KTM Factoryâ€™s Ryan Dungey won KTMâ€™s third consecutive AMA 450 Supercross World Championship victory in Las Vegas, Nevada on his KTM 450 SX-F after a thrilling showdown finale with title rival Eli Tomac for the 17-round 2017 series. Dungey went into the final with just a nine-point advantage.
After his big win and only weeks before the AMA Outdoor Motocross Series was about to commence the 27-year-old from Minnesota shocked the MX world by holding a media conference to announce his retirement from the sport effective immediately.
Although in peak physically condition and on one of the most highly-rated factory teams in the sport, it was the mental aspect that eventually forced Dungey to retire.
â€œItâ€™s hard to believe that this day has come but after a lot of thinking over the last several months, today I announce my retirement from racing professional supercross and motocross,â€ said Dungey. â€œThis decision has not been an easy one.
â€œIâ€™ve achieved more than I ever could have imagined or dreamed of and for all of this I am incredibly humbled and honored. Iâ€™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.â€
â€œPhysically I feel that Iâ€™m in the best shape of my life, race craft-wise Iâ€™m in the best shape of my life and I have the equipment to win, thereâ€™s no doubt about that,â€ he said. However, this year I have struggled mentally.
â€œI have always raced because I love it and want so badly to win, but this season was just different for me. Getting my head into the game each week just wasnâ€™t the same and lining up and being able to focus like I always had in the past was just different.
â€œI never thought I would get to a place where I had to talk myself into starting a race but thatâ€™s how it was for me â€“ and the truth is that bothers me a lot. I could easily take the paycheck and just race to finish but thatâ€™s not who I am and not how I want to race, nor be remembered.â€
In his career Dungey won a total of nine AMA Supercross and Motocross Championships, including four AMA 450SX titles (2017, 2016, 2015, 2012), three AMA 450 Class MX titles (2015, 2012, 2010), an AMA West Coast SX Lites title (2009) and an AMA 250 Class MX title (2009). Additionally, Dungey was a member of the successful U.S. Motocross des Nations Team in 2009, 2010 and 2011 helping to win all three Championships.
Ryan Dungeyâ€™s legacy will include his impact outside the sport as well. Dungey won the 2015 and 2016 ESPY Award for Best Male Action Sports Athlete. He also took the sport mainstream by appearing on the Wheaties Cereal Box.