Kings of the hill

Canard and Dungey rule the slopes Saturday, at Washougal Motocross Park

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Dirt flies and fans cheer as riders make their way around the bend during the Washougal AMA National Saturday. Guests began showing up at Washougal Motocross Park on Wednesday for the 30th anniversary celebration.

Ryan Dungey’s reign over Washougal continued for a third year Saturday, but the 30th annual AMA event at Washougal Motocross Park belonged to Trey Canard.

The 19-year-old 250 class rider from Shawnee, Okla., is on quite a hot streak since breaking his leg at Washougal during his rookie season of 2008. Hitting every jump, twist and turn on pins and needles, Canard completed two nearly flawless motos to win his third straight national event on the 2010 tour.

“When you get in the zone like that, it’s a really good place to be,” he said. “I had a lot of emotions coming back here after I broke my femur. To be able to come out and win two motos, it was just an awesome day.”

Canard captured 50 points Saturday to raise his season total to 302 points. Christophe Pourcel, who finished second in Washougal, leads the 250 class with 340 points. Canard has four more events to gain ground, including the Unadilla National, Aug. 14 in New Berlin, N.Y.; Southwick National, Aug. 28 in Southwick, Mass.; the Steel City National, Sept. 4 in Delmont, Penn.; and the Pala National, Sept. 11 in Pala, Calif.

“Just to win one of these is pretty cool,” Canard said. “I try not to think about the races that are in the past. I’m always going for the next one.”

It has been smooth sailing for Dungey in the 450 class, since winning the 250 national title last season and a Supercross championship this past fall. The 20-year-old from Bell Plaine, Minn., trailed Andrew Short and Kevin Windam in the final moto, before rallying to take the lead midway through and finishing strong.

“I have a lot of history in Washougal,” Dungey said. “I won my first outdoor national here in 2008, a big step in my career. It’s good to come back here every year, and do well. I really enjoy it.”

Dungey won his seventh national of the season to increase his overall point total to 368 in the 450 class. He has a 95-point advantage over Short and a 111-point lead over Brett Metcalfe. Short and Metcalfe settled for second and third, respectively, at Washougal.

“Dungey’s pretty far gone, but there’s still a pretty good battle for second,” Short said.

Dungey is not ready to crown himself champion. He plans to continue going out and earning it every week.

“I can’t settle. If I settle, these guys can sneak up on me,” he said. “There’s still a lot of racing left. I just try to put myself in the best position every moto.”

Dungey is excited about the potential of longtime fan favorite James “Bubba” Stewart returning from a wrist injury before the end of the season.

“If [Stewart] can come back strong, I think it only raises the level of competition, which is good for the fans and good for our sport,” Dungey said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to race against him. It would be a good step in my career.”

Retired racers got the opportunity to resurrect their careers by participating in the first Washougal retro exhibition Saturday. Classic motorcycles from 1971 through 1980 were ridden by former national champions Rick Burgett (1978) and Chuck Sun (1980), and local legends Eric Eaton, Ryan Huffman and Jason McCormick.

“It was definitely an honor to take part in such an epic event,” said Eaton, who won the 1985 Washougal National. “The course was everything I dreamed of, and more. It was just as good as it was all those years ago, if not better.

“I was probably about 23 when I won here,” added the 47-year-old from Tacoma. “I remember I had to beat David Bailey to have a shot at finishing second overall. I ended up winning my home course, and went on to place second. It was kind of a Cinderella story.”

Eaton hopes to be around for the next retro race in Washougal, whether it’s 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.

“If I’m still alive to do one of these, I guess I will,” he said.