NEW BERLIN _ It's all over.
Although two rounds remain in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey ended the chase for the 450 Class points title with his eighth straight track championship on a mostly sunny Saturday afternoon that drew 22,359 fans to the Unadilla Valley Sports Center.
"I really was just focused on putting a solid performance in today," said Dungey, who clinched his second 450 points title in three seasons with back-to-back moto victories at the Red Bull Unadilla National. "Luckily everything went really well, and in the second moto, I just wanted to put in a solid ride and wrap it up and get the overall (title)."
That's pretty much all Dungey had to do after his closest rival in the 450 points standings _ MotoConcepts Suzuki's Mike Alessi _ failed to finish a wild opening moto during the 10th round of the series.
"It was a crazy first moto," said Minnesotan Dungey, 22, who also won the 2010 Unadilla National with a moto sweep. "Before I knew it, I was on my head and realized I needed to pick my bike up and get going. I lost some positions, but I rebounded quick."
Alessi didn't, though, pulling off the track after four laps en route to a Did Not Finish that all but wrapped up the points title for Dungey. The website motorcyle-usa.com reported that Alessi couldn't continue after a rock punctured his radiator.
Several others fell victim to the deep, muddy ruts of the UVSC in the first moto.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James "Bubba" Stewart, who announced his intent to race at Unadilla a day before the event, went from first to almost last place when he crashed on the third lap. The 2008 Unadilla champion fell to 38th place but went all out over the last 13 laps to finish ninth.
Stewart's misfortune allowed BTO Sports/Palmetto Suzuki's Michael Byrne to take a brief lead as Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer soon charged into the top spot.
Neither made it to the finish line, though.
Weimer ended up under his bike a few moments later and left the track with a DNF. Holeshot winner Byrne took over for the next seven laps but also wiped out, suffering a leg injury that ended his day.
"It was just kind of crazy," Dungey said of the first moto, which Kevin Rookstool (Honda), Christian Craig (Honda) and Les Smith (KTM) also failed to finish. "Guys were going down left and right."
Dungey advanced from 10th to second during the chaos and trailed Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Broc Tickle for the next four laps. Dungey then took the lead for keeps with two laps left, holding off Tickle for a victory by 0.988 seconds. Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX's Davi Millsaps placed a distant third, crossing the finish line about 25 seconds later.
"I tried to play it smart, tried to get back to the front," Dungey said. "Broc was riding an awesome ride and it took me a few laps to get him, but I was able to get him at the end there."
Dungey earned 25 points for the moto victory, giving him a 110-point advantage over Alessi _ whose DNF resulted in zero points _ in the season standings.
Alessi returned for the second moto and needed a complete role-reversal to stay in the title chase. But Dungey was simply too good Saturday.
Team Chaparral Honda's Andrew Short won the holeshot for the second moto and paced the field with Millsaps for two laps. Dungey then passed both and maintained the lead the rest of the way. His razor-sharp leans in the tight turns of thigh-high soil contributed to a 5-second advantage over Alessi with two laps left.
Alessi charged hard as the two glided through lapped traffic on the final lap but ran out of track, catching a fist-pumping Dungey a few yards after he passed the checkered flag for a 1.576-second win.
"It's not easy," Alessi said from the podium shortly after the second moto ended. "If it was easy, everybody would have a championship."
Dungey sure made it look easy, though.
Dungey's 1-1 finish produced 50 points to increase his season total to an insurmountable 480 with two events to go. Alessi is second overall with 367 points, followed by Short with 311.
Short placed third overall Saturday with a 4-3 finish in the motos. Tickle edged him for second overall, following his runner-up finish in the first moto with a fourth in the second moto.
"It's cool just to get this championship," Dungey said of KTM's first title in the 450 Class. "It's pretty special."
The smooth-riding Dungey also managed to avoid a major catastrophe such as a DNF, which erased the last eight riders from the 38-man field in the second moto. Among them was Stewart, whose hard-luck season continued with yet another crash early in the second moto.
Stewart won the first two track titles of the 2012 season _ sweeping both motos in each _ and led the first two laps of the opening moto in the third round at Lakewood, Colo. A fan then ran across the track at Thunder Valley Motocross Park, forcing Stewart to veer to the left. A violent crash followed as Stewart was ejected from his seat while trying to regain his line. Stewart landed on his right hand, left the track and did not return.
Unadilla marked Stewart's second appearance on the circuit since the June 2 injury to his throttle hand. He last raced at the RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich., on July 7 and placed third overall, going 6-3 in the motos.
Stewart also left the UVSC with an injury. His website, js7.com, indicated he is done for the season. The website states that Stewart dislocated a finger during the second-moto crash and follows with: "James will now head back home to Florida to let his body heal before beginning preparation for a successful 2013 campaign."
That's good news for Dungey, who has won every track title since Stewart's June 2 crash in Colorado.
The series will take a week off before heading to the Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa., on Sept. 1. Although he already has clinched the 450 points title, Dungey said he'll still be riding to win.
"It's the same gameplan coming into all of these races as far as going into the next two," he said. "I don't plan to change anything."
Dean Russin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-432-1000, ext. 215.
450 CLASS RESULTS
Top 10 results Saturday of the 450 Class race at the Unadilla Valley Sports Center, which hosted Round 10 of the 12-round Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
Place, Rider, Residence, Bike ..... Motos
1, Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM ..... 1-1
2, Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki ..... 2-4
3, Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda ..... 4-3
4, Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha ..... 3-5
5, Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki ..... 5-6
6, Nico Izzi, Rochester, Mich., Yamaha ..... 6-8
7, Tyla Rattray, Durban, S. Africa, Kawasaki ..... 8-9
8, Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Honda ..... 7-11
9, Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Kawasaki ..... 12-7
10, Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki ..... 39-2
450 Class Standings
Place, Rider, Residence, Bike ..... Points
x-1, Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM ..... 480
2, Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki ..... 367
3, Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda ..... 311
4, Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki ..... 293
5, Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki ..... 293
6, Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki ..... 226
7, Justin Brayton, Ft. Dodge, Iowa, Honda ..... 202
8, Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Kawasaki ..... 182
9, James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki ..... 163
10, Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha ..... 150
x-clinched season points title
Sweeps 450 motos to clinch points title with two races left
NEW BERLIN _ It's all over.
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