Ryan Dungey retired from the sport after winning the 2017 AMA Supercross 450SX championship. The 2017 championship was his third straight and he leaves the sport already reaching legendary status. Despite being in fantastic physical condition, Dungey cited mental reasons as determining it was the proper time to retire from the sport.
Dungey turned pro in 2006 and it would only take him a few seasons before he started to dominate the sport. His breakout season came in 2008 when he finished 2nd place in both the AMA Supercross 250 Lites West and the AMA Pro Motocross Lites. He took things a step further in 2009 by winning the championship in both the Supercross Lites West and Motocross 250.
In 2010, Dungey made the transition to the 450 class and his impact was immediately felt. He became the 2nd rookie to ever win the championship in the AMA Supercross 450SX class. Dungey would not win another Supercross 450SX championship until 2015, but he would always be one of the top riders in the class. However, during this stretch, Dungey would win championships in the AMA Pro Motocross 450cc class. He captured the championship in 2010, 2012, and would win another in 2016.
Dungey concluded his career with numbers that are unfathomable to comprehend. He holds a record for the most consecutive top-2 finishes with 20. With his championship in 2017, he became the 5th Supercross rider to win three consecutive championships. In over 130 starts on the AMA Supercross 450SX circuit, he only finished outside the top-10 on two occasions and outside the top-5 on twelve occasions. It is a testament to his consistency as a rider and a major contributor to his championships. In addition, he concluded his career on the 450SX circuit ranked 6th in all-time wins with 34.
Dungey not only made a tremendous impact on the track in Supercross and Motocross, but he represented his country on multiple occasions. He captained Team USA at Motocross of Nations a remarkable seven times and he led Team USA to championships three times.
After achieving arguably more success than any other rider in the sport, Dungey’s accolades were recognized off the race track. He won ESPY Awards in 2015 and 2016 as the Best Action Sports Male Athlete. He became the first Supercross rider to appear in ESPN’s The Body Magazine by doing so in 2016. In addition, he would find himself on the cover of a Wheaties Box becoming the first Motocross rider to be featured on one.
Other remarkable achievements by Dungey include establishing the St. Jude Ride MN Major which is a fundraiser to build funds for cancer research.
The Belle Plaine, Minnesota native solidified himself as one of the best overall riders the sport has ever known. His nine overall championships in Supercross and Motocross made him a living legend before retirement in 2017 at the age of 27. His impact on and off the track will be felt for years to come and he will be one of the measuring sticks of success for aspiring riders for years to come.