- Associated Press - Friday, May 15, 2015

Ryan Dungey has been criticized for not being flashy enough and taking what the course gives him instead of racing with the win-or-crash mentality many other riders have.

Like it or not, Dungey’s method is consistent and effective.

The 25-year-old rider won his second Supercross title this season, five years after his first one, and is the favorite heading into the outdoor season, which starts this weekend in Northern California.

“I find that kind of thinking laughable,” said Davey Coombs, vice president of the Lucas Oil Motocross Championships. “All Ryan has to do it point to the scoreboard. If you don’t like the way he rides, that he doesn’t let it all hang out, just remember: He’s the champion. He’s got all those first-place trophies for a reason. He may not be the flashiest, but he’s the steadiest.”

Dungey made a big splash in motocross’ 450cc class in 2010, becoming the first rookie to sweep the Supercross and outdoor titles. The rider from Belle Plaine, Minnesota, picked up his second outdoor title in 2012 and has been one of the series’ most consistent riders, finishing no worse than third in the overall standings in five years of racing in the sport’s highest class.

Dungey was superb during the 2015 Supercross season, winning eight times while finishing on the podium in 16 of 17 races for his second title.

Appearances don’t matter to Dungey. Winning does.

“Last time I checked, being flashy doesn’t make you go fast,” he said. “I enjoy doing my work and training and preparing. When I’m out there racing, I’m not about anything else but doing my job right.”

A year ago, motocross crowned a new champion: Ken Roczen.

His title was significant not just because he broke a string of titles won by the usual suspects - Dungey and Ryan Villopoto - but because Roczen is from Mattstedt, Germany.

Motocross has had a few international champions, including Australian Chad Reed and Frenchman Jean-Michel Bayle, but Roczen’s title was the latest example of the reach AMA Motocross has gained outside the United States.

Dungey may be the favorite headed into Saturday’s opener at the Hangtown Classic, but Roczen has quickly become a fan favorite after winning a championship at 20 a year ago.

“American fans have embraced Kenny in a way that they didn’t do 20 years ago when it was Jean-Michel Bayle,” Coombs said. “That’s just because the world is a smaller place. He’s very open and giving to his fans, he’s very prolific on social media and I think that sort of erases sort of hometown thing, where people say he’s not from America. That doesn’t matter. He’s very fast on a motorcycle.”

The series will be without two of its fastest riders this season.

Former champion James Stewart is out through Aug. 11 for a drug suspension after testing positive for Adderall and failing to provide the proper paperwork in time.

Villopoto, a seven-time Supercross and motocross champion, missed the 2014 outdoor season due to a knee injury and announced before the 2015 Supercross season that he’s retiring from U.S. racing to compete in Europe.

“It does open the door for a lot of people,” Coombs said. “The funny thing is, a lot of people thought it would be one of the young guys like Canard, Tomac or Kenny Roczen, but low and behold it was Ryan Dungey. I’ve the feeling that even though everyone’s healthy, he’s got a good head of steam up.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide