Ryan Dungey wrapped up his third straight Supercross title and fourth overall two weeks ago by holding off Eli Tomac.
On Tuesday, he made a surprise announcement in Anaheim, California: He’s riding away from the sport he dominated for long stretches of his storied 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 said. “This decision has not been an easy one. I’ve achieved more than I ever could have imagined ordreamed of and for all of this I am incredibly humbled and honored.”
He won seven times at Washougal MX National, which draws about 20,000 fans to Washougal Motocross Park each summer. His victory in 2015 was his seventh title in eight years.
Dungey burst out of the gate in 2010, becoming the first rider to sweep the 450cc Supercross and outdoor titles as a rookie. He continued to rack up titles and high finishes, earning nine overall 450 titles while finishing on the podium 69 times in 75 career outdoor starts, second all-time. His 101 Supercross podiums are third all-time.
Dungey also won the Motocross des Nations three times and his 39 motocross wins are second on the all-time AMA Pro Motocross 450 Class list. He has 34 Supercross wins, sixth all-time.
Known for his steady riding style, Dungey finished first or second in the final championship standings every year from 2010-15 and never missed a moto. He also was the first motocross rider to appear on a box of Wheaties.
At 27, Dungey decided to walk away on top rather than continue riding.
“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,” he said. “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. I have always raced because I love it and want so badly to win, but this season was just different for me.”
Dungey follows in the footsteps of Ryan Villopoto, who retired at 26 in 2015 after winning six Supercross and motocross titles.
“This is a really big day and it’s really hard to believe your career has gone by so quick,” KTM Racing manager Roger DeCoster said. “It’s difficult to understand why a guy like you who is 100 percent healthy and only 27 decided to stop racing, but the biggest thing for you was you did not want to let us down. I’m so thankful to have worked with you. This ends a big chapter in our lives and in my career.”