Courtesy of RacerX
January 10, 2017 9:40am
by Jason Thomas
The first salvo in a monumental showdown has come and gone. Defending Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey may be in for his biggest challenge since the departure of Ryan Villopoto. Dungey’s current nemesis, Ken Roczen, has been very vocal about this being his time to shine. Kenny feels that Ryan’s reign has come to an end, plain and simple. The torch is always passed eventually, but rarely is it so resolutely disagreed upon as this season.
Dungey is still in his prime and wants no part of Roczen’s hostile takeover. The clash of the titans is underway, folks. The interesting part of this story, however, is that it’s not a head-to-head battle. It’s not just Roczen, the challenger, versus Dungey, the champion. This is Ken Roczen versus the Aldon Baker army. Kenny and his alternate path are waging war against Baker and his disciples. It’s not just about the results. This is as personal as dirt bikes get.
This battle has been brewing for a while. Kenny has made no attempt to hide his contempt for his old program with Baker. He wants to do it his way and is ready to tell the world all about it. He has taken it a step further in many cases, disparaging Baker with comments aimed at cheapening some of his success. Kenny owes Aldon nothing and is well within his rights to speak his mind. He knows more than most of what was working and what wasn’t.
While departing the program was surprising, I think more surprising was the vitriol he has shown in the time since. I think Kenny was really stung by all the comments from outsiders saying he made a mistake by leaving. He had his reasons. There is clearly bad blood between the two camps and it’s spilling into the 2017 season. As Kenny dominated last summer, he became more emboldened and vocal, leaving no doubt that he had found what he was missing at his former home. He wanted the world to see and know that this is his time.
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