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250 Words: Anaheim 2

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The more I see of Ryan Dungey, the more I think of Jeff Stanton. From 1989 through ‘92, Stanton won himself three AMA Supercross titles and three AMA 250cc Motocross Championships by being smart, strong and consistent, while his main rival—Damon Bradshaw—could never manage an entire series without some kind of problem. As a result, the rock-steady rider from Michigan grabbed up six #1 plates, even though few would point at him and say “He’s the fastest man on the track.”

Now, comes this kid from Minnesota, with the same outlook and mindset. With another legend, Johnny O’Mara, in his corner as his mentor (and the kid wearing “D-Show” on the back of his white Answer pants), Dungey is in complete control of the Lites West now, and he looks like he’s not even trying that hard. There are other guys out there that look faster—Team Yamaha’s Broc Hepler and Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence—but they can’t put it all together. Dungey gets good starts, he puts down a solid 15 laps, and he’s managing the series better than everyone with a 1-2-1 in three rounds. He’s already got a 22-point lead over Hepler, which basically gives him a throwaway race. However, the way this kid rides and approaches his race craft, it is doubtful that he is going to be throwing anything away.

As for the rest of the competition, inconsistency has become chronic. Dungey is the only man who has been on the podium all three times, and two of the guys who have—Phoenix winner Jake Weimer and A2’s third-place Austin Stroupe—also have a DNQ on their early-season returns. In a short regional series like Monster Energy Supercross, it’s going to be impossible for anyone to catch Dungey unless he misses his flight.
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