2010 Seattle Supercross: Ryan Dungey's first 450SX title



While we can't be at the amazing Century Link Field stadium for the Seattle supercross this weekend, we can take a quick look back at the 2010 race. We chose 2010 because it was Ryan Dungey's very first 450SX title, it was his rookie season in the premier class, and he did it with two rounds to go. He was the second rider to win the premier class title as a rookie: the first to do it was Jeremy McGrath.


Set just south of downtown proper, the stadium and pits make for an incredible venue that everyone looked forward to, despite the fact that it was fully open to the elements in the Pacific Northwest in early spring.


Known for questionable weather and even more questionable soil for the racing surface, Seattle is always a wildcard on the schedule. Built for the Seattle Seahawks NFL team and Seattle Sounders MLS club, it was purposely built to expose visiting teams to the local Seattle weather. It was a never a surprise that when AMA Supercross rolled into town in April each year, things would often be a bit damp. What's more, the volcanic soil looked like it'd literally been scraped off of the slopes of nearby Mt. Rainier. In recent years, track builders sourced a more solid and predictable clay-based soil, but we still can't control the weather. Seattle in April means chilly, rainy and overcast conditions are pretty much guaranteed.


It was Round 15 of 17 on April 24, 2010, and Ryan Dungey started the event with a 29-point lead over Ryan Villopoto. The large gap came about quickly for Dungey, as the previous weekend marked the end of the season for Villopoto. While leading Dungey late in the St. Louis main event, Villopoto clipped the top of a jump with his rear wheel and was launched from his bike. The result was a serious leg break that could have spelled the end of his career, but we now know that wouldn't be the case, as Villopoto bounced back to take the title in 2011. So, what started as a narrow five-point gap the previous weekend resulted in a 29-point lead at the beginning of the Seattle round over a rider that wouldn't be showing up to race. Josh Hill was a very distant third at 75 points down.


That massive gap was enough to crown the champ early while also allowing Dungey to essentially cruise to a safe fourth-place main event finish. The final points tally ended the championship battle early as the rookie left the Emerald City with a 54 point gap over Villopoto and 72 over Kevin Windham, who'd moved into third place in the points standings by the end of the season.


When one rider that's typically on the podium isn't up there, it opens up room for others to make their appearance. In this case, it was Kevin Windham who pulled off a very popular win in front of a full house of cheering fans. What's probably most remarkable about that victory was the gap to Tommy Hahn in second place - more than 22 seconds! It certainly was no surprise for Windham to be good on such a technical and rutted track, but a gap like that makes one wonder if he'd pulled off the win no matter who showed up to race and whether they were protecting a points lead or not. It was not to be Windham's only win of the season either. He followed it up the following weekend in Salt Lake City with another solid 25 point effort, and the final of his long AMA Supercross career.


Another interesting tidbit from this night in Seattle is that Tommy Hahn's younger brother Wil also made it onto the podium for a runner-up finish, but in the 250 class. The final two rounds of the 2010 season saw acwin for Dungey to put a cherry on top of his inaugural 450SX title - he'd go on to win three more titles, but only after his nemesis Villopoto was finished clicking off his four-in-a-row beginning in 2011. If you just can't get enough of 2010 Seattle Supercross photos, we're loading a few dozen images onto our Facebook feed and will also get a few up on Instagram throughout the weekend.

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