Welcome to the Shift Number Cruncher. Happy Fourth of July, folks. As the nation takes the day off to celebrate Independence Day we’re going to keep this one short and sweet so we can maybe get out to the lake ourselves. We’ve been waiting to do this one for a while and to be honest I was beginning to worry if I was going to get to run it. You see, we usually wait to crunch a specific rider’s number until they bust out with a big race. This week’s number is actually one of the most recognized numbers in our growing sport. When you think of popular motocross numbers, the first ones that come to mind are #4, #7, #199… then it gets a little fuzzy. But in my opinion, there is another three-digit number that has struck fear into amateur and pro motocross racers for over a decade. This number may have been looked upon with a scowl here and there, but it was always looked upon with respect of the skills of the rider wearing it. This number has taken a bit of a beating over the past couple seasons but last weekend it returned to its usual form at the front of the pack. It you haven’t guessed by now, I am talking about the #800 of Mike Alessi.
Gene Naumec photo: Paul Buckley
photo: Paul Buckley
The story of the most notorious #800 of all began back in 1993 when Tony signed Mike up to race the World Mini Grand Prix. Patty Moorewood of the NMA told him that he could not have a top ten number so he asked if he could race with #80. Again he was turned down because Michael Blose already had that number. So, Tony requested #800 and that was the story of it!
Okay, that’s all I have for this week. I want to wish all of you a happy Fourth of July. Make sure and place those firecrackers on a flat surface, light the wick, and get away fast!