In Photos: Ryan Dungey Retrospective

Last week, motocross and Supercross racer Ryan Dungey announced his retirement. The 11 year racing veteran’s decision comes on the heels of what was one of his most challenging championship fights to date; a battle in which he once again came out on top. In fact, his most recent Supercross number one plate is his third consecutive title in the 450 class, making the Minnesota native an eight-time national champion. This comes along with various other titles like the 2009 250 West SX championship, and several Motocross of Nations victories for Team USA.

Although the ever polite yet fiercely competitive rider is only 27 years old, he has accomplished enough in his career to make just about any professional athlete jealous. To celebrate the accomplishments of this motocross great, I decided to take a look back at some of my favorite photos that I was fortunate enough to capture of the champ during his illustrious career.

Ryan Dungey (no. 142 on the yellow machine) has a strong start in the 250 class at Broome-Tioga near Binghamton, NY during hi
Ryan Dungey (no. 142 on the yellow machine) has a strong start in the 250 class at Broome-Tioga near Binghamton, NY during his second ever professional race in 2006, scoring 15th overall. His pro debut netted him seventh overall the week before at his hometown track, Spring Creek in Minnesota.
Dungey was plucked out of the amateur ranks as a relative unknown by “The Man” himself, Roger DeCoster. The five-time world c
Dungey was plucked out of the amateur ranks as a relative unknown by “The Man” himself, Roger DeCoster. The five-time world champion and legendary team manager saw potential in Ryan when he was still in the “B” class. Most riders spend at least a year racing in the “A” class before turning pro. Instead, DeCoster moved Dungey straight from the “B” class into the 250cc pro class, and the move began to pay off almost immediately.
Dungey had plenty of adversaries throughout his career, but his closest rival in terms of speed and sheer number of times the
Dungey had plenty of adversaries throughout his career, but his closest rival in terms of speed and sheer number of times they battled head-to-head was Ryan Villopoto (bottom right). Here, the two fight over first place in Dungey’s sophomore season at the Budds Creek National in 2008.
Ryan began to come into his own in 2009. After narrowly losing out on both the 250 West SX and 250 National Outdoor titles in
Ryan began to come into his own in 2009. After narrowly losing out on both the 250 West SX and 250 National Outdoor titles in 2008, Dungey conquered both demons in 2009 by taking both championships. Although he was never thought of as a stylish rider, I snapped this shot of Ryan going “scrubbing” over the finish line jump at the RedBud National in 2009. Looks pretty stylish to me.
In 2010, Dungey made the jump up to the premiere 450 class where he shocked the MX world by capturing both the coveted AMA Su
In 2010, Dungey made the jump up to the premiere 450 class where he shocked the MX world by capturing both the coveted AMA Supercross and National Outdoor titles in his rookie year, an unprecedented feat. Only Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath ever captured a SX title as a rookie, but Dungey stands alone in taking both championships in his first attempt. Here, Ryan soars through Pennsylvania skies in 2010 at the now defunct Steel City National.
Dungey checks his six o’clock while mid-flight at the 2010 Atlanta Supercross, which he would later go onto win. Ryan would w
Dungey checks his six o’clock while mid-flight at the 2010 Atlanta Supercross, which he would later go onto win. Ryan would win six main events in his 450 rookie season on his way to capturing the title.
In 2011, Team Honda decided to bump Justin Barcia (left) up to the 450 class for the last few outdoor rounds. Unfortunately f
In 2011, Team Honda decided to bump Justin Barcia (left) up to the 450 class for the last few outdoor rounds. Unfortunately for Dungey (right), Barcia was also immediately in the front mix just as Ryan’s points battle with the other Ryan (Villopoto) was heating up.
Dungey’s mother does her best to comfort Ryan as the championship slips away. In 2011, as Hurricane Irene began to wreak havo
Dungey’s mother does her best to comfort Ryan as the championship slips away. In 2011, as Hurricane Irene began to wreak havoc on the Northeast, Dungey’s factory Suzuki RM-Z450 experienced mechanical difficulties, and technicians could not get the machine running before the start of the second moto. The gate dropped and Ryan was left on the sidelines as the race began. This was one of the only times in Dungey’s career that the normally reserved rider let his emotions show through.
Dungey’s 2011 team Suzuki mechanic Mike Gosselaar is well known for his composure, but even the coolest of characters have th
