Not even the mud can stop Ryan Dungey.
The reigning and defending Monster Energy Supercross Champion capitalized on a mistake by Ken Roczen, carefully navigated through the muddiest and roughest race of the 2016 season and grabbed his ninth win of the year in the series finale at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Heavy rains saturated the track halfway through practice for Round 17 which forced riders to endure thick, fudgy mud that accumulated on their bikes, built deep ruts and slowed lap times considerably as most riders gingerly rolled through the whoops at times and could never get the traction or speed to lay it all out. Officials shortened the Mains of both classes to 12 for the 250 East/West Shootout and 16 for the 450 class.
Dungey, riding high from clinching back-to-back Championships a week ago, got the early lead taking the holeshot and looked rather comfortable in the slick conditions. Roczen slotted in behind with Jason Anderson trailing in third, a familiar sight all year. Nobody was taking unnecessary risks but on Lap 6 Roczen managed to roll the throttle a bit more on the Dragon's Back and passed Dungey and it looked like the start of another cat and mouse round between the two.
Ryan Dungey won the final round of the 2016 Supercross season
But shortly after the pass Roczen came up short on a jump and went over the handlebars leaving his bike in the middle of the track. As Roczen played in the mud Dungey was unable to sidestep the downed bike, clipping it and in a rare sight, he went down. The lead now up for grabs, both riders scrambled to their fallen rides with Dungey getting started first and re-taking the lead. Roczen managed to get back into second but went to the pits and never got back into the race.
It was clear sailing from there, albeit a bit muddy, for Dungey who faced no more competition and got his career-best ninth win in a season and 31st career. Best of all? He also restarted his podium streak that ended last week at 31. OK, that's probably not the best thing to come out of the final round.
"We got off to a good start and we really needed that and Ken was giving us a challenge and he was going good tonight for sure and then he tucked it and I had nowhere to go," Dungey said. "I had to pick the bike up. I'm really happy that we ended the season strong, that was the goal tonight."
Your 2016 450 class Supercross Championship podium - (L-R) Jason Anderson, Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen
Anderson took second, for his seventh podium of the year, nearly 12 seconds back and Eli Tomac finished third, 35 seconds behind Dungey, for his third straight podium. Roczen finished 20th, a season worst, but he already had a lock on second-place in the standings. Anderson easily held on to third-place to finish the season and Tomac took fourth. Chad Reed finished fourth for the race and took fifth to finish the year. Rookie Marvin Musquin was riding in fourth until he stopped in the pits on Lap 6 and recorded a DNF which dropped him to seventh-place on the season as Cole Seely took ninth giving him the points to take sixth-place.
Enough of that!
The bigger news came in the 250 Shootout that pitted the 250SX East and West classes in the Main with points counting and two Championships on the line.
In the West, Cooper Webb needed 12th place or better to guarantee back-to-back Championships and probably raced what felt like the longest round of his life as the mud and a broken wrist he sustained during a crash in practice several weeks ago severely limited his mobility and agility on the track.
It didn't help when Webb went down on the second turn of the first lap falling to 16th place as Joey Savatgy, his primary competitor for the Championship, grabbed the holeshot and raced into the lead. On Lap 2, Savatgy had problems navigating a turn and lost the lead giving Webb some breathing room but regained the lead shortly after, putting pressure on Webb to get in to and hold the 12th place position. Webb managed to not only hold on to 12th which would have tied him in points with Savatgy, but passed Chris Alldredge, who slipped, for 11th on the last lap thus securing his West Championship by one point. Webb would also have won a tie-breaker based on winning five rounds to Savatgy's three.
Cooper Webb celebrates the 2016 250SX West Championship and back-to-back titles
"It was definitely not easy but we fought for it. That's why we're up here, all the hard work in the season has definitely paid off," Webb said. "I wasn't going to let an injury set me back. Unfortunately, I had a crash. It wasn't looking food for a second. I'm just stoked to get it done. We had an up and down year with stuff happening but it all works out in the end."
Zach Osborne finished second in the Shootout for his third straight podium and fifth of the year but it wasn't enough as Christian Craig crossed the finish line in eighth and took third to end the year by six points.
Malcolm Stewart led the 250 East class by 14 points over Aaron Plessinger entering Las Vegas and needed 10th place or better to guarantee his first Supercross Championship. Stewart rounded out the Shootout podium for his third straight trip to the box and easily secured the 2016 title, his first career Championship. After he crossed the checkers he jumped off his bike and immediately embraced his brother James who bowed out of the 450 class season earlier this year after dealing with a number of setbacks.
Malcolm Stewart ends six years in the 250 class with a Championship
"I'm so speechless right now, it was the hardest 12 laps I've ever had to do in my entire life," said an emotional Stewart. "What I went through, me and my brother this year, it's been an up and down season for both of us. I feel like half of this Championship (goes) directly to him."
The Stewarts become the first brothers in Supercross history to each win a Championship. Younger brother Malcolm has a ways to go though to match James's haul of two 450 class titles along with Championships in the East and West classes. Malcolm Stewart and Webb say goodbye to the 250 class and move to the 450 class next year.
Plessinger finished fourth despite needing a pit stop on Lap 2. He held on to second-place to end the season as Jeremy Martin had trouble in the mud and finished 15th but kept third-place to finish the 2016 campaign and his final year in the 250 class.
It's all over. No more Supercross until January 7, 2017 at Anaheim. Check out the full 2017 Supercross schedule and grab your tickets on October 21, 2016.
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Las Vegas Results
Las Vegas Supercross 450SX Class Results
- Ryan Dungey
- Jason Anderson
- Eli Tomac
- Chad Reed
- Blake Baggett
- Broc Tickle
- Justin Brayton
- Trey Canard
- Cole Seely
- Justin Barcia
Las Vegas Supercross 250SX Class East/West Shootout Results
- Joey Savatgy
- Zach Osborne
- Malcolm Stewart
- Aaron Plessinger
- Gannon Audette
- Colt Nichols
- Tyler Bowers
- Christian Craig
- Luke Renzland
- Martin Davalos
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (391) - 2016 450 Class Supercross Champion
- Ken Roczen (331)
- Jason Anderson (315)
- Eli Tomac (290)
- Chad Reed (250)
- Cole Seely (219)
- Marvin Musquin (214)
- Justin Brayton (200)
- Trey Canard (196)
- Jake Weimer (128)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Malcolm Stewart (180) - 2016 250SX East Class Supercross Champion
- Aaron Plessinger (164)
- Jeremy Martin (147)
- Martin Davalos (141)
- Tyler Bowers (122)
- Gannon Audette (121)
- Shane McElrath (113)
- RJ Hampshire (104)
- Anthony Rodriguez (78)
- Matt Bisceglia (68)
250SX West Class Season Standings
- Cooper Webb (180) - 2016 250SX West Class Supercross Champion
- Joey Savatgy (179)
- Christian Craig (160)
- Zach Osborne (154)
- Colt Nichols (147)
- Mitchell Oldenburg (122)
- Jimmy Decotis (111)
- Kyle Peters (100)
- Jordon Smith (78)
- Alex Martin (78)
- Kyle Cunningham (78)
Written By: AndrewT