In a return to his home state of Minnesota, Belle Plaine native Ryan Dungey returned to the top of the 450 Class podium with a 1-1 sweep of the Spring Creek National, the eighth round of 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
Dungey won at Spring Creek in five straight seasons from 2008-2012 but had not been atop the podium at his home race since then. Today’s win not only snapped that drought, it also ended a three-race winless streak this season. The Red Bull KTM rider now leads the 450 Class with three overall wins and seven moto wins.
Fresh off a two-race win streak, Justin Barcia continued his trend of strong starts. He grabbed the holeshot in both motos, extending his holeshot streak to five consecutive motos and giving him eight total for the season. During his five-moto holeshot streak, Barcia has not finished worse than second in any of those races, but he has repeatedly had to contend with Dungey.
In Moto 1, Dungey went from third to first on the opening lap. First he got around Barcia’s JGR Yamaha teammate Phil Nicoletti after wheelieing into a jump and racing him side-by-side in the air. Then a tipover from Barcia allowed Dungey to take the lead away, and although Barcia kept the Red Bull KTM rider within sight for awhile, he couldn’t mount a challenge.
Dungey went on to win the moto, with Barcia finishing second. Ken Roczen rounded out the top three for the moto, with two more Suzuki riders – Blake Baggett and Broc Tickle – also inside the top five.
In the second moto, Barcia was able to maintain his holeshot-induced lead for a bit longer, although he very nearly lost out on the holeshot to Rockstar Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson. After some back and forth racing between the two, Barcia eventually secured the top spot but once again faced pressure from Dungey, who got around Fredrik Noren and Anderson to move into second.
Barcia led the first three laps of the race, but about eight-and-a-half minutes into the moto, he ceded the position to his recent nemesis. Once again, Dungey and Barcia would go 1-2 in the moto, putting them first and second overall, respectively, for the day.
“[This win] means a lot,” Dungey said after the race. “It’s been a couple years since I won here, and I always hate leaving. I had a couple tough breaks the previous years, but that one came down to me and Justin, and when I made the pass, I just tried to drop the hammer, and I was able to open up a little bit of a lead.”
Roczen appeared to be riding comfortably in third in Moto 2, but Baggett made a charge and caught him, making a pass with the countdown clock winding down to its final minutes. The pass proved to be the deciding factor in the battle for the final spot on the overall podium, as Baggett (4-3) edged out Roczen (3-4) for third overall by virtue of a tiebreaker, the better finish in the second moto.
Today’s win was Dungey’s second big accomplishment this week. On Wednesday night, he won an ESPY for Best Male Action Sports Athlete.
With four rounds left in the season, Dungey now holds a 56-point lead over Ken Roczen in the 450 Class championship standings. Barcia sits third, 69 points behind Dungey and just 13 back of Roczen.
450 Class Overall Results
1. Ryan Dungey (1-1)
2. Justin Barcia (2-2)
3. Blake Baggett (4-3)
4. Ken Roczen (3-4)
5. Jason Anderson (6-6)
6. Broc Tickle (5-7)
7. Fredrik Noren (8-5)
8. Christophe Pourcel (9-8)
9. Phil Nicoletti (7-10)
10. Josh Grant (10-9)