The Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen show played out in front of a nationally televised audience as Dungey capitalized on a Roczen mistake and took the checkers for Round 14 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross series on Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, MO.
Despite a nearly insurmountable points lead for Dungey, he and Roczen have battled bar-to-bar the last three weeks as if the two were neck and neck in the standings. This third-straight win gives Dungey a 48 point lead over Roczen with three rounds remaining and a victory on Saturday in Foxborough wraps up back-to-back Championships.
Roczen narrowly edged Dungey for the holeshot as Dungey went wide at the first turn instead of taking the inside track as he usually does but it put him in front and his momentum quickly got him past Roczen who again played catch-up for 20 laps. He got close on Lap 6, got in front briefly on Lap 10 but on Lap 13 laid out his front wheel in the corner following the finish line jump which knocked him to third and all but assured Dungey of his eighth win of the season and 30th career victory.
"It's easy to get caught up in the future, just keeping that in check," Dungey said of his points lead. "The race wins are awesome, each and every one we're hungry for and we're excited we were pushing the pace."
Ryan Dungey celebrates his eighth win of the season tying a career best
Dungey said Roczen's mistake gave him some breathing room and with five laps to go he dialed it back a bit because the dirt was so thin in some spots cement was showing. Dungey rode flawlessly in the Main but did crash in his Heat race which kept him from qualifying early but he easily won his Semi race. The only other time this season he needed the Semi was Anaheim 1 which he also won.
Roczen managed to minimize Dungey's point gains by making a last lap pass on Jason Anderson for second-place after his fall. It's Roczen's third-straight runner-up position, fourth of the year and ninth-podium of the season.
"Once again I'm the first loser," he said with a smile. "We're trying, we want it, that's why we're battling for it. I came in a little hot in that turn and washed the front end, unfortunately. I was studying some lines and trying something different."
Ken Roczen rode well but settled for second, again
Anderson got his third-straight podium and though he expressed disappointment with his racing he kept it close, just under five seconds behind Dungey when he crossed the finish line. Justin Bogle had his best outing of the year finishing fourth, Trey Canard took fifth and Chad Reed, celebrating his 200th start took sixth. Reed fans should be happy to hear he wants to break the all-time starts record of 227 which keeps him in Supercross for two more years. Rookie Marvin Musquin returning from a crash at Santa Clara crashed again while running in fourth-place in finished 15th but he remains in sixth-place in the standings because Cole Seely remains out with a chipped vertebra. MotoSport rider Nick Wey finished 19th.
Chad Reed started in his 200th Main at St. Louis
James Stewart's season keeps hitting new lows this time courtesy of Weston Peick who slammed into him after pulling a triple in their Heat race. The collision knocked an already ailing Stewart to the ground who immediately reached for his lower back. Stewart's return to racing has been marred by injuries, starting with a concussion in Round 1, and though he got back on his bike and finished the Heat race his night was over.
Stewart incurred a hairline fracture in his ankle last week after crashing and looked a bit erratic and made plenty of mistakes in St. Louis while riding though he qualified fourth fastest. Reportedly, he tweaked his back because he was favoring the bad ankle all week. At Daytona he suffered a deep bruise in his lower back that caused him to miss a few rounds, as well.
Jeremy Martin became the first two-time winner this season in the 250SX East class
The 250SX East class finally got its first two-time winner this season as Jeremy Martin grabbed the holeshot and checked out for a badly needed win that puts him in third-place, just 16 points back instead of the 27 point deficit he had entering the round.
"We put in a lot, a lot of work," Martin said. "I was sitting there on the line right before the gate drop and I'm like, dude you know what, we're going to make it happen tonight, we're going to get a good start and we're going to ride 15 solid laps and that's what I was able to do."
Malcolm Stewart holds on to the Red Plate, barely, for another round as it was his turn to have an off-week. Stewart was second on Lap 1 when he stalled in the sand section, then later went down in the sand section falling from eighth to 12th and fell again on Lap 13 dropping from sixth to eighth where he finished. All five different 250SX East winners this season has dealt with a bad round preventing any one rider from taking off with Championship points.
Aaron Plessinger roared back from a mid-pack start, got into third after Lap 1 and passed Shane McElrath on Lap 6 for second to grab his third straight podium (fourth on the year) including his first career win last week. The result moves him to within one point of Stewart and he holds a 15 points edge over Martin.
"We're out at the track every day and I'm pounding laps and getting my fitness down and getting everything down and it seemed to really help these last few rounds," Plessinger said.
Elsewhere, RJ Hampshire finished a season best fourth, Gannon Audette who went down early in the race managed a fifth place and Martin Davalos got caught up in a first turn pile-up and finished 15th. He hangs on to fourth-place but the season-opening winner is now 32 points from first-place.
Gillette Stadium hosts Supercross Round 15 on Saturday in Foxborough, MA. It's another early start with practice starting at 9 a.m. (EST), opening ceremonies at 3:30 p.m. (EST) and racing at 4 p.m. (EST). Buy tickets online or at the box office.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross St. Louis Results
St. Louis Supercross 450SX Class Results
- Ryan Dungey
- Ken Roczen
- Jason Anderson
- Justin Bogle
- Trey Canard
- Chad Reed
- Eli Tomac
- Josh Grant
- Justin Brayton
- Mike Alessi
St. Louis Supercross 250SX East Class Results
- Jeremy Martin
- Aaron Plessinger
- Shane McElrath
- RJ Hampshire
- Gannon Audette
- Anthony Rodriguez
- Alexander Frye
- Malcolm Stewart
- Tyler Bowers
- Paul Coates
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (328)
- Ken Roczen (280)
- Jason Anderson (260)
- Eli Tomac (226)
- Chad Reed (208)
- Marvin Musquin (188)
- Cole Seely (173)
- Justin Brayton (161)
- Trey Canard (154)
- Jake Weimer (114)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Malcolm Stewart (115)
- Aaron Plessinger (114)
- Jeremy Martin (99)
- Martin Davalos (83)
- Tyler Bowers (78)
- Gannon Audette (77)
- RJ Hampshire (77)
- Shane McElrath (73)
- Justin Hill (63)
- Matt Bisceglia (58)