Open Mic: 450 Interviews

Open Mic 450 Interviews

August 25, 2014 1:30pm

Ryan Dungey, Red Bull KTM, 2-2 for second overall in 450 Class

Talk about your day. It was a good race as far as the racing results were concerned, but I know you wanted the championship. How does it feel when you look back at it?
Overall, the day was good. The way the track was this morning it was pretty muddy, and then actually, with no rain all day, it actually turned out to be quite good. Obviously going for a championship, we had to have had a lot to go right today and in our favor to win the championship, so it was a little bit of a long shot. But we believed in it, and we did the best we could. I think to make the day a little bit better, could have got 1-1, but still that wouldn’t have changed things. Beginning of the season, I lost a lot in the beginning. I kind of put myself in that position, dug a little hole. Once I got things figured out I started chipping away and dang near closed the gap, and then that mudder last week kind of put us back. Overall, I feel really good about the season. I’m happy for Ken [Roczen] that he won it. He raced hard all year long. I learned a lot. Obviously, we want the championship, so it’s a bummer we came up a little short, but I’ve got to channel that energy into next year and what I’ve learned. The more important thing for me is that I feel good and confident about how to go about it and get ready for 2015. 

It did seem like something clicked for you the second half of the year. What was it that led you to definitely raise your game?
I feel like it was a little bit of bike. We got a little bit better with the bike setup. Nothing internally; mainly clickers, actually. So that was really good. Then just mentally figuring things out. I felt a little scatter-brained there at the beginning of the year. Nothing terrible; I just was a little confused and sought out some help from a mental coach, and it really helped a lot. But, like I said, we were in a hole and that’s where I was. So I think we did a dang good job the second half of the season. So I’m really happy about that.

After RedBud Kenny had a pretty big points lead . How were you able to dig yourself out? I know a lot of people were thinking it’s over, but you actually came back stronger after that. How hard is it to bounce back like you did?
I had to win. I had to go out there and I had to beat Kenny. From Budds Creek on there were a few motos that he finished ahead of me, but we almost always were walking away with more points. That was just the goal. I had to be rock-solid to be able to keep pushing because he was solid. He was first, second, third every race. It’s hard to gain points when you’re going against another guy who’s dang near just as consistent as you are.

"I think to make the day a little bit better, could have got 1-1, but still that wouldn’t have changed things. Beginning of the season, I lost a lot in the beginning." - Dungey Photo: Simon Cudby

How about that first moto? You guys were back and forth quite a bit in there. That was some great racing.
Yeah, it was definitely a great race. It was funny because from practice I didn’t even use the changes I made in the last practice because I knew it was going to dry out, so I set my bike up for that. Actually, they tilled the whole track and groomed the whole thing, so it was pretty smooth. So it made for good racing. The lines actually developed quick because the dirt was soft. But I sat third there a while, and we were all right there. I was able to get around Kenny and got passed back because of lappers. Then I was able to get him again. It was good. The track was, you wouldn’t have noticed it was 1:44 lap times when you’re in the heat of battle. It really wasn’t that bad. The track turned out awesome. I was really pumped on it and had a lot of fun.

Compare the first year to the second year here.
I think the second year was better. Definitely would have liked to see the lap times a little bit longer. None taken from them—the track was awesome. I think that the rain last night really made the track even better than the first year. I think there could have been more, maybe, 180s and stuff like that. It seemed there was nowhere to pass. It was really hard. There were a few lines. I think some tighter stuff, and when they set up the option areas to make them identical if not more closer. It seemed like most of the track, that one line favored the whole, and if you got out of it, it was hard to make that pass. You almost had to hope for a mistake. But it was good; don’t get me wrong.

With the championship on the line, were you surprised that he battled you as hard as he did his first moto?
No, not at all. The championship is there; obviously you know that. But when it comes time to line up, that’s out of your head. You’ve got to be smart and not do anything stupid, but also the second you start playing it safe and start riding cautiously, that’s when stuff happens. It’s important to just proceed with the same game plan you approach every race with. That’s where the mental toughness comes in and staying in that moment. 

You said you learned a lot this year. I know that you’re somewhat of a veteran in the class, at least compared to Kenny. But you’re obviously already looking forward to next year.
I am. There’s a little bit of a disappointment, but like I said, that’s more fuel for the fire in 2015. I was really happy with my season as far as just myself. Last year I felt I got to the end and I was totally burnt out, done, I was just wiped. This year I felt like we can go race another five rounds. So I was really excited about that. It sucks to lose. It’s always tough, but next year’s another chance and another opportunity, so we’ll get ready for that. Then we got the Motocross of Nations coming up too, so I’m excited with that. 

Eli Tomac, GEICO Honda, 4-3 for third overall in 450 Class

You won the 250s here last year. Ryan Villopoto won the 450s, but he didn’t race today. So we were thinking of you as a favorite. How do you feel your afternoon went?
Honestly, this season has been pretty awesome for me. I can’t really expect too much more for my first year on the 450. Going into the first moto the way we all finished, we basically kind of started that way too. I was close on the start, really close. I actually think I should have pushed it a little bit harder into the first corner because I pretty much had it and then just got swept and then even got passed on the inside too. So, bad on my part there. Then at that point all four of us were just kind of in a train and just battling. For me it was tough to make up time and make passes too. So first moto went like that, and then second moto comes around. Another decent start, and not making one pass and just kind of ride my way to third.

Did you have a mistake at one point in moto one? You were right there behind the two KTM guys, and it seemed like they skipped away. In the mechanics area turn or something like that?
Yeah, I just tipped over. All the inside ruts there. That’s how those three got away.

"Honestly, this season has been pretty awesome for me. I can’t really expect too much more for my first year on the 450." - Tomac Photo: Simon Cudby

Do you wish this season kept going? You missed the first couple rounds. You’re obviously riding really well now. A lot of people probably burned out because they’ve raced all the races. How do you feel about it?
For how I feel right now I want to keep going, but like I said, I can’t expect too much. Definitely satisfied for how it went for what I had. It’s going to be fun going to Latvia. I won’t take too much time off. 

And just compare the track last year to this year second time around.
To be straight up honest, I actually wasn’t a huge fan of the layout itself just because it was a pretty short track. The lap times were below two minutes, so that’s a lot of laps out there. And they did take some of the corners out that were there last year. So, for passing options and just lap times, I think we should have some more 180 corners or some more S-turns or something a little bit different.