Dungey Stays Hot With Unadilla Victory
NEW BERLIN, N.Y. – Following its final break in action for the 2014 season, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship began its stretch run on Saturday with the 10th round of the summer from Central New York’s legendary Unadilla with the Red Bull Unadilla National.
With just two rounds and four motos remaining, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey made another major jump in the 450 Class title fight by earning his third win in the last four rounds and closing to within single digits of his teammate Ken Roczen atop the standings.
In the 250 Class, Valli Motorsports Yamaha’s Christophe Pourcel became the fifth different winner this season in the division, signifying the Frenchman’s first victory on U.S. soil since the 2010 season.
For the third consecutive moto, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Justin Brayton put himself out front of the start to earn the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in the first 450 Class moto, bringing his JGRMX teammate Phil Nicoletti with him. Not far behind them was Dungey, who wasted little time is making his march to the front and passed both Yamaha riders to assume control of the lead on the opening lap. Roczen kept pace with his teammate and fought his way from a start outside the top five to move into second. From there it became a two-rider battle for the moto win between the KTM duo.
Dungey kept Roczen at bay throughout the entirety of the moto, with mere bike lengths separating the teammates for the bulk of the race. However, in the closing laps Dungey extended his advantage and ultimately posted a wire-to-wire victory to put him in the drivers seat for the overall. Behind this pair, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac quietly rode to a solid and consistent third-place finish. Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard, who was fastest in practice, fought his way forward from a start outside the top 10 to finish fourth. BTO Sports KTM’s Andrew Short rounded out the top five.
With all eyes on Dungey and Roczen in Moto 2, it was once again Brayton who emerged with the Motosport.com Holeshot Award for the fourth straight time, but his time out front was short lived as both Tomac and Canard moved to the forefront and ultimately steal the spotlight. With the Honda duo out front, both Dungey and Roczen were forced to fight their way from starts outside the top five. When the jockeying was complete on the opening lap it was Tomac leading, followed by Canard, Dungey and Roczen.
Tomac and Roczen opened a significant gap over the rest of the field, but then started to engage in an exciting battle for the top spot that lasted several laps. The two riders traded positions multiple times on the track, which allowed Dungey to close the deficit to a matter of bike lengths and make it a three-rider fight for the win. Eventually Canard logged consistent laps to assert himself in the lead, leaving Tomac and Dungey to fight for second, with Roczen a distant fourth.
Dungey made his way past Tomac with four laps remaining and pushed to close in on Canard. About a second separated the two riders throughout the closing laps and Dungey moved within striking distance on the final lap, but the Honda rider held on to earn the first 450 Class moto win of his career. Tomac followed in third, with Roczen finishing off the podium for just the second time this season in fourth.
Dungey’s 1-2 results ensured him of the overall, his third at Unadilla. He now has four wins this season, tying him for the most in the division with Roczen.
“It was an awesome day. We just wanted to make the most of the day and not get sidetracked [with the championship],” said Dungey. “There’s a lot of racing left still with two rounds to go, but things are going good. It feels great to get another overall, but I made it hard on myself in the second moto and let those guys [Tomac and Canard] get away. Maybe a couple more laps we could have got Canard, but he was riding really good.”
Canard earned his best finish of the season in second (4-1) thanks to the moto win, with Tomac (3-3) edging out Roczen (2-4) for third overall via a tiebreaker. It marked the first time this season that Roczen failed to finish on the overall podium.
“I can’t tell you how good that feels,” said Canard after his moto win. “I’m not going to sit here and cry about what’s happened [in the past with injuries], but I am just so thankful to have the opportunity to be here [on top of the podium] again. I’m just so happy to be up here and I’m looking forward to the next two races.”
Dungey’s win marked another seven-point swing in his favor, bringing his deficit to Roczen atop the championship standings to just seven points. Dungey has gained 17 points on Roczen the past two rounds.