LAS VEGAS — A crowd of 36,714 fans braved a day and night filled with rain at Sam Boyd Stadium to celebrate the end of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship.
One week after clinching his third career 450SX Class title, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey survived the most difficult track conditions of the season to capture his ninth win of championship to cap off his successful title defense by moving into a tie as the winningest rider in Las Vegas history.
In the annual 250SX Class East/West Shootout, GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb were crowned champions in the Eastern and Western regions, respectively, while Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy took his third win of the season.
Dungey put himself in position to win out of the gate of the shortened 16-lap 450SX Class Main Event by claiming his championship-leading seventh SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award. With a clear track ahead of him in the difficult conditions, Dungey was able to separate himself from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson in second and RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen in third. Roczen was in chase of a third consecutive victory and made a push on the opening lap to pass Anderson for second in the whoops.
Roczen closed in on Dungey and applied pressure to the champ for several laps, with both riders fighting to find the fastest lines on the treacherous racing surface. The lead duo quickly approached lappers, which allowed Roczen to get even closer to Dungey and make a pass for the lead on lap five.
However, Roczen made a costly mistake just a short time later and crashed after coming up short on a jump. As he went down his Suzuki tumbled across the track right into Dungey’s path, forcing the KTM rider to the ground as well after landing on Roczen’s bike. Both riders got up quickly and were able to get back on their bikes, with Dungey restarting first and continuing on in the lead. Roczen was able to retain second, but soon pulled off the track and eventually recorded a DNF. That gave second place to Anderson and third to Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac.
As Dungey continued to work his way through lappers, Anderson was able to take advantage of his slowed momentum and close in. However, as the laps wore on Dungey remained consistent and a few small mistakes from Anderson allowed the champ the pull away. He took the win just under 12 seconds ahead of Anderson, with Tomac rounding out the podium in third.
The ninth win for Dungey this season set a new career-best mark, and signified his 31st career 450SX Class victory. He completed the season with 16 podium finishes in 17 races, highlighted by a 31-race podium streak that dated back to last season.
“We really focused on the last couple races of the season to get the championship. We wanted to end the season strong and that was the goal tonight,” said Dungey. “These were definitely the toughest conditions of the season. Ken [Roczen] was putting on a charge and riding well, but he made a mistake and I had nowhere to go. Thankfully I was able to get up and get going again, and finish strong. I’m really glad we came out on top tonight.”
Despite a season-worst 20th-place finish, Roczen secured the runner-up spot in the final championship standings. Anderson completed a breakout season with a career-best third place finish in the points.