EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ryan Dungey rolled through a lot of memories in the past year while speeding toward a goal he reached Saturday night.
Dungey, a 26-year-old native of Belle Plaine, clinched his second consecutive Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship and his third overall by finishing fourth in the 450SX main event at MetLife Stadium.
That goes into the memory bank and onto the trophy case with some other big accomplishments. Since last season ended, Dungey has appeared on the cover of a Wheaties box and received an ESPY award. And this season he won eight races.
“The racing success is obviously what we work for every day, and it no doubt feels good when those things pay off,” he told USA Today. “But for me, being an ambassador of the sport is so important. The Wheaties box, the ESPY and all of the other things I’ve been lucky enough to experience are just a bonus to the racing success.”
Dungey, riding for Red Bull KTM, needed to finish 14th or better in Saturday’s main event to clinch the title. He barely did more than the minimum, taking no risks. His streak of consecutive podium finishes ended at 31, and he remained tied with Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time list for podium finishes with 87.
Dungey’s streak of finishing among the top two ended at 20 races, and he remained sixth all-time in victories with 30 in his career.
“The repetitive, back-to-back challenge was the tough part,” Dungey said. “Every championship is special, but being able to defend last year’s championship is a huge accomplishment.”
In July, Dungey received an ESPY for best male action sports athlete. In January, he made advertising history by becoming the first motocross rider featured on a box of Wheaties.
And Saturday he made it clear he’s among racing royalty. Yet he wants more.
“I feel like there’s a lot left to accomplish in my career,” he said. “Our better days are ahead. I believe that.”