It’s official. After much speculation Ryan Dungey announced his retirement from professional racing earlier today. Read the press release from KTM below.
Dungey, a 27-year-old Minnesota native, has captured 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.
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. I could easily take the paycheck and just race to finish but that’s not who I am and not how I want to race, nor be remembered. I said on the podium in Las Vegas a week and a half ago that this championship win meant the most out of all my Supercross titles because the truth is, I had to fight the hardest for this one. Not necessarily because of the battles on the track, though those were good and tough, but because I had to mentally push myself like never before to get it done. And to come out on top and hold onto the championship title for the third year in a row is an unbelievable blessing that I’m incredibly proud of.”
Dungey added, “I love racing and I love our sport but I just feel it in my heart that I am ready to step away now – happy, healthy and feeling totally blessed. I’ve accomplished everything that I set out to do and so much more. Although I’m taking a step back from racing, I still plan to be involved in the sport and continue to try to make it better in any way that I can. This sport has blessed me beyond belief and I’ll forever be grateful for the memories I’ve made and friendships I’ve developed along the way. As this chapter of my life comes to a close, I’m excited to see what the next chapter has in store for me.”
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.”
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsports Director): “First of all I would like to congratulate Ryan for this amazing 2017 Supercross title. It was a tough fight but at the end he took the title home to our KTM family and it just makes us really, really proud. It’s nice for our Company to work with an athlete like Ryan, who brings always 100 percent for the brand. Ryan made history for KTM – he won the first Supercross race for us and the first Supercross title, and together with the U.S. team they’ve been the game changers. I’m looking forward to working with Ryan in the future to keep our first-class team on the same position and look for young riders, which I’m sure he will give us the right hand.”
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.”
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team would like thank Ryan Dungey for his many contributions to the KTM brand, as well as the sport of Supercross and Motocross as a whole. Congratulations, Champ!
My Opinion: Truthfully, I predicted this halfway through the SX season. Dungey no longer seemed into it (he had the same attitude that Ryan Villopoto did before he retired). Over and over again, Dungey seemed tired and unmotivated. He clearly stated this many times throughout the season, so it would have surprised me to see him race outdoors this year. He was able to make it through the season with yet another championship (kudos to him for that), but a week after doing so, this announcement came.