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450 Words: San Diego

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A lot has been said over the past few weeks, since the beginning of the 2010 Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Series, about the poise and maturity of Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey. Dungey had been unshakeable at the first three rounds of the championship, winning rounds two and three and challenging San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart for the duration of round one.

  • Two falls on the first lap forced Ryan Dungey to come through the pack to sixth. He now holds a slim four-point lead in the championship.
  • Davi Millsaps won his first 450cc main event since 2008 in San Diego. And it seemed routine.
  • Josh Hill (75) took quite a while to secure a pass on Ivan Tedesco (9) for what ended up being second in the race. It was Hill's third-straight runner-up finish.
  • Despite going down in the first turn with Dungey, Ryan Villopoto was able to claw his way all the way back up to fourth.
  • Justin Brayton grabbed fifth in the main event, just in front of Dungey.
However, things seemed to come apart for Dungey at San Francisco, round four of the championship, when he went down twice in the same section (once in his heat race and once in the main event). The main-event crash while leading was particularly scary, as Dungey landed hard, sans bike, on the face of the final jump in the rhythm section. But he got up and salvaged fourth.

In San Diego, Dungey won his heat race, and then set himself up for his third win on the season by grabbing the holeshot to start the main event, but it only lasted into the first turn, as he washed out the front end on the rain-soaked track and went down, taking San Francisco winner Ryan Villopoto and Rockstar/Canidae Suzuki’s Tommy Hahn with him.

Then, perhaps still adjusting to a bent-up bike, or maybe nerves getting the best of him, Dungey fell again on the opening lap in the turn before the finish line.

From that point on, despite occasional puffs of steam arising from his factory RM-Z450, Dungey was moving forward. He was 15th by lap five, 10th by lap ten, and by the finish, he was sixth. It was an admirable performance given the circumstances, but his closest title rival, San Manuel Yamaha’s Josh Hill, was second for the third consecutive race.

Actually, Hill’s consistency has been great so far in 2010. After a sixth-place at round one, Hill has reeled off four consecutive podium finishes, and with the help of a couple of Dungey miscues, Hill sits only four points behind Dungey in the points chase. Now, normally this wouldn’t be much of a concern to a points leader who has won two races and crashed in two of the other three, as it’s obvious they have plenty of speed. However, in this case, it may be Hill who is in the driver’s seat, as he isn’t lacking speed at all. All Hill is lacking is a complete race, from start to finish.

However, both of them may be in for a surprise if Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps keeps on the path he started in San Francisco, where he got his first podium of the season. Millsaps followed that up with a solid win in San Diego, and he’s looking for more of the same this weekend at Anaheim III.

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