Newly-crowned AMA/ FIM World Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey and his RM-Z450 had their work cut out at Saturday night’s penultimate 16th round at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah:
With freezing rain and snow pounding the muddy track, Dungey battled the conditions and other racers to finish fourth in the 15-lap Main Event; shortened from the usual 20 laps due to the adverse weather conditions.
The Rockstar Makita RM-Z450’s low centre of gravity helped Dungey to keep balance and momentum through the tough areas of the track and negotiate the hairpin turns. He said: “The rain really opened up and let loose, and the track got pretty tough at the end. I went into survival mode and ended up fourth. I just kind of had a tough day; it happens and we just have to move forward.”
With only one practice to get the bike set up due to a shortened schedule, Dungey put his head down, used all the tear-offs loaded onto his goggles, and kept his focus on finishing the race.
“It’s ok we finished fourth because we have the Championship, but it wasn’t the best ride,” said Team Manager Roger DeCoster. “We’ll talk during the week and discuss being more aggressive instead of getting pushed around. On the other hand, Ryan won the Championship by being cautious at times, and winning the Championship is a big accomplishment. This week we need to focus on winning in Las Vegas and then working on the Outdoors.”
Dungey is the youngest rider ever to win the AMA Supercross Championship, and only the second rookie ever to do so (The first was Jeremy McGrath). With the addition of FIM to the series, Dungey is now a World Champion, taking after DeCoster who is a five-time World Champ. Dungey has come up from the Suzuki Amateur Programme to the Rockstar Makita Suzuki Team, and he was the Western Regional Lites Champion in 2009.
The final round of the series takes place next weekend on May 8 in Las Vegas.
Results: 1 Kevin Windham (Honda), 2 Davi Millsaps (Honda), 3 Andrew Short (Honda), 4 Ryan Dungey (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), 5 Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha), 6 Michael Byrne (Yamaha), 7 Justin Brayton (Yamaha), 8 Tommy Hahn (Suzuki), 9 Nick Wey (Kawasaki), 10 Chris Blose (Honda).