Just two weeks after winning his fourth Monster Energy Supercross 450SX title and four months after saying he didn’t know when his retirement would come, a dominant force in the sport, Ryan Dungey, said he won’t race professional Supercross or Motocross in 2018. Sounds like he knows now.
Dungey, a top rider in Supercross and the Pro Motocross Championship for years, has four titles in Supercross’ top 450SX class. He won the the first in his rookie season in 2010, and has claimed the last three championships in a row. But Dungey won’t make it four consecutive—at 27, he’s officially retiring from the sport. The short notice sounds familiar.
Dungey held a Tuesday press conference to announce the news, which can be seen above, saying that he “struggled mentally” during the most recent season. Here’s a summary of part of the announcement, courtesy of Fox Sports:
“I have always raced because I love it and want so badly to win, but this season was just different for me. Getting my head into the game each week just wasn’t the same and lining up and being able to focus like I always had in the past was just different. I never thought I would get to a place where I had to talk myself into starting a race but that’s how it was for me – and the truth is that bothers me a lot.
“I love racing and I love our sport but I just feel it in my heart that I am ready to step away now – happy, healthy and feeling totally blessed. I’ve accomplished everything that I set out to do and so much more. Although I’m taking a step back from racing, I still plan to be involved in the sport and continue to try to make it better in any way that I can. This sport has blessed me beyond belief and I’ll forever be grateful for the memories I’ve made and friendships I’ve developed along the way. As this chapter of my life comes to a close, I’m excited to see what the next chapter has in store for me.”
Dungey was unclear about retirement at the start of 2017, telling Red Bull after a 2016 Motocross wreck that left him with a fractured neck that he “want[ed] to take it one year at a time” in regards to deciding when to call it quits.
But it didn’t take a full year to get to that decision, and come 2018, Supercross will have a new champion for the first time in more than three years.
Correction: This story underwent a headline change in edits, which mistakenly referred to Dungey as a three-time Supercross 450SX champion. He has won four.