get the setup right, and I can’t say enough about them and the bike.”
Round 3 at High Point in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, saw another full-on victory for Dungey and his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. Dungey convincingly won both motos and took the overall. Dungey took over the lead in both motos by the midway point and beat the rest of the field to the checkered flag. What's more, Ryan took the points lead in the series, which is something he didn't give up for the rest of the season. At this point, Dungey had won four motos in a row and had plenty of momentum to build on. He had a 25-point lead in the series after racing at High Point, and he remained the championship frontrunner for the rest of the season.
Budds Creek in Maryland was the site of Round 4 of the AMA Pro Motocross series, and the site for Dungey's third overall victory in a row. He placed third in the first moto after having to remove his goggles. He amazingly held on and even challenged the racer in second all while getting roosted without eye protection. Dungey came back with fresh goggles and resolve to win Moto 2, where he took the win. At the end of the day, Ryan had put himself 36 points ahead in the series and was intent on keeping his streak alive. “It was a good weekend for us,” Dungey said after the race at Budds Creek. “I felt strong in both motos and the whole Rockstar Makita Suzuki team really put together a great race bike. We just need to focus on the next race and keep plugging away."
Plugging away is exactly what Ryan and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team did at the Thunder Valley MX in Colorado. He went 2-1 for the day at Round 5 of the series and won the overall, his fourth in a row. In the second moto, Dungey crossed the finish line 13 seconds ahead of the next closest racer. Ryan had led the most laps of anyone in the 450 class at this point in the series, and he took an even more commanding lead of the championship chase by having 51 points on the second-place racer. "We have won four in a row but now is not the time to let up and get complacent,” Dungey said after the race “Red Bud is a track where we haven’t been able to put it together in the past, so we’re going back to work this week to get ready.”
The midway point of the season at Red Bud in Buchanan, Michigan, is a fan and racer favorite. Add in the holiday weekend of July 4th, and you've got a formula for an epic race. The track is as tough as it is beautiful, and though Dungey had some rough races here in the past he was resolved to leave in 2010 a winner. The first moto was an all-out battle between Dungey and two other racers, and the racing was so close it came down the last lap. In fact, the moto was voted by fans at the end of the season to be the most exciting race of the year! Dungey came out victorious in the scuffle and the win gave him the momentum to take the win in the second moto with an 11-second gap, as well. Ryan's 1-1 finishes for the day at Round 6 of the series gave him his fifth overall victory in a row and a 64-point cushion in the championship.
The Spring Creek MX in Millville, Minnesota, was a homecoming for Ryan Dungey. The 20-year-old Minnesota native grew up riding the track, and he's definitely the fan favorite here. The fans were not disappointed when Dungey took the win in both motos and took his sixth overall victory in a row. “To win here today and go 1-1 feels really great; it was nice to pull a win off for Minnesota,” Dungey said after the race and surrounded by family and friends. “We can all celebrate it together now. I grew up here and I wanted to win, but even more than that I was just enjoying seeing everyone that I grew up with. The fans out here are really committed and they’re hardcore. To have people behind us like that is really cool, and not just for me but for our whole sport.” He and his RM-Z450 were unstoppable in the high heat and humidity as they finished the first moto 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the racers, and in the Moto 2 doubled that by finishing 40 seconds before anyone else. Dungey was on track to make history, now leading the class with 89 points and winning 10 of the 14 motos of the season.
Finishing 1-1 was becoming a habit of Ryan Dungey by the time Round 8 of the series rolled into Washougal MX in Washington. He won both motos here as well and took his seventh overall in a row aboard his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. Ryan earned enough points to put 95 between him and second place, and was on track to have another championship on his hands. “Today was good, and I was able to make some key passes and get out front thanks to my Rockstar Makita Suzuki,” Dungey said after the race. “The whole team worked together and made it work well today. I just want to keep the momentum going through the end of the season.”
Round 9 of the AMA Pro Motocross series moved to the East Coast at Unadilla MX in New York. Dungey and his Suzuki fuel-injected RM-Z450 lined up on the gate in Moto 1 focused. He took charge immediately by grabbing the holeshot and leading the race wire to wire. His 13-second lead and win in the first moto set him up for another victory in Moto 2, where he crossed the finish line 12 seconds ahead of second place. His RM-Z450 was obviously set up to perfection, and Dungey took his eighth overall victory in a row during his rookie 450 Motocross season. At this point, he was 111 points ahead in the series and was also picked to be the team captain for Team USA at the 2010 Motocross of Nations.
Southwick MX in Massachusetts was the site of Round 10 of the series, and also where Ryan Dungey and his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 clinched the 2010 AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Dungey went 1-1 for the day and took his ninth overall victory in a row, and he became the most successful rookie 450 racer in the sport's history. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 led Dungey to two more moto victories that day, making his tally 16 wins out of 20, and giving him his second title of 2010 with two races left in the series. “What Ryan has done, no one has ever done before including McGrath, Stewart, Carmichael,” then Team Manager Roger DeCoster said after the race. “No one has ever won both the Supercross and a National Championship back to back as a rookie. It's pretty impressive. Sometimes, because Ryan is such a subdued nice guy, you don’t really realize what a big thing that he has done. I expect more and more perfection, but you look back and see that he is doing things that no one has ever done before – it's pretty impressive. It's been a perfect season, probably a season we will remember for the rest of our lives."
“This feels great,” Dungey said after the race. “It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of long weeks in the off season to prepare for this, but that makes it even better when you pull it off and win the championship. It's not all me; everyone on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team put in 110 percent into everything they do and that’s all I could ever ask. We work well together and enjoy working together at the same time. It makes it fun.”
After the excitement of clinching the title, Dungey and the team went back to work preparing for Round 11 at Steel City MX in Delmont, PA. Even though the title was wrapped up, Ryan Dungey never backs down from a race. In the first moto of the day, Dungey crashed on the first lap and damaged the front caliper of his bike. Unable to continue the moto, Dungey had to pull off the track and go back to the team rig to get his bike fixed. He placed 40th in the moto, but he didn't let that affect his mindset for Moto 2. When the gate dropped, Dungey got out onto the track and made some quick passes to take the lead. He then put time between him and the rest of the pack, and his RM-Z450 took him across the finish line first. His win put him in sixth place overall at the end of the day, which is impressive in a field of 40 racers.
The season finale at Pala MX in Southern California was a new race on the schedule and one that racers and spectators were looking forward to. Ryan Dungey and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team were focused on putting together two great motos and sending off the 2010 Pro Motocross season in style. In the first moto, Dungey took the lead by the third lap and never looked back. He crossed the finish line 28 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack and was on course to take yet another overall victory. Moto 2 was more of the same, though he got a bit of a rough start. Dungey picked off riders one by one and by the middle of the moto he was in the lead. His 1-1 finishes gave him his record-setting 10th overall victory of the year. Ryan racked up 19 moto wins out of 24, making him the most successful rookie ever in the sport of motocross.
"I'm happy I went 1-1 on the day, and I enjoyed the Pala track," Dungey said after the race. "It was tough out there and it took a lot of physical and mental fitness. I prepare for tracks like this, so having a rough race shows the hard work we all put in during the week. My team has taught me well. I'm fortunate to work with so many great people, and now that the season is over we'll enjoy the championship and then put our heads down and be tough in preparing for Supercross in January!"