By: Lindsay Premo
Let’s talk numbers. Motocross numbers that is. AMA has just released the roster for 2017. I played multiple sports when I was little, and when it came time to get our numbers for the season, it was a full-out sprint to the pile of jerseys to grab your lucky number. I’m pretty sure I got an elbow to the face over the number 15. But when it comes to professional motocross, my co-worker trying to explain the choosing process was like trying to explain to an eight-year-old how to invest in the stock market.
The numbering system for motocross has been in place since 2000, with some tweaking throughout the years. To someone who is not familiar with motocross, it’s downright confusing, but to those of us who are fans of the sport, we try our best to understand it, thus leading to this post. So here it goes…
This one is pretty self-explanatory. When you win a series, you run the #1 plate the next season (i.e. Ryan Dungey).
If you have won a 250/450 motocross and/or a 450SX title, you have the privilege of choosing a single-digit number. The 250SX titles are not included in this rule because they are considered regional. For example, in 2014 GEICO/AMSOIL/Honda rider Jeremy Martin won his first championship. With available single-digit numbers of 6, 8 and 9, Martin went with #6, which he still holds this season.
If Martin didn’t want to upgrade to a single-digit number, he would still have the option to pick a career number. There are over 30 riders with permanent career numbers right now. Winning a national championship is one way to obtain a career number. The other is to finish inside the top 10 of combined overall motocross and supercross (both 450 and 250SX) points (i.e. Justin Bogle at #19). Some would argue this isn’t necessarily fair because 250 West riders don’t compete against 250 East riders, while a 450 rider competes against an entire field throughout an entire season. Another rule? Career numbers cannot be three-digit numbers.
The Exceptions to the Rule:
There are two riders with three-digit career numbers. Mike Alessi and Christophe Pourcel had three-digit career numbers before the two-digit limit went into place, and their numbers were grandfathered in. Also, if the next available number to a rider is #13, they have the option not to pick it because of superstitious reasons.
As For the Rest of You:
Riders who do not fit into any of these above categories, yet still finish in the top 100 of combined points, are assigned a number. Numbers are assigned chronologically by what is left over after single digits and career numbers are chosen. Interesting side note: AMSOIL Championship Snocross racer Tim Tremblay finished just shy of being assigned a number this season.
So, there you have it. Make sense? Consider this your study guide for the upcoming season. Some riders will (re)debut their numbers at the Monster Energy Cup in October, while the rest will follow at Monster Energy Supercross, which kicks off Jan. 7 in Anaheim, Calif.