Ryan Dungey has adopted a somewhat unwanted nickname – The Diesel. The Supercross red plate holder may not like it but, it is a compliment and it was proven again last weekend after his very impressive win.
Dungey is always there even when he doesn’t win, he may not start the fastest in the series but he keeps going, chugging away and builds momentum until he finds his groove.
Well, last weekend in Texas, Dungey found his groove and rode away from everyone in a dominating start to finish victory. He was already the points leader due to his unrivaled consistency but this week not only was Dungey solid, he was also fast! It was one of Dungey’s most impressive supercross wins of his career.
The Diesel hit top gear with a rare holeshot and even Ken Roczen couldn’t catch him and German wanted to beat him bad! Dungey pulled away from the kid who is trying to claw him back in the points and Roczen just couldn’t do anything with the American.
Dungey for the first time in a long time beat Roczen straight up when he had too… and he pulled away while he did it. This was a huge win for Dungey in terms of mind games and points, Dungey just showed Roczen that he has the stuff to beat him on any given day and took the momentum in the series.
Dungey is looking more comfortable on the KTM than he ever has since making the switch, and each week he is getting even better. His performance reminded me of his days on the Suzuki, flowing with the track and looking confident and at ease.
So what is the reason for his elevated speed and comfort this season? Many will point to the new KTM machine, others will say hiring Aldon Baker, maybe even that Villopoto isn’t riding. Perhaps the truth is all three have helped contribute, he is feeling more comfortable on the new bike, he knows he’s with the best trainer and that he doesn’t to beat RV anymore. Maybe Dungey feels he is the man to beat again now that RV is away and that it is his time again win some championships and to keep the young guys at bay.
The bottom line is Dungey looks back to his best, back to the speed that saw him win supercross in his rookie season but this time with more experience. Prior to the season I felt that Dungey had the consistency to challenge for the title but missed just a per cent or two of speed on Roczen or Tomac.
In the beginning of the season that was proving accurate but in the last two or three weeks, Dungey has found the speed he needs to win more than a couple of races a season. For Roczen, that negates the advantage he had over Dungey and now the title chase is really on. Dungey right now has all the boxes ticked and Roczen has to be a little worried.
But the biggest strength Dungey has is that is never gives up even when he gets beat. He keeps putting himself in position week after week. Even when he wasn’t winning many races a season Dungey is still putting in the effort. Dungey never gives in, always works hard, stays focused and driven and is respectful to fellow riders and fans.
Ryan Dungey is brilliant role model for what it takes to be a top class professional rider and now, after a couple of tough seasons where even his own team manager criticized him, he is finally see the light at the end of the tunnel – and he deserves it!
Article: Jonathan McCready
Pic: KTM Images