CHARLOTTE, N.C. – With four-time Supercross champion Ryan Dungey announcing his retirement just two weeks after winning the 2017 450 SX title, his third in a row, the FOX Sports Monster Energy Supercross broadcast team, including Hall-of-Fame riders Ricky Carmichael and Jeff Emig, along with veteran broadcaster Ralph Sheheen, offers its perspective.
Does his decision to retire surprise you? Why or why not?
Ricky Carmichael: It sure doesn't. Ryan's physical and mental dedication to the sport was second to none. He had a 10-year tenure at the pinnacle of the sport with virtually zero time off due to his attendance and injury-less career. With that type of dedication and effort, and the mental taxation of being in a title hunt each and every year, it can be exhausting.
Jeff Emig: No, it doesn't surprise me. He works at a very high-level and has 100-percent dedication; Ricky (Carmichael) can say better than I can about how that affects your decision to continue. He's always done things his way, he's always been very smart and patient and always thinks things through. To me, this decision is very much in line with his character.
Ralph Sheheen: No, I'm not surprised by his decision. He has won just about everything there is to win in this sport. He is, without a doubt, a first-ballot Hall of Famer. At this stage he would just be adding to his already impressive stats. With the incredible dedication it takes to stay fit, prepared and fast to compete at the highest level in Supercross, I'm not surprised that Ryan has reached a point in his life where he was ready to take a well-earned break.
Where does Dungey fit all-time in the sport?
Ricky Carmichael: One of the greats for sure. All-time, I rank him Top 4 because of the titles he's earned… that's what this sport is based on.
Jeff Emig: Statistics alone put him as one of the top-five greatest of all time. His consistency is something that wasn't always appreciated, but now that we're at the end, you look back on it and his way of going about his career is something to admire and aspire to.
Ralph Sheheen: Ryan came into this sport as a bit of a surprise. He was not on the radar for most team managers when he was an amateur. But, Roger Decoster saw something in him and, boy, was he right when it came to judging Ryan's talent. He exits the sport statistically as one of the greatest of all time. He is in rarefied air as one of only four riders to have won the prestigious Supercross championship four times.
Dungey had a good points race with Eli Tomac this season; does Dungey leave the sport in good shape for the immediate future?
Ricky Carmichael: I think he leaves the sport in GREAT shape and he's going out on his terms -- healthy, and a champion. I don't see how to leave in any better fashion than that. Good on ya, Dunge!
Jeff Emig: The heir apparent would be Eli Tomac, right, but new riders always emerge when you least expect it. And the way that Monster Energy Supercross is developing talent right now, I am confident that we will still continue to have a great championship battle in 2018.
Ralph Sheheen: Although we are all happy for Ryan, you never want to see one of your biggest stars leave the sport. However, as we saw this past season, Ryan had to battle numerous riders every Saturday night that showed they had the speed and the fitness to contend for wins and possibly championships. The 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season should be every bit as competitive as the one we just finished.
FOX Sports reporter Jenny Taft hosted the announcement.