Supercross taking over AT&T Park 

A rising star will be on display Saturday night at AT&T Park, but he won’t be wearing a Giants uniform.

No, Ryan Dungey will be riding a Suzuki RM-Z450 dirt bike.

After finishing second in the season-opening event in Anaheim, and winning the next two races in Phoenix and Anaheim, the 20-year-old Dungey, in his first year on the AMA Supercross circuit, is atop the points standings. Now he is looking to continue his hot streak at AT&T Park on Saturday night, with the event scheduled to go on rain or shine.

“He’s still kind of young, but on the track he is just dominating,” Speed Channel and CBS television analyst Jeff Emig said. “Three weeks ago we were talking about who would be fighting for third, behind James Stewart and Chad Reed, but [Dungey] is legitimately challenging for the AMA title. Not many people, including myself, thought he would contend.”

Stewart, the defending Supercross champion, has been battling injuries and finds himself in fifth place in the points standings, while Reed, the 2008 champ, stands out of contention in 24th.

Dungey will look to carry the momentum from his early-season success into the race on Saturday.

“I’m feeling good coming off last weekend,” Dungey said. “It’s a dream come true, to win my first race and then win the second one in a row. Coming in, it was all new, but this is where I want to be, being in the No. 1 spot and battling for winners.”

Emig, an AMA Supercross champion himself in 1997, has been following Dungey since he broke onto the motocross scene in 2007, when he was named AMA Rookie of the Year.

After a relatively quiet 2008 season, Dungey broke out again in 2009, winning the AMA 250 Class Motocross Championship and the AMA Supercross Lites West Championship.

Now performing at the sports’ peak circuit, Emig sees an entirely different rider.

“When he came out of amateurs I had never heard of him. He was thrust into the limelight,” Emig said. “He showed some speed and made a lot of mistakes in the lites class, but last season he shook away those demons and proved to himself and everyone else that he was a big-time player. In one year he went from a really good lites rider to possibly the strongest, fastest, smartest rider in the world. Just like that.”

Even with all of the early success, Dungey is doing his best to keep his eye on the prize, a championship.

“Getting off to a good start is always the goal,” Dungey said. “That doesn’t mean there’s not going to be bumps in the road. Every race we’re going to be tested, so we’re going to try to stay fresh and keep the momentum and confidence rolling.”
Although scattered showers are expected on Saturday, the event will go on as scheduled, rain or shine.

 

Monster Mash

What: Monster Energy AMA Supercross

When: Saturday; doors open for practice and qualifying at 12:30 p.m.; main event 7 p.m.

Where: AT&T Park

Info: www.supercrossonline.com

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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