Interviews by Jason Weigandt, Jordan Roberts and Steve Matthes
Ryan Dungey, Red Bull KTM, 2nd in SX Class
Racer X: Let's see. Anything going on leading into this race, or was it all business as usual? Because there were some rumors of a shoulder injury.
Ryan Dungey: No, I think a lot of people heard that though. I did take a nasty little fall this week, but thankfully everything was okay. Definitely got banged up, but it wasn’t to the point that it limited us for riding and this and that. It was definitely a different week. We got a lot of rain down in Tallahassee and it was pretty wet and we were just riding that one day. I made a mistake. It was my fault and I’ve just got to take full credit for it. But thankfully we’re okay. Coming into tonight, I felt really good. We’ve got the bike set up really well and the dirt was awesome, so that was even better. The track layout wasn’t super-fast. It was kind of more tight. It was fast in a few areas, but tight and technical for the most part. The heat race and in the main, I think I kind of cut myself short in the starts. Just wasn’t right there and kind of got pinched off in a few areas and had to play a little bit of catch up. In the main event, it was really good though because we were able to get into second and [Ryan] Villopoto had a little bit of a lead, but we were able to close that gap. Definitely looking forward to next weekend.
Do you feel strong? The last half of the race you were closing in. You must have felt good.
Yeah, I felt great. Fitness wise, I feel awesome. I feel like in a 20-lapper, you should put it all out there on the table and that’s what I felt like I did. It was hard to pass too. That was the tough part, I think people could see. I sat behind [Justin] Brayton and [Davi] Millsaps and was able to get by Millsaps first and it took me a few more laps to get by Brayton, which is not always ideal. I made the passes happen. You kind of had to force it and then I found myself in second.
"I did take a nasty little fall this week, but thankfully everything was okay." - Ryan Dungey
Photo: Carl Stone
Justin Brayton, Honda Muscle Milk, 3rd in SX Class
Racer X: You’re riding better than you’re walking.
Justin Brayton: I know. That’s actually what K Dub said. When we pulled off the track, he said, “Man, you’re riding a lot better than you’re walking.” But it’s been a tough three weeks. It’s definitely been tough. But it’s cool to get a result like this after basically soldiering through it, sitting on the couch and lying in bed just icing my leg. So yeah, I’m definitely excited to get on the box.
How was the fitness there? Kevin wasn’t too far back and we were wondering if you’d have those last five laps in you. Did it really catch up to you that bad?
No, I think that’s where the pre-season training really came in. Basically, I did nothing for two weeks, and this past week I knew I had to do something. I had to get in the gym a little bit, do some upper body, do some swimming. I got on the spin bike a little bit and then got to ride one day. Luckily I was able to do that. If I wasn’t able to do that, I think it probably would have caught up to me. I felt good the whole 20 laps. After Dunge got me, I actually went with him then a lapper kind of got in my way. I couldn’t go triple-triple in the far section, which was kind of a bummer with a couple laps to go. But I felt like I rode good. It was a good night.
You’re still on the mend here, so what’d you think you can do this week?
We have a test plan that we’re going to go down to Chad’s [Reed] place and ride this week. I’m definitely going to try and ride a day and see what happens. I’m going to try and ride Tuesday. But the main thing is still to heal up. One little case or dab in a turn the wrong way and we’re pretty much back to square one. So, I’ve really got to watch that. But if I can go out a couple days and really focus on the starts, I feel like my fitness isn’t going to go anywhere at this point with being able to ride the spin bike and ride a day. Daytona’s going to be brutal, though. It’s going to be brutal on my leg and fitness. But I’m excited for the challenge and to get some good starts and be up there.
"In my eyes, I rode horrible. I got a pretty decent start, but finishing second was okay." - Ken Roczen
Photo: Carl Stone
Ken Roczen, Red Bull KTM, 2nd in Lites Class
Racer X: How’d the race go?
Ken Roczen: In my eyes, I rode horrible. I got a pretty decent start, but finishing second was okay. It was a good result for me. I also struggled from a cold and I just want to recover and then have a good week this week and come back strong in Daytona for sure.
So it’s something you can get over enough to get back to a normal week?
Oh yeah, for sure. I’m just bummed because the spot was good. I was right behind [Justin] Barcia. It’s just things like before, like last week running into the gate. That was a bike problem, so I had two good weekends and there’s always one weekend where you’re just not feeling it but the result was there, so I’m going to get over this cold for sure and come back strong in Daytona.
Daytona, do you have any idea what that’s really like? Like from watching videos?
Well I rode there last year on the 350. So I know how it’s going to be and I’ll get ready for that.
Blake Wharton, Rockstar Suzuki, 3rd place in the SX Lites class.
Racer X: How did your night go?
