With seven races remaining, the distance to leader Ryan Villopoto may not seem very large. For Red Bull KTM's Dungey however, any gap behind a competitor as fierce as Villopoto probably seems massive.
Before last weekend, the only victory that Dungey had taken from Villopoto came when Villopoto went down at the Muddy Creek National in Tennessee. Villopoto simply had Dungey’s number (and everyone else’s, for that matter), it seemed.
Things were different at Budds Creek, however. When Villopoto took the early lead in the first moto, it looked like the crowd was about to witness yet another Kawasaki runaway. But Dungey had other plans, and after settling into race pace he started reeling Villopoto back in, only to go down in a set of treacherous rollers.
Dungey said: "The first moto was going really well. I was able to close the gap, which was good. I felt like we were really running strong but then I lost a little bit of time in the lappers.
I couldn't believe I didn't lose any positions.
“I ended up losing my footing in some rollers and slammed the ground pretty good. It knocked the wind out of me and it was kind of hard to get up.
"I kind of rolled around there for about an eighth of a lap and then things kind of settled down and I got my breath. I couldn’t believe I didn’t lose any positions.”
Despite going down and handing Villopoto the uncontested moto win, the fact that he’d closed the gap and was knocking on Villopoto’s door, something he’d been unable to do thus far this season, was huge.
In the second moto Dungey was on fire, jumping out to the early lead and disappearing faster than a pack of cigarettes at an AA meeting. Even when Villopoto got into second and had clear track, he wasn’t able to match Dungey’s lap times.
The track was pretty brutal
“In the second moto I was just able to get a good start and work my way into the lead. From there, however it played out behind me, I just was trying to go as hard as I could. No mistakes, keep things rolling and carry a lot of speed.
"The track was really rough and choppy. We made a change and stiffened the front a little bit for the second moto and it ended up helping really nice. The track was pretty brutal but we were able to find some good line choices and get the overall, which was nice.
"It was a good recovery from the first moto, but it was good to see everything pay off. The last couple weeks we’ve been doing a lot of testing and stuff. I really feel like we made a little improvement.”
Although it wasn’t Dungey’s first win of the season, it’s the first time he’s beaten Villopoto straight up, which makes it the most important win of the season so far.
Budds Creek 450 Motocross Results 2013:
1. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 2-1
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 1-2
3. Trey Canard (Honda) 6-4
4. Malcolm Stewart (Honda) 9-3
5. Justin Barcia (Honda) 4-8
450 Championship Points 2013:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 240
2. Ryan Dungey, 224
3. Justin Barcia, 179
4. Trey Canard, 153
5. Mike Alessi, 136