Red Bull Straight Rhythm once again delivered great racing as Shane McElrath took home the title for the third straight year.
For the past two years, McElrath has been in the lites class, but this year since it was only 2 stroke pipes, McElrath moved into the premier class and came out on time after head to head racing with 4-time Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey who came out of retirement to race this past weekend.
Coming out of retirement for racers seems to be a common theme as Dungey returned this weekend and Ryan Villopoto raced this weekend after coming out of retirement to race in the Monster Energy Cup.
Competing in a best of three head to head race provides for some great racing and for McElrath, he had to work for that win. In the semifinals, McElrath had to race teammate Jordon Smith for the opportunity to race against Dungey who squared off with a shootout with Villopoto in their semifinal.
“I was more nervous to race against Jordon (Smith) then Ryan (Dungey),” said McElrath post race. “The rivalry that we have is so good. We both think in our heads that we cannot let the other beat us. We have grown up racing against each other since kids. We are good friends and we push each other, but we hate getting beat by each other. It is a good camaraderie because we use that to better each other and to keep our egos in check. It makes for a better friendship and team environment.”
Through the years Red Bull Straight Rhythm has evolved to stay fresh and always add something. This year going retro and going back to two stroke bikes was a huge hit, albeit that many of the riders really had to work to ride the bike since it performs on a different level than they are used to with the 4 stroke race bike seen mostly in Supercross.
“It was fun to be out here and do something different,” said Dungey. “I spent a total of four days on the bike and it really took the qualifiers today to really feel like I had a good handle on the bike. Being able to put down the fastest time in qualifiers was huge for me and put me in a spot to race for the win. These bikes are different. They are tough in their own way, and they take more skill to ride but they were fun to ride with on this setup.”
As a race fan, it was awesome to see something different from an event. The retro jerseys, the bike setups and more made for an event that should capture attention if Red Bull decides to continue that tradition.