Four-time and reigning Monster Energy AMA Supercross champion Ryan Dungey has retired from racing.
The 27-year-old Minnesota native wrapped up his third consecutive Supercross title May 6 in Las Vegas after winning three races this season and holding off upstart Eli Tomac by five points.
“It’s definitely hard to believe that this day has come, but after a lot of thinking over the last several months, today I announce my retirement from racing professional supercross and motocross,” Dungey said Tuesday. “I never dreamed I could make a living racing dirt bikes. Even if I thought I could, no one would have expected a kid from Minnesota to make it.”
Dungey explained that this year for the first time in his career, he found it difficult to motivate himself to compete each week. He took that as a sign that it was time to consider retirement.
“I’ve gone as hard as I can for as long as I can and our sport is tough,” Dungey said. “The seasons are long and it takes a huge amount of sacrifice, hard work and discipline to stay on top. Physically I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. Race craft, I am in the best shape of my life. I have the equipment to win, there is no doubt about that. However, mentally this year I have struggled.
“I’ve always raced because I loved it and wanted so bad to win,” Dungey continued. “This season was just different for me. Getting my head into the game each week just wasn’t the same. Lining up and being able to focus like I always had 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 a paycheck and just race to the finish, but that’s not who I am and that’s not how I want to race or be remembered.”
Dungey became the fifth rider in Monster Energy Supercross history to win three consecutive 450SX class titles. He also becomes just the fourth rider in the history of the sport to win at least four Supercross championships — Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath and Ryan Villopoto.
“We didn’t win the most races (this season), but the points are what matter at the end,” Dungey said after wrapping up the Supercross title. “We fought hard, tooth and nail. This was these most challenging and the hardest season of my entire career. It’s just nice to be here and sit on top.”
And on top is where he’ll end a sterling career.
In addition to four Supercross titles, Dungey won three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championships and earned championships in the 250 class in Supercross and motocross in 2009.
Dungey is tied for sixth in all-time 450 Supercross victories (34) and sixth place in all-time Supercross combined wins between the 250 SX and 450 SX classes. He also ranks second on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross winners list with 39 450cc victories.
Dungey is fourth on the combined Supercross and motocross winners list with 80 victories.