Courtesy of Racer X

Saturday Night Live : Detroit

March 25, 2017 11:10pm

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Not since Ryan Villopoto clicked off four consecutive championships from 2011 through 2014 have we seen a Kawasaki rider look so in tune with his machine. Ryan Dungey remembers those days of having to battle Villopoto—and typically coming out on the short end of the stick. Dungey even brought it up after a disappointing third last Saturday in Indianapolis, telling the assembled press about his frustration during those four years.

“I’ve been in his [Eli Tomac’s] position, behind Ryan Villopoto for four years, and I don’t like it. It bothered me and it upset me a lot, to the point where I hated the sport. I didn’t like it at all. I wanted to be done. So bringing that back, I work too hard not to get the top result. We all do—myself, the team, the people around me, everybody."

This season is more similar to 2010, though, than any other year. In that season, Villopoto ripped off seven wins over 10 rounds to close the gap on Dungey before a season ending leg injury. Dungey went on to win that title, but wouldn’t get another one in supercross until Villopoto left for Europe in 2015. After tonight's win at Ford Field in the heart of Detroit, Michigan, host of Round 12 of Monster Energy Supercross, Eli Tomac has won four consecutive races, and seven of the last nine, trimming what was once a 25-point deficit to just seven.

After Toronto, Tomac said how hard it would be to claim this championship, when the guy ahead of you is one of the most consistent in history. “I guess if it wasn’t Ryan Dungey’s name in front of me I would say seconds and thirds are acceptable, but it’s Ryan Dungey in front of me so the only thing I can do is go out there and win,” he said at the time.

When asked tonight if that “must-win” pressure had subsided a little, Tomac said: “For me, it’s still the same goal. I don’t know … I’m still the guy behind, so try to keep doing what I’m doing. We have five more left. It’s nice to close the gap a little bit for sure, but I’m still the guy chasing, so we won’t be happy until … if we do make up that point gap.”

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RacerX Saturday Night Live : 2017 Detroit