NOOOO!!!!!!!! Not only is this Dungey injury a huge blow to the series, it’s a huge blow to myself because, if you’re wondering, I WAS THE ONE WHO WROTE BENCH RACING AMMO LAST WEEK ABOUT DUNGEY NEVER MISSING A RACE DUE TO INJURY!
As soon as that story posted, I got a text from a friend saying, “You just jinxed the sh&t out of Dungey.” Well, jinxing is ridiculous and not true and if some hack writer like myself has that kind of power over the health of other human beings, well, I should be in a different field. Imagine the things I could do with this power of “jinxing.” World domination! Give me all of your money or I’ll get you injured!
(And if you really want to source out your jinxing, give it to ESPN.com's BJ Smith, who penned a story about Kevin Windham's 200th race in Atlanta and mentioned Dungey never missing a SX main since entering the class full time. It's that story that prompted us to look beyond into Dungey's Lites SX career and write last week's article. So I guess this one is on Windham.)
Seriously, though, it is strange to see the two of the most consistent riders this sport has ever seen, Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey, go out with injuries within about a week of each other. This will immediately spark thoughts of why so many riders are getting hurt, but remember, the same guys made it through the entire season last year, and we can’t possibly say that the tracks/bikes/speed/safety gear has changed that much in one year. And for all of the neck-braces-break-collarbones conspiracy theorists, let it be known that Dungey no longer wears one. He busted his collarbone the same way folks were doing it back in the 1970s: by crashing. It happens.
Meanwhile the only thing I am bummed on: reporter’s instincts. I watched Dungey like a hawk last weekend in St. Louis, even standing around the corner from the KTM truck for 20 minutes in the morning while he sat on his bike an adjusted the levers. You could tell he was testing his shoulder’s range of motion while sitting on the bike, but the shoulder seemed to be in good shape. And he looked fine every time he was on the track, including his great main event ride for second. Then I talked to Dungey for quite awhile after the race, and he was hanging with friends and family and team folks without any sign of pain. Everything seemed fine. No emergencies. No cause for alarm. But even at that, I should have known things could get worse after logging three practices a heat race and 20 laps. Especially when you’re next faced with the roughest supercross of them all at Daytona.
Believe in jinxing and everything else all you want. Dungey’s injury really just shows the randomness of the sport. Which either means Ryan Villopoto is due up next for bad luck and James Stewart will pull off the greatest comeback in the history of the sport, or, it means absolutely nothing. I say Villopoto will shrug off all questions about “backing it down” and will try to just keep doing what he has been doing all along. The dude isn’t going to hand Stewart or anybody else a bunch of wins just to protect the points lead. He’d probably rather not even acknowledge the points. Why? He doesn’t even want to face the whole idea of jinxing himself!
I had heard that Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey had a crack in his collarbone and got a plate put in earlier this week but honestly, I always just thought he’d be racing this weekend in Daytona. You don’t get to be a multi-time champion like Dungey by not fighting through some adversity and not being a tough guy. In the end though, when the PR dropped this afternoon, even the toughest guys can’t do the impossible. Not to mention that Daytona is the worst supercross track to try and race with a shoulder joint/collarbone.
His practice crash the week before St. Louis was a gnarly one I had heard through people that are around the KTM camp and he was lucky to make it to St. Louis. And Ryan racing and getting second at St. Louis is again, a testament to his toughness.
Coming off an epic 2011, this definitely isn’t what the series itself needs. The injury to Dungey just piles up alongside the pains of Chad Reed, Trey Canard, Ryan Morais, Austin Stroupe, Michael Byrne and many others and makes for a less interesting race no doubt. It’s Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto’s title to lose at this point and even a James Stewart re-birth and return to dominance isn’t going to stop that fact. He’s too many points down. Not too mention I highly doubt at this point he’s just going to start whupping up on RV every single week.
No matter how long Dungey is out (the PR didn’t say) in many ways, Ryan’s debut season on the KTM has been successful and he’s proved the skeptics (of which I was one) that said he couldn’t take an all-new bike and win this much, this fast wrong. He’s been his usual very fast, steady self whether the color under him is yellow or orange and that right there, is a victory for Ryan and KTM. Let’s hope we see him back soon.
When news broke earlier today that Dungey would be out for Daytona it wasn’t that big of a shock. I had spoken to a source earlier this week that told me, “Don’t be surprised to see something on Friday that Dungey is out for Daytona.” Well that little birdie hit the nail on the head.
It’s another devastating injury—in an already injury ravished year—and a big blow to the series, unless Stewart can get his act together and begin to challenge for wins. Instead of sugar coating this to death, I will leave you with these four words: It’s over. Congrats RV!