#1 Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM):
Let’s be real, Roczen’s utter dominance at A1 was scary. As race fans, we all dream of seeing the top guys battle for wins every weekend, but Roczen seemed to be a full step above the rest of the competition. However, Dungey stepped up to the plate for San Diego, and proved that he’s ready to win in 2017; he can, and will, match Roczen’s speed. This was an amazing sight for race fans globally, and a huge sigh of relief. On top of that, Dungey’s ability to regroup from such a devastating loss within only a week is very impressive.
Dungey started the race off by leading for the first 7 laps, at which point Roczen passed him. After seeing what happened the week prior, and even in the heat race earlier in the night, many of us expected Roczen to open up a sizable lead right away. However, the Dungey we saw last year returned in full-force, and kept pressure on Roczen for the rest of the race. It wasn’t just like these guys were cruising around out there either; they were REALLY charging. Marvin Musquin is an amazing rider, but by the end of the race, the Roczen/Dungey duo had opened up a 20 second lead over him. 20 SECONDS!! That’s unheard of in supercross, and goes to show just how well Roczen and Dungey were riding. Not only that, but the track was a mess; soft soil formed ruts and caused very choppy conditions. A track like this is hard enough on its own to ride for a solid 20 minutes, let alone when you’re in the midst of a heated battle for the lead, yet somehow these guys made it look easy.
So, Roczen passed Dungey and went on to win; why was he not the Most Impressive 450 Rider from San Diego? Well, truthfully I expect Roczen to always ride this well now. What’s more impressive to me is that Dungey regrouped after last weekend’s brutal loss, regrouped after a heat race loss, and regrouped after getting passed by Roczen in the main. Dungey REGROUPED. He pushed Roczen, ran his pace for a full main, and even looked like he could have passed him at certain points. For this reason, Dungey was the Most Impressive 450 Rider in San Diego.
Dungey’s ready to race, and ready to battle for a championship. Now, let’s see if he can grab a win in A2 this weekend.
Additional note: Even after 20 minutes of intense racing, these guys had the respect for one another to shake hands. Impressive in itself.
Cover photo from Vital MX by GuyB