Dungey’s 2011 team Suzuki mechanic Mike Gosselaar is well known for his composure, but even the coolest of characters have their breaking points. This shot was taken as Gosselaar brought Dungey’s disfunctional motorcycle down to the starting grid seconds after the 450 gate dropped. In a panic, the bike stalled once again as the machine was being handed from mechanic to rider, and the duo struggled to get it up and running once again.
After finally restarting the ailing RM-Z450, Dungey rocketed through the starting grid, crossing over the starting gate nearl
After finally restarting the ailing RM-Z450, Dungey rocketed through the starting grid, crossing over the starting gate nearly a minute behind the rest of the 40-rider field as fans cheered on and Hurricane Irene began to rear her ugly side.
Southwick 2011 was one of the many heroic rides during Dungey’s career. Battling through sand, rain and heartbreak, Ryan pass
Southwick 2011 was one of the many heroic rides during Dungey’s career. Battling through sand, rain and heartbreak, Ryan passed 33 riders on his way to seventh place in the second moto to salvage third place overall. It would be one of the last rides aboard yellow machinery for the long-time Suzuki.
Steel City in 2011 was one of the closest races of Dungey’s career. Once again battling Ryan Villopoto (right), the title was
Steel City in 2011 was one of the closest races of Dungey’s career. Once again battling Ryan Villopoto (right), the title was on the line at the penultimate round of the championship. Dungey’s heartbreak from the Southwick round a week before also tightened up the championship points race, and Villopoto smelled blood in the water. This particular battle came all the way down to the finish line. This time around Villopoto took both the win for the day and the championship itself.
In 2012, Ryan made a hugely controversial move over to the Red Bull KTM team. The decision allowed Dungey to follow his mento
In 2012, Ryan made a hugely controversial move over to the Red Bull KTM team. The decision allowed Dungey to follow his mentor, Roger DeCoster, whom had transferred to managing the Austrian manufacturer’s US team the year prior. The move began to pay off almost immediately when Dungey scored the first ever 450SX class win for KTM at the second round in Phoenix, AZ.
While Ryan did not come out on top in Supercross in 2012, outdoors would prove to be a different story. Early season battles
While Ryan did not come out on top in Supercross in 2012, outdoors would prove to be a different story. Early season battles with the returning James Stewart (7) had fans on their feet, watching two greats duke it out lap after lap. Stewart would wind up on top of this particular fight at Hangtown.
A week after Hangtown, the Stewart-Dungey duo once again went head-to-head, this time at the Freestone National in Texas. Add
A week after Hangtown, the Stewart-Dungey duo once again went head-to-head, this time at the Freestone National in Texas. Adding to the race, was the coincidentally matched gear from two different clothing companies paired with the fact that both riders were the only two wearing Nike’s exclusive boots. Throw in the Red Bull and Oakley sponsorships, and the riders were near mirrors of each other.
Once again, James Stewart came out ahead of the Freestone duel. However, that would be the end of Stewart’s hold on the red l
Once again, James Stewart came out ahead of the Freestone duel. However, that would be the end of Stewart’s hold on the red leader plate. One week later he would crash out of the series in Colorado, handing the lead and eventual championship over to Dungey.
From 2012 through 2017, Ryan Dungey would capture five national titles aboard his Red Bull KTM 450SX-F, becoming one of the m
From 2012 through 2017, Ryan Dungey would capture five national titles aboard his Red Bull KTM 450SX-F, becoming one of the most successful riders of all time. Here, Ryan flies through the hot and humid skies of the notorious Lake Elsinore National in Southern California in 2013.
Ryan (center) celebrates the final win of his career at the 2017 New Jersey Supercross flanked by two of his Baker’s Factory
Ryan (center) celebrates the final win of his career at the 2017 New Jersey Supercross flanked by two of his Baker’s Factory training partners, Marvin Musquin (right) and Jason Anderson. After training essentially on his own for much of his career, Dungey switched over to working with longtime trainer Aldon Baker in 2015, and the results spoke for themselves.
Aldon Baker gives Ryan post-race pep talk in New Jersey, 2017.
Aldon Baker gives Ryan post-race pep talk in New Jersey, 2017.
Congratulations on an amazing career, Ryan Dungey!
Congratulations on an amazing career, Ryan Dungey!

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