Ryan Dungey rides again, takes on Supercross legends in MotoCar Fite Klub

Fite Klub Dungey
Travelers Rest Speedway

Former Supercross champion Ryan Dungey does not believe the first rule of Fite Klub is not to talk about it. Dungey wants his fans to know that he, along with fellow Supercross superstars Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath and Chad Reed are going to be part of a grudge match at Travelers Rest Speedway Thursday, Feb. 25.

The specialty race will benefit the Road 2 Recovery Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 to help AMA-licensed motocross and supercross professionals and action sports athletes with financial assistance after sustaining career-ending injuries.

“I saw that (Ryan Villopoto), and McGrath and (Chad) Reed posted something and it wasn’t really familiar to me,” Dungey told NBC Sports. “But I guess they were going to reach out to me shortly after those posts – and they did – but (Fite Klub) reached out to me first and said this is what we’re doing. These are the guys we’re trying to get involved. We want you to be a  part of this  deal.”

It took a couple of days to decide, but when Dungey noticed the dates perfectly coincided with a gap in his schedule, his competitive nature kicked in and he decided this was an excellent opportunity to show the five-time Supercross champion Carmichael, seven-time champ McGrath and two-time champ Reed that he could stack up against them on four wheels as well as two.

Fite TV is a pay per view entertainment company focusing on extreme sports featuring motorsports, boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts. With a two-wheel motocross-style Fite Klub special under their belt, they decided to see what these athletes could accomplish with four.

Dungey and the other competitors will get an opportunity to practice on Wednesday for about an hour. On Thursday the competition begins at 5:30 ET. In identically prepared Crate Sportsman cars provided by the local racers from Travelers Rest, Fite Klub will pit them into two-man, head-to-head challenges and then a 20-lap Main.

“Before (the other competitors) put on the helmet it will be fun and jokes, but as soon as they put the helmet on, they’re are competitive,” Dungey said. “They’re going to want to win and that’s what is going to make for a great race.

“Nobody is coming to lose.”

Originally intended to be a single division show, Travelers Rest has expanded to ticket to include Hornets, but the Crate Sportsman cars are the headliners.

Dungey has some obstacles to overcome. Several of his competitors have more experience in four wheel racing.

Carmichael did a stint in NASCAR in the Truck series. In 68 starts there, he earned 18 top-10s; four of these came on short, paved tracks. McGrath has run short course, off road trucks. Reed has been trying his hand in sports cars recently since retiring from Supercross last year.

On dirt, the playing field is more level.

ONE LAST RIDE: Chad Reed still wants to salute the fans

“I had no experience on dirt on four wheels,” Dungey said. So he headed to Cherokee Speedway in Gafney, SC to get some experience. “I’ve driven some (paved) late models, I had a shifter kart that I spent a lot of time in and a few other things. Then I looked at the competition – at (Brian) Deegan, McGrath, Ricky – a lot of these guys have four wheel experience.

“The the competitive side kicks in. I’d better get prepared. So we went down and did a car test and it actually went really good. Learned about the car and about the skills and being able to adapt to different conditions of the track, which was really helpful. I’m really glad I did it because this is something I wouldn’t want to go into cold turkey by any means.”

Travelers Rest and Cherokee are both 3/8-mile South Carolina dirt tracks, so Dungey’s practice session will be put to good use.

But Dungey thinks there is an even bigger crossover from his experience on two wheels. After all, racing is racing and it’s about controlling the speed and path through the corners.

“I think there are a lot of similarities that carry over from two wheels to four wheels,” Dungey said. “They are much different, don’t get me wrong, but there was a lot of similarity in setting up the corner. Getting on the gas, getting off the gas, corner speed.

“There’s a certain saying in our sport that sometimes it looks fast to get the rear end swung out wide and steer with the rear the whole of the corner, but it’s actually slower. So just trying to find that balance where you get the rear to step out and turn the car, but not where you’re completely sideways and scrubbing all your speed off.

“There were a lot of things that came quickly to me. By the end of the day, I felt like I had a good understanding of the car.”

MotoCar Fite Klub can be accessed on the company’s web site Fite.tv at a pay-per-view price of $19.99. Users will need to download an app to access the video.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.