Ryan Dungey, the Minnesota grown dirtbike star, retired from competition Tuesday.
The surprise announcement came just 10 days after Dungey won the AMA/FIM Supercross World Championship. He made the announcement Tuesday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., in front of family, friends and his team, revealing the past year has been a struggle for him mentally.
Dungey, 27, said he is in top racing form and in great shape physically, but will step away from the sport in the prime of his career.
“It's hard to believe that this day has come but after a lot of thinking and praying over the last several months, today I announce my retirement from racing professional supercross and motocross,” Dungey told media at Tuesday’s press conference. “This decision has not been an easy one. I've achieved more than I ever could have imagined or dreamed of and for all of this I am incredibly humbled and honored. I've gone as hard as I can for as long as I can but the reality is that our sport is tough, the seasons are long and it takes a huge amount of sacrifice, hard work and discipline to stay on top. Physically I feel that I'm in the best shape of my life, race craft-wise I'm in the best shape of my life and I have the equipment to win, there's no doubt about that. However, this year I have struggled mentally.”
From 2010-2015, Dungey finished either first or second in the final championship standings and failed to earn a podium result only six times during that stretch. He suffered multiple fractures in his neck result of a crash last season, but got back on the bike to win another AMA/FIM Supercross championship.
Dungey’s 92 career AMA wins rank among the sport's all-time top winners. Currently, he is statistically the second-most successful rider in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship history. He was also the first motocross athlete to appear on a Wheaties Box.
“Racing has taken me places I couldn’t imagine,” Dungey said told the Star Tribune earlier this year. “Looking back, it’s been amazing how it all worked out. … I have nothing to prove anybody.”
Dungey spent his childhood in Carver and then Chaska before the family moved to Belle Plaine when he was 15. His father Troy was a successful amateur dirtbike rider as a Minnesota youth and built a racetrack on the family’s 5-acre property for his sons to learn to ride on.
"I have always raced because I love it and want so badly to win, but this season was just different for me,” Dungey said Tuesday. “Getting my head into the game each week just wasn't the same and lining up and being able to focus like I always had in the past was just different. I never thought I would get to a place where I had to talk myself into starting a race but that's how it was for me - and the truth is that bothers me a lot. I could easily take the paycheck and just race to finish but that's not who I am and not how I want to race, nor be remembered. I said on the podium in Las Vegas a week and a half ago that this championship win meant the most out of all my supercross titles because the truth is, I had to fight the hardest for this one. Not necessarily because of the battles on the track, though those were good and tough, but because I had to mentally push myself like never before to get it done. And to come out on top and hold onto the championship title for the third year in a row is an unbelievable blessing that I'm incredibly proud of."