Ryan Dungey didn't win Round 14 of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross series but he was all smiles nonetheless after finishing second-place and securing the Championship with three rounds remaining.
Dungey never led in the race and actually had his work cut out for him at the beginning as he started 10th and took more than half the race just to get into podium contention. When the checkers dropped it was rookie Cole Seely securing his first win of the season and more than likely Rookie of the Year honors.
The race started with Andrew Short's penchant for taking the holeshot showing up as Chad Reed settled in second and Seely third. Seely wasted little time in jumping out ahead quickly passing both riders for the front and building a lead no one ever challenged. Reed, who is still in the mix for a final podium spot, passed Short for second-place on Lap 3 and Jason Anderson passed Short for third-place on Lap 6.
Meanwhile, Dungey and Eli Tomac, riding second to Dungey in the standings, began working their way up front and got some help after Reed and Anderson crashed battling each other for second. On Lap 11, Dungey slipped onto third-place and then passed Short for second on Lap 13. Tomac grabbed third-place from Short on Lap 16 but was unable to pass Dungey for second. It wouldn't have mattered anyway as Dungey still would have clinched with a third-place result.
Ryan Dungey lifts 2015 Supercross Championship trophy
The Championship marks Dungey's second career 450SX title the first coming in 2010. His second-place result was his fifth of the season and extended his podium streak to 13. The only time Dungey didn't place third or higher this year was fourth-place at Anaheim 1. Dungey still has three rounds left to break his career high of six wins in a season which is what he finished with in 2010. No rider has ever gone five years between Championships.
"To win in 2010 was awesome, but this time I felt we really earned it and deserved it," Dungey said. "It's hard to know what to say, there's just so much running through my mind right now. KTM brought me here four years ago to win a championship and we finally accomplished it. I pictured tonight going a little differently in my mind, but we caught a few breaks and kept it on two wheels. We had to work for it tonight."
Red Bull KTM rewarded Dungey by giving him a two-year extension keeping him on the team through 2017.
Though all eyes focused on the title winner, Seely's season improved in every way imaginable. His first win of the season and first in the 450 class came in dominating fashion. He became the sixth different winner this year, the first time that's happened since 1998. Seely also moved into third-place for points and closed the gap on Tomac by five points. Seely is now just 13 points back from second and the remaining rounds should be electric as Tomac and Seely battle for runner-up status.
"It's unreal," Seely said. "I just tried to charge as fast as I could through the first 20 laps and open as big a lead as I could."
Reed managed to recover from his crash with Anderson and finish fifth. Anderson fell to 16th and dropped five points back from Blake Baggett to seventh place in the standings. Reed is in fifth place and should pass Trey Canard, who is done for the season, for fourth-place on Saturday in Santa Clara.
Nick Wey rides to another Top 15 finish
As for MotoSport riders, Nick Wey continued his mid-season intensity finishing 13th, his fifth-straight Top 15 finish. He didn't move any further in the standings and remains in 18th, one point back from Phil Nicoletti who did not race. Justin Barcia returned from injury after an eight round absence and finished ninth, moving up from 16th to 14th which could make it difficult for Wey to finish in the Top 15 for his final Supercross season.
Mitchell Oldenburg crossed over to the 450 class and did really well
Mitchell Oldenburg, who rides in the 250SX East class dazzled in his first start of the 450 class finishing 14th. Adam Enticknap just missed qualifying via the LCQ.
In the 250SX West class, Cooper Webb won his third-straight and fifth of the season to take the West title with one round remaining. But the battle for final podium spots received a full shakeup as Shane McElrath finished second for the second-straight round and Tyler Bowers who entered Houston in third-place recorded a DNF.
Cooper Webb celebrate fifth win of the season and the 2015 250SX West Championship
Matt Bisceglia took the holeshot as McElrath and Webb followed and shortly after McElrath took the lead. Bowers passed Webb for third but lasted just a few laps before his night ended early because of back issues. Webb passed Bisceglia for second on Lap 4 and five laps later took the lead. Malcolm Stewart recorded his second podium of the year finishing third.
"I dedicated my whole life for this moment right here and it paid off. I was a four-year-old chasing a dream and it came true," said Webb who finished seventh to open the season and then won five of the next six starts. "I put my head down because I knew I wasn't a seventh place guy. I knew I belonged up here so I never quit. I kept fighting and here we are."
Josh Hansen fell a few spots in the standings
MotoSport rider Josh Hansen joined McElrath, Stewart and Zach Osborne in the LCQ but didn't fare as well once in the Main. Hansen finished 11th and dropped to 10th, tied in points with Stewart. Tommy Hahn, also a MotoSport rider, finished in 10th and remains in 11th place for points.
Tommy Hahn got his fourth Top 10 finish of the season in Houston
Supercross Round 15 moves back to California for the sixth and final round in the Golden State before the long trek to New York the following week. The stop in Santa Clara is the final 250SX West Round. Action starts with practice at 12 p.m. (PST) and the Main event at 7 p.m. (PST) Saturday at Levi's Stadium. Buy tickets online or at the box office, 4900 Marie P. DeBartolo Way in Santa Clara, CA.
2015 Monster Energy Supercross Houston Results
Houston Supercross 450SX Class Results
- Cole Seely
- Ryan Dungey
- Eli Tomac
- Josh Grant
- Chad Reed
- Andrew Short
- Davi Millsaps
- Broc Tickle
- Justin Barcia
- Justin Brayton
Houston Supercross 250SX West Class Results
- Cooper Webb
- Shane McElrath
- Malcolm Stewart
- Aaron Plessinger
- Alex Martin
- Justin Hill
- Zach Osborne
- Matt Bisceglia
- Chris Alldredge
- Tommy Hahn - MotoSport rider
2015 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (318) - 2015 Supercross Champion
- Eli Tomac (236)
- Cole Seely (223)
- Trey Canard (204)
- Chad Reed (199)
- Blake Baggett (175)
- Jason Anderson (170)
- Broc Tickle (159)
- Ken Roczen (156)
- Andrew Short (152)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (161) - 250 West Champion
- Zach Osborne (116)
- Shane McElrath (108)
- Jessy Nelson (106)
- Tyler Bowers (105)
- Aaron Plessinger (99)
- Justin Hill (94)
- Alex Martin (91)
- Malcolm Stewart (89)
- Josh Hansen (89) - MotoSport rider