Another championship is in the record books for Ryan Dungey and we all kind of knew it was his to lose going into the series. Ryan is looking way more comfortable than ever on the Factory KTM. I saw an interview on Roger DeCoster the other day featuring his top athlete, Ryan Dungey. He thinks Ryan has way more in the tank for next year; not exactly what the competition wants to hear. Can you imagine being the factory Honda Manager and hearing that the rider that finished on the podium every race but one will be even better in 2017? I think this is why we are hearing that a few riders will be changing teams for 2017. I am super impressed with Ryan in 2016. The one thing he was really lacking got checked off his list this year and that was becoming way more aggressive. Last year it took Ryan forever to get around riders. It was an ongoing struggle but I think maybe training with Anderson had something to do with that. Having the most aggressive rider in your camp kind of helps, especially if he is your buddy and sort of teammate. Ryan has matured and has figured out that he is the top dog in the series and all the other riders know this. You might as well run with it while you can. How cool was it to see boss man Roger D do a full-on burn out on the winning machine in the pit area after the race? That Dunlop tire was pretty well a slick tire at the end of the night. Quite incredible that a man in his 70s is so focused in his job. This takes dedication and lots of time to get where he is with his riders. Do you know that Roger goes out to the practice track daily to watch his guys pound laps? Every time the riders hit the track, they are testing something on the bike, whether it is a new offset clamp angle or even a new foot peg. Roger knows what the lap times will be within a few hundreds of a second in the morning when the track is damp to what the times will be after lunch when the track is dry and semi blown out. That’s pretty crazy info. Athletes like Ryan can put in a ton of laps at full speed to see if what they’re testing works or not. I bet Marvin and Jason are both learning a thing or two when these guys are all together.
Dungey is now a three-time supercross champion. I call it a “domination” this year. It was a little boring at the beginning of the season but it sure got interesting near the end with Roczen and Tomac knocking on the door. It’s a shame Ken was not able to get things dialed in a little earlier with his program. He definitely has the ability and speed to make it stick. Tomac is looking much better now as well. Let’s hope Eli can continue to charge in a few weeks at Round 1 of the outdoor series. He is really more of an outdoors guy anyway. I watched the race on Fox and I was pretty shocked that they focused on Ryan for most of the race. I am sure Ken was not pumped when he got home and turned on the PVR. Ryan didn’t have to win, but as a true champion and racer at heart he went for it. Now he can relax and have some fun in Vegas. I wish I could tell you more about Ken but the cameras were on the battle behind him. He did, however, smoke the competition by winning by a mile or so. It was nice to see Tomac charge from a not so good start to finishing 2nd for the night. Third on the box was Seely on his factory Honda. Looking pretty good for a rider that had missed a few rounds. Dungey cruised in 4th and not too far back with a great ride was Justin Brayton with Anderson. Again, I’m not sure what’s up with Barcia this weekend. I sure hope he is just over SX and his team is ready for the outdoors. Baggett had a tough weekend as well and I think Blake must be looking forward to the outdoors too. Josh Grant is another rider that I thought would have placed a little better than where he ended up.
Taking a look at the East Coast Lites; I thought Jeremy Martin had this one in the bag but Malcolm showed everyone that he wants this championship bad. I am very impressed that Malcolm is looking so strong out there; besides the race a few weeks ago where he crashed, and when I say crashed I mean crashed like five times in the final! Now with a solid points lead, and just one event to go, I hope Malcolm does it so he can get that pressure off his back. Amazing looking back, Malcolm really didn’t have a ride set up and he possibly delivers a championship to Geico Honda. Martin Davalos is another rider that has impressed me this year. It was a crying shame he missed the Toronto round due to visa issues. I am sure factory Husky is going to make sure all their riders have their papers in order for next year. Martin has no pressure now and looked great, finishing 2nd helps with points. Third on the box was Jeremy Martin, not what I expected but still a solid effort. Fourth and looking better each weekend was Shane McElrath on the YTD KTM. Not too far off the podium was Aaron Plessinger. Man if he had a better start he would have easily finished on the podium. Not to exclude a guy who needs mentioning, a very impressive ride from Dakota Alix from Vermont.
There is one supercross left to go and of course there will be a ton of attention on the Lites class. Why you may ask? Well, the AMA plans to run the east against the west and it’s for points. This could easily go sideways for Malcolm if he gets a bad start and if Plessinger wins the race. There are a bunch of really fast west coast hard pack riders. I like this format and it will make for some great racing, and the 250 guys have to race it where in the past it was just a fun east / west shootout. That’s it for me this week. See you at the races.