It went pretty good. I won my heat race, which was cool. In practice, I felt pretty good but not my best. I knew how to change some stuff and try to figure the track out and really attack it hard. In the main, I got just an average start and came together with some guys on the first lap. It was carnage—typical supercross. But, [I] managed to get through alright and try to make some passes on some guys and ended up getting third. So yeah, that’s good but now I just keeping going, you know, no rest. I didn’t win it so I’m not going to rest.
All of a sudden toward the end [Justin] Bogle went down. Did you realize you had the podium when you crossed the finish line?
I just had the idea that I had it. Weirdly enough you can kind of figure out where you’re at on the track.
Were you spotting them?
You see them, but I wasn’t like, ‘Oh, where’s everyone at’. I was trying to race. You can get carried away with who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. You can’t really focus on that. It just happened that I got third. We’ll just try to build from there. A heat race win and a third’s not too bad. I’d like to keep improving on that—no rest.
"I was trying to race. You can get carried away with who’s in front of you and who’s behind you. You can’t really focus on that." - Blake Wharton
Photo: Carl Stone
Cole Seely, Honda Muscle Milk, 19th in SX Class
Racer X: How’d it go?
Cole Seely: It went good. Can’t complain. Started off great, I think I started off around seventh. Then I got my way into sixth then rode there for a little while. I tried to get around Kevin [Windham] for a couple laps, but couldn’t make it happen. Then he passed Davi [Millsaps], so I was trying to get around him and then made a little mistake there right before the over/under bridge. I was going to land on the tuff blocks and go over the bars and land on the flat. That wasn’t good, so, I made the choice to ditch the bike and save myself.
Did you run down the backside of the jump?
Yeah, I landed probably about three feet short of the off and I think my knee brace went into my chest, like into my ribs. So it knocked the wind out of me and I was running down that, then I jumped off the track as fast as I could and I just kind of sat there and tried to let my breath catch up to me. Otherwise I’m okay.
You’ve gotta feel pretty good about the riding. That was a pretty fast pack you were up against in the main, you held your own, and even the heat race was pretty good.
Yeah, for the first seven or eight laps, I could see Justin [Brayton] in second and when I was going over the finish line, he was in the turn in front of me. So it was a really tight pack. I think it was Justin, Windham, Davi and Dungey in there too. So to run that pace, it feels good. I’m just getting stronger each week. I’m just going to go with that and take what I can to Daytona and Indy and back to the West.
Justin Bogle, GEICO Honda, 5th in Lites Class
Racer X: Just before the end, I was like it’s over so I’ll just look at my computer. You got third right?
Justin Bogle: [Laughs] Man, the night was going great. Second in my heat.
You were the fastest in practice.
Yeah. Practice was good. That’s the first time I’ve done that. Making progress. Baby steps. The main was going good. I was right on Roczen the whole time. Couldn’t get around him. Barcia was gone, he was riding awesome. I just went for it a little too hard the last lap. I was going for it. I wanted second place. Ended up tossing me a little bit there. Went down, got up, still had time to make a podium, but I squirreled out, freaked out. Thought it was the end of the world and tried to jump on my bike and pin it and fifth place. So, I salvaged a top five. I’ll take it.
But the riding. Encouraged with the riding?
Encouraged with the riding because I was right on Roczen the entire time. Just couldn’t get around him. I’ve just got to work on finishing the race.
"Tonight was good. I felt like I rode good. Last week I felt like I didn’t ride good." - Darryn Durham
Photo: Carl Stone
Darryn Durham, Pro Circuit Kawasaki, 4th place in the SX Lites class
Tonight was good. I felt like I rode good. Last week I felt like I didn’t ride good. I just had a bad start tonight so it didn’t work out so good. But fourth—I’m not complaining. I just want to be on the podium.
You worked your way up. You were pretty close there.
Yeah, I was close. I’m looking forward to Daytona. Hopefully I can get it on there.
Yeah, I usually do really well at Daytona so that’s where I’m going to try and get a win at.
That’s where I need to win if I want to make up points on Barcia.
James Stewart, JGR/Toyota Yamaha, 5th in SX Class
Great race except for that start.
Well, the start was bad, and then I crashed on the first lap, which was even worse. But it was better after that, I was able to ride and push a little bit for the first time. I was happy about that.
You and RV were the only ones.. has to be a little bit encouraging, right?
It was good, I was pumped to get into the 50s even though I was passing people. So yeah, that was good. I definitely felt I was fast at night, but all day, we sucked. We sucked during the day and even in the heat race I felt we didn’t ride that good. Main event we changed a few things, and that made it maybe five percent better and I was able to ride a little bit better.
What happened off the start? I’m no Gary Bailey, but it looked like you had a late reaction?
We were looking at the data, and something happened right off the gate. When I dumped the throttle, it didn’t go when I thought it would. And me and my boy [Jake] Weimer got into again! [Laughs] We kind of hit, but just so I can clear the record, I was not looking at him or messing with him down the front straight away. I wasn’t messing with him, I just didn’t want him to cut back inside of me so I tried for block it.
What happened in the crash? You lose the front end.
