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The Race That Almost Didn’t Happen: Ryan Dungey Southwick 2011

Published August 29th, 2011

Ryan Dungey had quite a day at Southwick on August 27, 2011. The 2010 AMA Supercross Series Champion, and defending AMA Motocross class champion is battling with Ryan Villopoto to claim the 2011 AMA MX title.

Saturday, August 27th at the National MX in Southwick, Ryan had drama … excitement … worry … anxiety … and unknown before the start of the second 450 moto.

A few minutes before the start of the second 450 race at Southwich, Ryan’s Suzuki was running fine. As he and his team went to start the bike to head down to the staging area behind the starting gate, the bike wouldn’t start. Ryan had first gate pick, because he had won the first moto. He went to his gate spot, and started prepping his start area with out the motorcycle.

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Ryan Dungey waiting for his bike as the other riders get ready for the sight lap

Meanwhile, back in the Suzuki pits, all the technicians were frantically working on Ryan’s bike to get it started. It was chaotic. And back at the starting grid, Ryan kept working on his starting area, prepping the dirt, thinking his bike would be arriving soon.

But it did not, and according to the rules of AMA Pro MX, Ryan lost his starting place because his motorcycle was not in the staging area in time. As Chad Reed came down to his starting position, even he consoled Ryan on the situation.

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Chad Reed consoles Dungey before the sight lap

Losing his starting place was the start of Ryan’s chaos. We can only imagine what he was going thru, and what he was thinking. He was waiting, he was pacing, he had never been in a situation like this before.

Ryan, and others were trying to get the start of the race delayed, so his bike could make it down to the start. But the 30 second board was already up, and the race was going to happen – with or without him.

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Dungey standing at the starting line without his bike as the gate was about to drop to start moto 2

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Ryan’s mom tried to console him as he watched the entire pack take off from the start

Finally his mechanic, Mike Gosselaar, arrived with the RM450Z. Dungey takes off from staging area, more than one minute behind leader Justin Barcia. He was close to being lapped, but he would eventually work his way up to seventh place.

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Dungey’s bike finally showed up. His mom yelled for him to GOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Ryan himself said it best afterwards of what he was going thru, and what he was thinking, “We had an electronical issue with the bike. It was running. I was ready to head out. I shut it off, and then it wouldn’t restart. I lost my gate pick. I started walking back … I didn’t even know what to think. We don’t go out there just to win races, we go out to win championships. We have four more races still left and we are going to give it everything we got. I didn’t quit. I tried to salvage as many points as possible. I’ve never been in that position before of losing gate position, and having the race start without me. I was there in my original gate pick, preparing my spot … but the bike wasn’t there. I thought it was over. I didn’t even know what to think, except I don’t want to lose a championship like that.

What a day at Southwick: After eight years of racing here in the USA – Brett Metcalfe won his first ever AMA Motocross National, Justin Barcia won his first ever 450 outdoor AMA MX moto, Gareth Swanepoel won his first ever 250 MX LItes moto, Tyla Rattray won the 250 MX Lites overall, teammate Dean Wilson retains his 250 MX Lites series points lead, Ryan Villopoto holds on to the points lead in 450 Motocross class, and even thru all the drama – Ryan Dungey is still in the battle. Dungey is nine points out of the lead, with 4 motos left to go.

You can view ALL the larger images from Gerald Geronimo of Ryan Dungey’s “Race that almost didn’t happen” in the photo gallery below.


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