Number Cruncher: #33

July 11, 2007 9:55am | by:

Welcome to the Shift Number Cruncher. It just never fails to amaze me how every week we choose a number and then, as we begin too dig into it, something cool pops up. This week’s number was no exception.

Part of the fun of doing the Number Cruncher is just asking around the office and getting ideas of what number to choose. The randomness of it seems to help heighten creativity and at the very least the sense of urgency helps to make the most of the vast resources available. Well, this week everyone was busy and there was no race last weekend and therefore nobody’s number to dedicate. So, with the MX Sports phone ringing off the wall, I glanced over at my laminated “2007 Loretta Lynn Class Structure” guide and remembered there were 33 classes in the program this year. Boom! There was this week’s number.
With a nod to Kareem Abdul Jabar, Larry Bird, and Honus Wagner (see bottom) the three-three is a pretty big number in professional sports. It has some heavy motocross roots as well. So sit back in your office chair, throw some tunes in your headphones, and enjoy a little history on #33.

Robbie Reynard

photo: Jim Talkington

The tale of Robbie Reynard is a tough one. He came out of the amateur ranks as the hottest prospect the sport had seen since Damon Bradshaw. He had signed what was at the time, the biggest rookie contract in the history of the sport with factory Kawasaki and, after winning the final round of the 1993 AMA 125 Nationals at Steel City (and finding a spot in the record books he still holds as the youngest-ever winner of an AMA national), and earning rookie of the year, everyone expected “RR” to dominate the tiddler class in 1994 wearing #33. Sadly, he was injured early in the season and he would have to wait until the very last race of the season to return to victory at the track that put him on the professional map.

Sean Hamblin

photo: Simon Cudby

Dubbed, “The Great Hambino” by the infamous Bobby M., Sean Hamblin has made a pretty strong professional run. He became a member of the Loretta Lynn’s Hall of Fame in 1999 and entered the fire of professional competition shortly thereafter. The #99 was really good to Sean as he put in some amazing rides during the 2002 outdoor season, which included a podium at Binghamton as a replacement rider for Roger D. at Team Suzuki. His ride catapulted him to a full-time factory ride in 2003 adorned with #33 – when #199 stacked himself up and couldn’t race.

Casey Lytle

photo: Simon Cudby

Greg Schnell

photo: Simon Cudby

Kelly Smith

photo: Steve Bruhn

Matt Goerke

photo: Simon Cudby

If the #33 is indigenous to anything it is to the “Fifth Dragon” team of Yamaha of Troy as the digit has graced the side panels of team rides four different times. Unfortunately the number failed to find its way to victory lane as of yet although young Matt Goerke, the current proprietor of the “dub-tray” came pretty close at the east coast supercross season opener, running second.

photo: Simon Cudby

Nobody in the office can figure out who this guy is. I wanted to run it anyways as it serves as a reminder of why motocross is the greatest sport on the plant. Big, small, short, or tall – everyone can race moto. Even heavy set, hand guard wearing patriots like this gentleman.

Notable #33’s

Jeff Dement: 1996
Ross Pederson: 1989
Jeff Hicks: 1990
Eric Kehoe: 1991
Kurt McMillen: 1992
Mike Fisher: 1993

Honus Wagner

One of the more interesting associations we discovered with the #33 was that is belonged to a baseball player named, Honus Wagner. Nicknamed, “The Flying Dutchman,” Wagner was a Pittsburgh Pirate in the early 1900s, and to this day his baseball card (circa 1909) is the most valuable card in the world. In addition to being one of the first five Hall of Fame players in the history of the game, his last card sold for $1,265,000. Hard to imagine there were kids riding around with these cards stuck in their bicycle spokes to make noise.

That’s all we have this week. Hope you enjoyed it.