6. Ryan Dungey
2010, 2015 & 2016 AMA 450cc (Premier Class) Supercross Champion
Premier-Class Wins: 31
Most Premier-Class Wins in a Season: 9 (2016)
Ryan Dungey is proof positive that sometimes all someone needs is a chance.
With legendary motocross world champion Roger DeCoster at the helm of the Suzuki factory racing effort in the USA at the time, Minnesota-born Dungey got a chance to try out for the team in 2006, and DeCoster was impressed. Even though Dungey had never raced a professional race, and he was actually racing the B class in the amateurs, DeCoster saw something in Dungey and offered him a factory ride. Some racers may have thought they “made it” just by signing the contract, but Dungey didn’t. Dungey wanted to win. And he did so in his very first 250cc (Lites/125cc) East Regional event in 2007, winning almost effortlessly. He struggled a bit after that before winning a couple more races late in the season and managing to win his first championships in 2009 (both in supercross and motocross).
Dungey then moved up to the 450cc class and immediately rewarded Suzuki with the company’s first 450cc SX title since the retirement of Ricky Carmichael in 2006. Only the second rookie ever to win the championship in his first season in the premier class, Dungey then followed DeCoster over to KTM in 2012. KTM had never won a premier-class championship in the USA of any sort, and Dungey eventually became the man to bring them not only one, but two premier-class supercross championships in 2015 and 2016.
It is rumored that 2017 might be Dungey’s final year of racing even though he is coming off of his best supercross series in his career, but Dungey is the first racer on this list who is still racing, and he has the chance to move himself farther on up future lists.