Although Ryan Dungey did not make it through the entire season unscathed, he was impressive each time he was on the track. Racing a new bike, one designed and engineered specifically for him, he brought numerous “firsts” to the KTM legacy. For this, he was awarded our Rider of the Year honors and the subscriber cover of our January issue. To read the full interview you’ll have to pick up the January issue, and we must say that RD is unfettered with his answers. While at KTM last week for the press intro of the new 450 SX-F FE, we presented him with his first copies and talked about how he has spent his time this off-season.
This is your third TransWorld Motocross Rider of the Year cover. How does it feel?
It definitely feels cool. To be named a "Rider of the Year" is something I hoped for as a kid. It is a great feeling, but more importantly, it shows all of the hard work that we put in throughout the year, getting ready for the season, going through the year, and being able to win the championship. I couldn't have done it without the help of the whole Red Bull KTM crew and the awesome bike they supplied. I hope that we will be able to keep this up and receive many more.
Did you get to take a break between the Monster Energy Cup and now?
After the Monster Energy Cup, we had a few days of testing. But, I ended up heading back to Minnesota for a few weeks and spent time with my family and friends. I recharged my batteries, but did some easy training things that weren't too structured. With 30 races and all of the traveling, the season can be pretty long and it puts wear and tear on your body. By the time Motocross of Nations came around and then the Monster Cup, I figured I need it. It is good to step back from the sport and look at things from a different angle.
You have been doing a lot with your sponsor, Target, lately. How has that been?
Working with Target has been great. Obviously, they have been a big supporter of my racing career with many things, like supplying the motor home. That has been great help at the races, to just be able to relax. They also partnered with me and hosted the first ever Minnesota Major river to river ride, which was a charity bicycle ride to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. That was really successful and great to see, so hopefully we will be able to continue it. Working with an elite company like them is really cool. They are very professional with the way they do things and they like to do it in a unique way, which is cool. I am looking forward to the future and many more great things with them.
We put a collection of older videos of you on the site and in them you were very young, but already had a sense of maturity. Is that a bi-product of being one of the top racers and always having attention directed to you?
I hope to keep maturing year after year. At a young age, I set my sights and goals on becoming one of the top racers. A long-term goal was to be one of the best riders of my era and to have that mindset of a champion. You have to grow up so quickly in this sport, because you turn pro at 16, Thankfully, I have been very successful, but along with that has come things that needed to be taken care of. You cannot sit back and make "little kid" decisions anymore; you have to grow up. I have always tried to be good about that, knowing what is right and wrong, and how to make things better. That is going to allow me to eliminate things that are going to wear me out or keep me from being a success. I am allowed to have a life along with a great career. You have to grow up, and winning races and championships were a little tougher than I thought, but I try to correct myself mentally, emotionally, and physically to be there and be one of the most successful racers in motocross history.
As a bonus, we asked Ryan for his short list of musical preferences.