Although Eli Tomac, Trey Canard, and James Stewart may have something to say about this before it’s all over, it’s looking like the 2014 450 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is coming down to a battle between Red Bull KTM teammates Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen.
As of today, Roczen has four wins and holds a 26-point lead with ten motos left. Roczen’s made the podium in every moto so far; Dungey’s been off it just twice and has two overall wins. Although we like to crown overall champions on the day, it’s the motos that really matter, and those two fourth places for Dungey have been a huge hit to his title chances.
The German kid has indeed been stellar, but this is something Dungey was prepared for. “I rode with him [Roczen] when we were testing beforehand,” Dungey told the PulpMX Show last night “He was really going good. He works hard and works with Aldon Baker, which he didn’t have before. He’s naturally gifted and does things that others don’t. He’s patient. The way I go fast around a track is completely different from him, and he makes it look easy. He keeps me on my toes, and I’ve got to step it up.”
This past weekend at Budds Creek, Dungey did step it up. Although he didn’t gain any points on Roczen, his fantastic second moto ride to snatch the overall means that going into his home track Millville this weekend, Dungey has to make a move on Roczen. Time is running out.
Or is it?
As he ages, Dungey’s falling into a realization that you can’t win them all (although at times it seems like he has), and there will be another weekend of racing. He’s not happy with not winning, but he’s stopping a bit more to smell the roses.
“For a while there in 2010, we had a lot of wins. When you get a second or a third, which isn’t bad at all—it would make me so upset,” Dungey said. “I didn’t know how to handle it at all. You’ve got to learn how to take a second or a third. The goal is to win, and I guess I had a hard time learning that I should be happy [without winning]. Because there were times I wasn’t happy! I found a balance now, and I’m sticking to it.”
If Ryan does come up short in this title hunt, it’s not going to be the end of the world for him. His place in the sport is assured—he moved into second all-time in 450MX wins behind Ricky Carmichael and third in all-time outdoor national wins.
“I’m enjoying this for sure,” he said. “There are tough points. As a kid you come in and you have all this raw energy and you work, work, work. As the years go by you lose that kid energy, and you start to feel things with your body. You’ve got to find out what works for you and what doesn’t.”
What’s working for Dungey right now is whatever he did in that second moto at Budds Creek. Now he’s got to hope it keeps working for him this weekend in front of his home fans.