ELLENTON, Fla. – official series release — AMA Supercross photo —
With a three-race winning streak in tow, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey entered last weekend’s return of Monster Energy AMA Supercross to New England with hopes of clinching his third 450SX Class title.
However, following an impressive winning effort by Ken Roczen, Dungey’s celebration was put on hold for another week. This Saturday, Dungey will look to clinch back-to-back championships for the first time in his career in the shadow of the iconic New York skyline as Monster Energy Supercross makes its annual visit to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., for the 16th stop of the 17-race season.
In the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship, GEICO Honda’s Malcolm Stewart brings a five-point lead into the penultimate race of 2016, continuing his chase of a first career title.
Last Saturday at Monster Energy Supercross’ debut from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, Dungey entered the afternoon with an opportunity to clinch a second straight 450SX Class title with a win, or by gaining two points over Roczen. After grabbing the holeshot, Dungey sas in a position to control his own destiny, but a hard-charging Roczen slotted behind Dungey and seized the opportunity to make a pass for the lead before the completion of the opening lap. Dungey attempted to fight back and stayed close to Roczen’s rear fender, but Dungey was then forced to deal with a determined Eli Tomac, who soon put his Monster Energy Kawasaki into second and dropped Dungey to third.
Tomac pressured Roczen for a few laps but was unable to mount enough of a challenge to attempt a pass and as the lead duo approached lappers, Roczen was able to start opening a gap. Meanwhile, Dungey fell into the clutches of Jason Anderson in fourth, eventually giving up the position and dropping off the podium, which put his all-time record streak in jeopardy. However, the championship leader hounded Anderson and reclaimed the position after the Husqvarna rider made a small mistake in the whoops.
Roczen went on to lead all 20 laps of the Main Event and secure a career-high fourth win this year. Tomac followed in second for his first podium finish since winning in Daytona Beach, Florida, at the ninth race of the season.
“[The race was] awesome. I loved this place [Gillette Stadium] from my first step on the property,” said Roczen. “The track was really tricky and tough in some spots. We put our head down and got the victory. [The team] has put in a lot of work during the week and it’s finally paying off.”
Dungey missed out on clinching the title with a third-place finish, but posted his 31st straight podium effort.
“I got up front early but couldn’t hold the gap. I just struggled a little bit,” said Dungey. “I just kept my head up and kept charging. We’ll move ahead to next weekend and look to take care of business there. Nothing we can do but keep it rolling.”
Roczen’s win, combined with Tomac’s podium result broke a three-race sequence in which Dungey, Roczen and Anderson finished 1-2-3. Anderson’s fourth-place finish ended a four-race podium streak dating back to his second win of the season in Detroit.
With 43 points between he and Roczen, Dungey needs to gain just seven points at MetLife Stadium in order to clinch the championship. That would be a finish of 14th or better for the KTM rider, who last failed to record a top-10 finish 44 races ago in Anaheim on Feb. 1, 2014. That night Dungey recorded one of just two DNFs in his career, both of which serve as his only two finishes outside the top 10 in 115 career starts. That’s the highest percentage of top-10 finishes in history.
After opening to five races with five different winners, the Eastern Regional 250SX Class has welcomed repeat winners each of the past two races. In Foxborough, one of the most competitive main events of the season saw Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Martin Davalos earn his second win of the year.
The race opened to Dakota Alix becoming the seventh different holeshot award winner in seven races, but he quickly lost the lead to Shane McElrath. Before the completion of the opening lap championship leader Stewart positioned himself at the front of the field and opened a gap over the field.
After starting fourth Davalos fought his way into second on lap seven and set his sights on Stewart out front, ultimately making the pass at the completion of lap eight. A four-rider battle for the podium saw Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin also get into the mix, eventually making his way past Stewart into second on Lap 9. Davalos received some pressure from Martin in the closing laps but lappers soon helped separate the two and the Ecuador native went on to record the fourth win of his career. Martin followed up a win the week prior with a second-place finish.
“It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve been able to ride like this,” said Davalos. “Jeremy [Martin] was riding really good and Malcolm [Stewart] was leading there early on. I just had to focus on my laps. I knew the track would be rutted [after the rain in the morning], but it turned out to be a great day and I’m just really pumped.”
Stewart rounded out the podium in third and was able to extend his lead in the Eastern Regional standings from one point to five points over Aaron Plessinger, who finished fifth.
“I’m just happy to be up here [on the podium],” said Stewart. “Overall, the race didn’t go as planned, but it was better than last week [when I crashed three times]. We’ll keep plugging away and moving forward.”
CREDIT: Feld Motor Sports