Going Out On Top - Motocross Champion Ryan Dungey Retires
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team rider Ryan Dungey announced yesterday his retirement from professional racing. Dungey’s announcement came shortly after securing his third-consecutive AMA 450SX Championship in what would serve as the final race of his professional career at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium.
At 27, the Minnesota native has won a total of nine AMA Supercross and Motocross Championships, including four AMA 450SX titles (2017, 2016, 2015, 2012), three AMA 450 Class MX titles (2015, 2012, 2010), an AMA West Coast SX Lites title (2009) and an AMA 250 Class MX title (2009). Additionally, Dungey was a vital part of the U.S. Team’s success in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to bring home three Motocross des Nations Championships.
Not only did Ryan Dungey make big strides in his career on the race track, but he also made an everlasting impact on the sport as a whole. In 2015, Dungey won the ESPY Award for Best Male Action Sports Athlete, and he once again took the honor in 2016. That same year, Dungey reached another milestone to become the first motocross rider ever to appear on the Wheaties Box, further proving his merit outside of the motorcycle community.
Ryan Dungey: “It’s hard to believe that this day has come but after a lot of thinking and praying over the last several months, today I announce my retirement from racing professional Supercross and Motocross. This decision has not been an easy one. I’ve achieved more than I ever could have imagined or dreamed of and for all of this I am incredibly humbled and honored. I’ve gone as hard as I can for as long as I can, but the reality is that our sport is tough, the seasons are long and it takes a huge amount of sacrifice, hard work and discipline to stay on top. Physically I feel that I’m in the best shape of my life, race craft-wise I’m in the best shape of my life and I have the equipment to win, there’s no doubt about that. However, this year I have struggled mentally. I have always raced because I love it and want so badly to win, but this season was just different for me. Getting my head into the game each week just wasn’t the same and lining up and being able to focus like I always had in the past was just different. I never thought I would get to a place where I had to talk myself into starting a race but that’s how it was for me – and the truth is that bothers me a lot.”
Stefan Pierer (CEO KTM GROUP): “For six years Ryan has been a part of the KTM family, beginning in 2012 when he came to KTM following Roger De Coster. Since then, Ryan has written a very important part of our history and together with Roger they brought KTM to the pinnacle of the sport worldwide. Ryan is outstanding. His performance and his personality brought KTM to the next level and we thank him for that. We are wishing him all the best for the next step and we are very happy to look for his next ambitious goals in the KTM family.”
Roger De Coster (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager): “It has been an honor to work with Ryan for over ten years together. In that time he never failed to end a championship on the podium and I can say that I have never worked with a rider who took his job so seriously. This is the end of an era but we know Ryan will stay involved with our team although it is not completely defined yet. He has already begun helping Marvin prepare for the Nationals and we are excited to continue our relationship with him. We wish Ryan and Lindsey all the best for their future.”
Dungey plans to remain with KTM in a capacity as yet unknown. His dedication and work ethic won him the respect of fellow competitors and fans alike. Both Dungey and teammate Marvin Musquin, 25, have shown the benefits of tutelage from manager and former World Motocross Champion Roger De Coster, whose training regimen and economical riding style set the standard for the sport.