Monday Conversation II: Ryan Dungey


Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey has parlayed his momentum from the end of the outdoors last year, and his Lites West SX title this year, into speed for this year’s outdoor title. He went 2-1 to win Glen Helen.

Racer X: Having clinched the West SX title, did you have any extra nerves coming into this outdoor championship knowing that you were the favorite to win it?
Ryan Dungey: Coming into the outdoor series, I really didn’t feel any pressure at all. I know where I stood last year coming off of the outdoors, and my main goal was just to try and keep that momentum going. I think what I had was solid, and I knew coming into this season that it was still solid. I really didn’t feel any pressure, but having won the supercross championship was definitely good and it was a big accomplishment in my book so far. I really just tried to go out and go for the win, and I ended up going 2-1.

What about your first experience racing against Christophe Pourcel (outdoors, anyway), Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle?
For the last couple/three weeks, that was something that I was wondering about. It was just like, “I wonder...” I had heard Pourcel goes good, and I really don’t know that much about Tyla Rattray or Searle, so it was just kind of like, “Hey, we’ll wait and see when we get there, and if they’re going better, then I’ve got to step my game up, some way, some how.” But I wasn’t going to sit and worry and stress about it, I was just going to let it play out and then see where we stood. Now that the first race has gone by, you kind of get a better understanding of where everybody’s at and what you can do with your own program.

What about that Justin Barcia kid? He’s got a lot of speed, doesn’t he?
I think for him the whole thing’s new to him, and I remember my pro debut, and you want to set the whole world on fire overnight, but it takes time. But for what he did, coming out and leading like that, it wasn’t too bad for a debut.

Of course, your debut was at your home track, so that was probably a little bit of added pressure...
Yeah, and it was nice to know the track, but being at your home track, it was kind of half good for knowing the track and half bad for having everyone I know watching me. It took me a little while to find out how it really was as I started riding tracks I didn’t know. That was the tough part. As time went on, though, I got a little more confidence in my self and my setup.

What did you think of the Glen Helen track this year?
I think overall the track was good, but I really thought they were going to do more maintenance than they did. Either way, I thought it was good. They let the track get really rough, and that played a big part in the race as far as our fitness is concerned. I think they might’ve over-watered it a bit in the morning, and that was kind of tough because it made it really one-lined, and you really had to search for lines. You’d come into a turn and it would look like there are seven different ruts, but four of the seven all went into one line. It was like that one, main, good line. But they did a good job. I had no complaints. Going backwards was cool, too. Switching it up is always good.

Now that you’ve seen your competition and you’ve won your first race, how do you see the season playing out?
From here on out, I just plan to take it one race at a time. I think the main goal each and every week is to win, and if we’re in that position, we’re sitting pretty good. But also, if we’re not in the lead or something, I’m still going to just try and control what’s within my control and have faith that the rest will work out.

Are there any particular tracks coming up that you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to them all, really. It was cool to be at Glen Helen, though. It was weird to realize we’re already in the outdoors. It was kind of hard to believe. But it was cool, because once you get done with supercross, it was something fresh to look at and it allows you to switch up your routine during the week, and it’s fun. I’m pumped to be back in the outdoors, especially the way it ended last year. I just want to keep moving forward and have fun with it.