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Nine-Time AMA Champ Ryan Dungey Retires After Wrapping Up Latest SX Title

Several days after wrapping up his third consecutive AMA 450 SX championship, Ryan Dungey announced his retirement from competitive racing at a press conference in Anaheim, California. Just 27 years old, Dungey has amassed nine AMA championships, and has been known for his steady, workman-like approach to racing. Working with the legendary Roger De Coster at KTM the last several years has seemed the perfect partnership of experience and dedication.

Here is the announcement from KTM received by MD this morning:

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team rider Ryan Dungey announced today his retirement from professional racing in a press conference hosted by KTM inside the iconic Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Dungey’s announcement comes shortly after securing his third-consecutive AMA 450SX Championship aboard the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION in what would ultimately serve as the final race of his professional career at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium.

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.”


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21 Comments

  1. tremoloman says:

    Happy for Ryan and he will be missed from the sport. I wish you nothing but the best Mr. Dungey!

    I admit I do like MX better than SX. Racing SX is just constant jumping like leapfrogs. MX it’s faster, more demanding, and provides better racing IMHO. I like SX but LOVE MX. You never see someone taken out by a tough block in MX since they use those yellow markers. It’s the way the sport was meant to be ridden, but that’s my opinion.

  2. Bill Lustrick says:

    Right on Ryan! Going out on top is the smart way to go. Thanks for the hard work, helping raise money for kids and all the years of great memories. Best of luck in the future! #1

  3. Fivespeed302 says:

    I can’t blame him for wanting to spend more time at home. Have you seen his super hot wife? “Lord have mercy! The Lord is my shepherd, and he know what I want!!” – Friday quote

  4. Gary says:

    What a great champion and role model. I’ve enjoyed watching Ryan race for the entirety of his professional career. There just aren’t enough pro athletes with his humility and temperament.

  5. Dave says:

    Wow! That’s a surprise. I watched every race and didn’t detect any hint of this, but I’m glad he’s done it. Lots of guys go on longer than they should (in many sports) and wind up having regret.

    Thanks for the show Ryan. I’ve really enjoyed watching your career and your invincibly positive attitude. You’ve been such an impactful role model. Enjoy your health and family, Champ.

    • guu says:

      Not surprised because I too saw all the races. 17 x SX, 12 x MX, several off-season races, and year-round training. The promoters burn these guys out and lose their stars. Dungey’s and Villopoto’s generation didn’t have the opportunity to do supercross-only seasons and that really cut in to their careers vs. Reed’s and Stewart’s.

      Anyways, well done, Ryan. You’re a great champion, role model for the kids and an ambassador for the sport.

  6. Chrisgo says:

    He will be missed. After watching Tomac and Roczen this season it was obvious that Ryan’s time at the top was coming to an end. Better to go out on top.

  7. Rick Young says:

    It’s refreshing to see such a classy champion…I’m sure he will go on to do more great things this was a wise decision & I wish him all the best in the future….KTM & the sport will miss him.

  8. Ricardo says:

    Wise decision and wise words from a true Champion.

  9. 5229 says:

    The way to do it, retire as the champion. Very few athletes have done this. Nice.

  10. roadrash1 says:

    I’m glad to see him go out healthy & on top.
    He surely doesn’t need a 2nd career, but it would be cool if he stays involved in the industry.
    It’s been refreshing to watch a professional athlete who never got caught up in the negative aspects of fame & fortune.
    Great job, Champ!

  11. MotoMaster39 says:

    He most likely would have kept racing a few more years, but breaking his neck last year during the outdoor nationals, and then seeing Ken Roczen have a life changing injury this Supercross season probably had him thinking about early retirement.

    He’s definitely a shoe-in for KTM brand ambassador considering his squeaky clean and genuine reputation.

  12. dt 175 says:

    Minnesota nice…

  13. wjf says:

    In addition to being one of the super talents we have seen, he has always had class in his post race interviews, and sounded genuine (like VR in motogp), instead of arrogant or robotic…..
    He will be missed.

  14. blitz11 says:

    Class guy. The debacle at the last race with the Kawasaki guys trying to take him out is similar to WWE wrestling. Embarrassing shenanigans. That probably pushed him over the top. Can’t blame him.

    Dungey rode/raced clean, trained hard, and earned his way to the top. Sorry to see him go, but I understand why he’s leaving. I wish him the best of luck and good fortune.

  15. mickey says:

    Don’t follow MX anymore, especially indoor stuff (IMO MX was meant to be raced on natural tracks outdoors in whatever weather mother nature deemed appropriate… I bet Roger D would agree) but I can certainly admire the man’s decision making process. When your hobby becomes a job that you regret, it’s time to move on.

    best of luck to Mr Dungey with whatever he does going forward.

    • Gary says:

      “When your hobby becomes a job that you regret, it’s time to move on.”

      This is mostly true if he can find a good paying second career. Not all pro athletes can manage it. I wish him well. But it’s amazing how much people put up with for millions o’ bucks. Ask Reed.

      • mickey says:

        I would assume being a nine time world champion riding for factory teams he might have been able to sock enough change away to support him the rest of his life as long as he doesn’t go all Lamborginnis and mansions and stuff. Much more than most of us poor folk have been able to amass in our lives.

        Heck I think Marty Smith and Bob Hannah were making a million dollars a year racing back in the 70s.

    • Half Baked says:

      Clearly you haven’t followed motocross for sometime. Since 1974 events that take place in stadiums have been referred to as Supercross.

      • mickey says:

        LOl yea, originally it was called “indoor motocross”. I went to Indy Colosseum to see Jeremy McGrath race indoors but it seemed more like a circus or an X Games kinda thing than a motocross race and I have watched them on TV a few times. Indoor racing just doesn’t appeal to me. If they moved MotoGP indoors I would quit watching it too.

        I also prefer the outdoors mile flat track courses than the indoor short track races.

  16. Gary says:

    Wow. Pretty impressive how level headed he is, especially being only 27 years old. I wish him all the best with whatever’s next. A class act, and a very FAST class act.

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