I hit [Jimmy] Albertson, we came together, hit my front brake and I went down.
Something to build on here?
I guess. Ten races in and we’re still working on stuff. But we’ve got a solid grasp on third place in the points, so I’m not a fourth place guy anymore, I’m third! [Laughs].
I’m looking forward to it. I feel like the last two weekends have been better, and I think once we get it right, we’ll be hard to beat. I know, I sound like a broken record. But everyone is trying hard, we get an A for effort for sure. We’re definitely making improvements, and I think being on the East Coast helps us.
"We were looking at the data, and something happened right off the gate. When I dumped the throttle, it didn’t go when I thought it would." - James Stewart
Photo: Carl Stone
Brett Metcalfe, Yoshimura Suzuki, 8th in SX Class
Racer X: Brett Metcalfe, how was it?
Brett Metcalfe: How was it? It was ok. Held down in eighth spot tonight. That’s nothing to write home about. The best thing that came from today was the way I was riding today. That was much better. Over the halfway point now. So, like I said, I’ve gotta get better results and then, to finish out the championship where I want to be which is in a top five position, I’m really going to have to buckle down and get some results.
Compare where you were last year at this time, your first year in the class, with now. Have you made big strides and learned a lot about the bike?
Today was the best day we’ve had.
Really? With the bike?
Best day out of all the supercrosses so far?
Out of everything so far. So that’s really good. Because where we’re at right now, we need to define something to make progress, to be strong for the rest of the last half and we found that today. We’ve got something really good to build off of now and now we can just go in and do it.
Jake Canada, Team MotoConcepts, 6th place in the SX Lites class
The night went good. I qualified seventh in practice and then in the heat race [I] got a decent jump. I ended up squeezing in on the inside and coming out pretty good. I rode good in that, I felt like. I got third. That was my best heat race so far. Going into the main I got a good jump, stayed tight inside and I think I came out fifth or sixth. I made a couple passes and rode around in fourth for ten laps, I think. And then I don’t think I was breathing, or wasn’t doing something. I was getting a little nervous because I got a little tired at the end. Wharton and Durham got by me but I think it was a good weekend—a good building block for sure. I’m excited to go into next weekend.
Atlanta was pretty slippery and this track was the opposite—it had some good traction. Which one did you like better?
Well, the only reason I would say Atlanta is because I didn’t get tired. This track had some good traction and ruts, but the ruts made it a little sketchy. It’s good, I’m not totally used to it because I’ve only done West so I’m slowly getting used to it. I’ve liked all three tracks actually. They’re the best supercross tracks I’ve raced on. I’m pumped on the East.
"And then I don’t think I was breathing, or wasn’t doing something. I was getting a little nervous because I got a little tired at the end." - Jake Canada
Photo: Carl Stone
Nick Wey, Motosport.com/Ti-Lube/Foremost Kawasaki, 10th place in the SX Class
I heard you were a little sick coming into this race. Did that take a toll on you having to come from the LCQ to get to the main?
Yeah, I mean, it didn’t help for sure. Like you said, coming in under the weather and having a day of riding—and even that was pretty light. I was ninth in practice, which is definitely an improvement from where I’ve been so I was happy about that. I had a crash in my heat race and hit my head a little bit—blew my visor off. Big Nasty is working super hard on the bike and he got things tuned up to get ready for the LCQ. I ended up winning that, which is cool for my sponsors because the live TV got them some good time. Obviously I had a super bad gate pick but came through and rode pretty decent to get a tenth in the main, which is not so bad. I think we’re going to be able to do much better in the races to come. I appreciate the help from everybody and the team and Motosport.com, the Ti-Lube guys, Foremost Insurance, Rockstar, MSR, and my whole Mafia crew for having my back. I appreciate it and we’re going to do better in the weeks to come.
Alex Martin, Eleven10 Mods, 10th place in the SX Lites class
It was kind of one of those nights where you’re just happy to get through it. I have a couple things I need to improve on. I’ve been riding kind of tight and getting arm pump. I just need to keep putting in motos during the week and putting my time in and the results will come. It’s kind of nice being here though—St. Louis. It’s kind of a hometown race so I had a lot of friends and family here. That was kind of cool. It makes you ride a little harder during the main. The dirt was kind of like Millville so that helped. It kind of broke down and got kind of rutty during the main. All-in-all it was a good night. Tenth place is definitely something to build on and we have five or six races left.
I definitely think I can improve on the tenth. It just depends where everyone is. Tonight in St. Louis, it seems like nobody really crashed. All of the big guys were up there in the top ten. I had [Blake] Baggett behind me for eight or nine laps, so that just goes to show you how stacked the class is right now. If everybody stays up it’s going to be tough, but seems like you always have a couple races where something crazy happens and you can slip into the top five or even the podium. You just have to get a good start and put yourself in the right position.
"It was kind of one of those nights where you’re just happy to get through it. I have a couple things I need to improve on." - Alex Martin
Photo: Carl Stone