The former AMA and Supercross champion is celebrating his 28th birthday today.
Borned in a family of amateur racers, Dungey has turned pro at the age of 16, despite not having impressive resultrs in the mini classes. In the last year as an amateur, he won the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Championship.
From 2006, he raced at the 250 category, not having any exceptional results, but he attracted attention of Roger De Coster, the Suzuki team manager at that time. The first important results came one year later, when he got his first professional wins in Supercross, at the East Category.
He went on to finish 5th overall at that category, the same position in AMA, at the 250 class, despite not winning a single round, but finishing on podium 3 times. In 2008 he moved from East to West in Supercross, but he missed the title by just 2 points.
2009 will be an year to remember for the then Suzuki rider, winning both the 250 West and 250 titles in Supercross and AMA. He was also nominated as the team captain for the USA at the MXoN, also marking his first entrance on a 450cc bike. Despite this, he brought the 20th MXoN title for his country, concluding the season in style.
Following this experience, he climbed to he 450 categories in both AMA and Supercross next year. He also went to win these 2 titles, becoming the first ever rider to do so in his rookie year. He was once again chosen as a part of the US team for MXoN, bringin’ another title for them.
2011 was not the same anymore after Roger De Coster left Suzuki for KTM. He had great performances, but Dungey finished 3rd in Supercross and 2nd in AMA. The only good part for him is that he won the MXoN for the 3rd and last time in his career.
2012 saw Dungey back with De Coster, at the KTM Factory Racing. He won 4 Supercross events, but due to an injury, he finished 3rd overall. However, later in the season, he became KTM’s first champion in AMA at the 450 category.
After another 2 years when he didn’t win any of these major championships, Dungey exploded in 2015 winning both the competitions and he became KTM’s first world champion in Supercross and first to do the “double” with them.
2016 started with another Supercross title for Ryan, but an injury at the beginning of the AMA season forced him to end the year way early. Despite this huge break he took, he managed to win his 4th Supercross title and 3rd in a row with KTM.
But, this crown was the last of Ryan’s magnificant career, the Minnesota rider announcing his retirement a few days later. Yeah, a MXGP title would have completed a 5-star square, but still, he’ll be inducted in the Hall of Fame soon. Until then, happy birthday and thank you for everything, “Diesel”!
Photo – Simon Cudby/KTM Media Library