Number Cruncher: #2

September 5, 2007 1:23pm | by:

Welcome to the Shift Number Cruncher. Another week has gone by and yet another number has risen above the dust cloud and established itself as the pick of the litter. This number is as close as you can get to greatness without actually standing on top of the mountain. How does the saying go? “Second sucks?” Ah, but it’s arguably the strongest number of all. A wise man once said something like, “you have to feel the pain of coming in second before you can fully appreciate being first.” What actually prompted this week’s number was the results of this past weekend’s Can-Am GNCC event where Barry Hawk and Chris Borich took the #2 to victory. Couple that with the fact that only two motos remain for the boys outdoors, the second-place finish of #2 Brandon Currie in the Supermoto Lites class last weekend and, well, it was time to throw out the deuce. Enjoy.

Johnny O'Mara

photo: Dick Miller Archives

Ok, the Motocross of Nations are right around the corner so let’s run some of that action to start off. Check out this gorgeous shot of Johnny O’Mara wearing the two at the 1982 Trophee Des Nations. Performances such as the ones Johnny O’, plus Bailey, and Wardy, and Hannah, and Johnson, and Emig, and Carmichael and so many more produced are a big part of why this race is very, very important. Buy your tickets now!

Ryan Villopoto featured on this 2008 calendar.

Ryan Villopoto has been straight crushing it. He’ll carry the #2 for the red white and blue for the second time in two consecutive MxoN appearances. The smart money indicates that will be his only connection to the digit when the race is over with—unless he picks #2 as a permanent number, which Jeremy McGrath has already stated would be fine by him. Here RV1 is featured on the cover of this very cool 2008 calendar which features beautiful photography from Simon Cudby. Get yours now at

Jeff Emig

photo: Fran Kuhn

Jeff Emig made a big move from Yamaha to Kawasaki in 1996 and raced Jeremy McGrath into the last moto of the outdoor season at Steel City. Fro nailed the holeshot and rode himself into the history books. Remember how cool this helmet was? Chrome was huge in the mid 90’s and nobody had a cooler chrome lid than Mr. Emig. I chose this #2 because like Emig’s title, the one that will be decided this weekend at Glen Helen could be very similar. Also, transversely, Grant Langston just switched from Kawasaki to Yamaha and has a chance to win the title wearing #8 – Jeff Emig also won a title wearing #8 on a Yamaha.

Jeremy McGrath

photo: Jim Sanderson

This is a rare picture of Jeremy McGrath racing with #2 in 1997. The number on his Junior Motorsports late model is #72 which he says stands for his seven supercross titles, and his ownership of AMA permanent #2.

We leaned on resident GNCC guru, Jason Wiegandt, for these next two cats.

Barry Hawk

photo: Jason Hooper

Smithfield, PA’s Barry Hawk, riding with #2, nailed down win #2 on the Can-Am GNCC season last weekend. In addition to this, he was runner up in 2005 and 2006, and is currently in the process of chasing down David Knight for his second title. Barry lives about eight miles from the office and is kind of a local legend. He has 19 career wins and can get around High Point faster than most of the local pros. You know you’re the man when Carrie Jo has your sticker on the back of her Tahoe.

Chris Borich

photo: Jason Hooper

Chris Borich wears #2 in the XC1 Pro class and is the toughest competitor ever to Bill Ballance, who has won seven-straight GNCC ATV titles and would break Barry Hawk’s (yes, he raced quads before moto) all-time ATV title total with eight this year. But Borich, who has finished as #2 three times, is making it tough on him. Chris’ recent win carried him into the points lead.

Jamie Hacking

photo: Andrew Wheeler

Throwing some love to our brothers and sisters at Road Racer X, here’s a shot of current AMA Supersport and Superstock champion, #2 Jamie Hacking.

Brandon Currie

photo: Paul Buckley

I’m telling you, #2 is everywhere this week! Our own David Pingree had to outlast Anaheim’s Brandon Currie for the victory last weekend in Nashville. Brandon runs the two, finished second in the race and currently sits 2nd in series points.

That’s all, folks. We realize there are literally dozens of other famous #2s that we didn’t cover. These are just a few of my favorites and some that correlate to current times. Send me some of your favorites to and we’ll try to post them up in the Redux.