Ryan Dungey interview - MXoN and more
Interview Friday 20th August 2010 By TransworldMotocross
He may not have the style of Windham, or the sheer, raw speed of Stewart or Villopoto, but he does have an insatiable drive to win, which what he has been doing a lot of. Critics will never be completely silenced, but Dungey’s performance last weekend at Unadilla probably rallied a few more fans to his cause. We rang up Ryan in Florida after yet another training session to find out his thoughts on the race in New York, the championship so far, and the upcoming Motocross of Nations.
Did you approach this weekend any different than you have approached the rest of the races, knowing that James Stewart and Clement DeSalle would both be there?
No not really. I knew about everything coming up and that both of those guys were going to be there. But, to be honest I just tried to have an open mind and just stick to the game plan like we have been doing all summer. With James coming back, he obviously has a lot of talent and speed and he is one of the biggest things in sports. I thought it was good to have him there; he is back to riding and healthy again. It was great for the sport, not only because the racing was good, but also just for the fans. I think DeSalle surprised a lot of people. It was pretty cool that he came over and raced with us; he held strong and came out with second. In the second moto we had a little battle and it was fun for me and I think for the fans as well.
Your race with DeSalle was really one of the few times we have seen you deal with a head-to-head battle outdoors this year.
I did have a few battles towards the beginning of the season with Josh Grant at High Point and then again in Colorado in the first moto, which he was able to win. But
Unadilla is always one of those tracks where, if you go out of the main line, you can lose a lot of time. But then if you can stay in that main line, you can also gain a lot. That makes it a pretty tough track and with DeSalle, he and I were sitting around third and fourth, and then about halfway through the race we got out into the lead, with him out front. He definitely had some good lines and that made it difficult. As the race went on, I was able to improve my lines a little bit here and there and eventually get around him.
Is it a big confidence booster when you can come out on top of a battle like that?
It definitely helps your confidence when you can win a fight like that. But to be honest it was more a situation where I would venture off of the main line and then lose time trying to catch up and he would do the same. We just kept finding each other out on the track no matter where we were. It is good to be able to go the distance and come out on top and it is obviously good for the sport to have close races like what DeSalle and I had.
Going neck and neck like that can take a lot out of you. You sometimes catch yourself holding your breath, but that is where the fun comes in as well. All of the hard work is done before you ever get to the track and that is what allows you to go at it.
How much does strategy play into your racing? Like you said, you do not want to forget to breath in the middle of a fight for position, which could spell the end of your moto, but you also can’t be too relaxed.
Yeah, your heart rate gets up and then all of a sudden, if it is a hotter day, your recovery isn’t as good, so you can’t get your heart rate back down and your body is redlined and it really wears you down. Strategy is really critical in many ways when you’re racing. You don’t really have time to think when all you are worrying about is gaining positions and getting out front but at the same time, working a little strategy into your race will help you further into your moto.
You guys race so much and for so long that it would seem a game plan is almost a necessity.
Yeah. There is a point where your body can go all out and use maximum effort, but you can do that for only so long. Don’t get me wrong. We try to go out there and for 35 minutes, two times a day, we go as hard as we can and I don’t think anyone out there races with anything less. You see where you are and try to build upon that. It’s hard, it’s definitely not easy and it is a work in progress every single year, but if you do your homework you can see the advantages.
With Stewart at the race, was there any extra motivation to twist the throttle a little bit further? In that first moto you were gone and it really looked like you wanted it.
Going into the weekend, I really didn’t know where both of us stood as far as who was going good. From my perspective, I was looking at the big picture and know that I did try to do all that I could. I knew that I needed to get that first moto and thankfully everything went good. If I had gotten a bad start, then he was going to take off and the rest would be history. I just had to put myself in a good position, and fortunately I was able to do that. It is always good to have a guy like that back; with James, he has not raced for a while so it was hard to say where he was going to be. I think having James back is good for the riders, for the fans, and for the sport.
You are now over 100 points ahead in the championship. Is there a point where you will decide to back it down a little bit? Where you don’t need the win and could just back it down for second in a moto?
To be honest, I race every race to win. Obviously the first round was a really off day for me, but from there I set a goal to win every round from that point on. Every race is just as important as the one before it and there is no reason to change anything up. Just like with RC and James, they had the championships locked up early on, but they still kept going and went 24-0. I think it is important to just stick to the plan and try to win every race.
The AMA officially announced Team USA for the Motocross of Nations with you as the MX1 rider. Last year you helped the team win, but you now have a lot more experience aboard the 450.
It’s an honor to represent your country and last year’s experience was really just unbelievable. The whole thing is hard to put into words. Flying there, racing and practicing- the whole day there is a lot of pressure. But at the same time it is another race and I think we have a solid team with Andrew (Short) and Trey (Canard). Being able to see it all last year really helped and also having Ivan (Tedesco) there was a big help. Even though I was MX1 last year, Ivan was really my leader because he had won two MXoN’s previously. Along with Roger DeCoster, having that knowledge and experience on your side was very key. I think we are in good hands and we will just try to take it like another race and hopefully the better team wins.