Sure, right now it is easy to say to ride like Ryan Dungey – he is on fire. Even before this year Dungey has had one hell of a career – one most can only dream of. He has won races, championships, stayed off the ground and in comparison to other pro’s (hell even most weekend warriors) had very few injuries.
Ryan Dungey is not the flashiest rider on the track… He almost never looks like the fastest guy on the track, yet is almost always in contention for championships at the end of the season.
Why is this?
Dungey has an almost flawless technique that allows him to go as fast as his competitors who are hanging it out on the ragged edge, while staying in control. Dungey almost never crashes or gets injured and is often hated on by people saying he wins championships because others were out. The old saying “you have to be in it to win it” applies here – crashing or getting hurt for the most part is not bad luck, that’s why, you may notice it tends to be the same guys who crash and/or get hurt a lot. You could also make the argument he could have a few more championships if it weren’t for bike issues (2011 SX – broken chain DNF ended up losing by 10; 2011 Outdoors – boiled fuel DNF & non-starting bike started a moto a lap down ended up losing by 12). Bike issues are outside of a rider’s control.
Ok now that I’m past that rant, let’s get to the meat. I want you to watch Dungey ride and dissect his technique.
- He is almost always in control
- He hardly ever over revs the bike
- He is very neutral on the bike
- He rarely crashes
- He makes good decisions on the track and stays out of trouble
- Makes no quick/sudden movements
- Not to mention he is very fast, often forcing other riders to ride beyond their ability and crash.
I see a lot of young riders today holding it wide open, riding the shit out of their bike looking and feeling fast… Not even thinking about what they are doing or their technique at all. Some of them are fast, all of them could be faster if they shifted up a gear and added some finesse into their riding. A rider who is lacking technique and just pins it doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as a rider who develops a solid riding technique over time.
Riding like Ryan Dungey may not sound as exciting as riding like Justin Barcia, but trust me as you progress, you will be happy that you chose to develop technique and ride smooth rather than ride erratically. Your speed will be more sustainable over time and it will help you stay off the ground. Even Carmichael had to tone it down to win in the big bike class, he may not have been as smooth as Dungey, but he rode consistently and hit the ground much less than he did on 125’s.
Crashing sucks. You will be well served to slow down and learn some technique to go faster. Doing this will make you faster in the long run.