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Number Cruncher: 900s

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Welcome to the Shift Number Cruncher. After reading the results of the Bercy supercross we had to dedicate this week’s column to the theme that was staring us right in the face. The big question of the weekend on the U.S. fans’ minds was, “Who the hell is Benjamin Coisy?” The Frenchman certainly put his name on the map by rolling out a couple of runner-up finishes in the opening night of racing on the #979 Honda CRF450R.

So, hey, you all know the ritual around here. You show up and blow up and you just may find yourself in the ole Cruncher! That’s the case for Benjamin—the multi-time French National SX Champion—and his #979, which got us thinking about all of the foreign riders we’ve seen over the years that have ran numbers in the 900-area code. We found a bunch! Enjoy the #900 foreign alliance.

Josh Coppins

photo: Steve Bruhn

Before Ben Townley came to America another fast Kiwi showed up for an outdoor national by the name of Josh Coppins, and he was wearing #900. He was actually David Pingree’s Shark/Plano Honda teammate that afternoon, and has enjoyed a long career on the GP circuit. In fact, you can read an epic tale of his 2007 GP season in the new issue of Racer X.

Eric Sorby

photo: Simon Cudby

Eric Sorby came to America a house of fire riding for Mitch Payton wearing #917. The mega-talented Frenchman was fast enough to win 125cc supercrosses and showed a lot of speed outdoors, but it just never came together. He is the only guy I have seen do a one-handed nac-nac in a supercross race though. He busted one in the LCQ in Vegas last year.

Tyla Rattray's bike.

photo: Billy Ursic

Here we have a “Bad” Billy Ursic shot of the oft injured Tyla Rattray. Tyla came over to Millville in 2006 on the #971 to help out Alessi in the title chase, but stacked it up in the hoops on Saturday instead. You guys remember that sick scrub shot of him that year?

David Vuillemin

photo: Mike Balzer

Here we have Le Cobra in his prime. Pretty cool to remember that David won three outdoor nationals and four supercrosses with #934. I always thought he looked bad ass with that silver Fox gear on the factory Yamaha. He actually rode my personal YZ250 to film for Wrath Child that year.

Matt Lalloz

photo: Steve Bruhn

Man, this guy came over here with a tremendous amount of hype. Roger D. was even talking him up. Unfortunately things just never materialized, but #970 Matt Lalloz has landed on his feet as Scott USA’s marketing guy in Europe.

Edgar Torrenteras

photo: Simon Cudby

Here we have the mad man himself, Edgar Torrenteras,  #909, better known as “ET”. He was in Chile with me when I had my big bail. We had a good time together up until that point. My FMX career ended right there while he went on to become one of the best in the world.

Yoshihide Fukudome

photo: Simon Cudby

Boy did this cat start a bunch of jokes when his name started showing up on the AMA Live Scoring Monitor! Bad Billy has a #952 Fukudome jersey hanging up in his office and actually saw a guy wearing one at the SHEETZ in Morgantown. You can’t make that kind of stuff up. Here he is riding Lites SX for the Moto XXX Honda team.

Mickael Pichon

photo: Simon Cudby

How many of you out there knew Pichon wore #904? Hell, I didn’t. Pretty cool looking cone pipe on his RM250 though.

Fred Bolley

photo: Racer X Archives

This is France’s Fredrick Bolley racing AMA Supercross in the states on the #917, on the same night that Sebastien Tortelli won! By the time Bolley retired, he had two FIM World Championships to his credit.

Bader Manneh

photo: Simon Cudby

Bader Manneh made a lot of news last year by riding the first few rounds of the West Region at age 40! The transplanted Californian, who has lived in Italy for years, didn’t make any mains, but won the hearts of vet riders around the country. We then ran a feature of him back in the May 2007 issue of Racer X, titles "The 40-year-old Veteran." You can pick up that issue at www.racerxbrand.com.

Bobby Moore

photo: Mike Basher

Bobby Moore isn’t a foreigner either, but he did run the GPs for most of his career. Here he runs #909 in one of his last pro rides—this time back on the AMA National circuit on the FMF Honda team.

Akira Narita

photo: Simon Cudby

This Japanese rider has been going for it for a long time. Akira Narita almost won a moto at the ‘01 High Point National on the #982 Suzuki RM, but Travis Pastrana passed him on the last lap.

Michael Byrne

photo: David Langran

This is a cool shot of Michael Byrne riding for Jeff Emig’s Strategic 3 Motorsports team at Steel City. Burner’s bounced around some good teams here in the states, and he is on factory Suzuki again in 2008.

Manuel Rivas

photo: Simon Cudby

Manuel Rivas showed up to contest the first few supercrosses of the 2007 AMA Supercross season and was turning a lot of heads before heading back to Spain. He finished second on Saturday night at the Madrid SX behind Mike Brown, but one spot ahead of Team Honda’s Davi Millsaps!

Ben Coisy

photo: Simon Cudby

Benjamin Coisy was certainly on the gas in front of his home country fans, giving them something French to cheer about during a weekend where an Australian (Chad Reed) won five out of six mains, and a British kid named Max Anstie took all three nights in the 85cc class.

We’ll wrap it up right there. As per the norm, if ya’ll have any other exciting foreign #900s you’d like to see get some attention—and while the familiar #971 of Davey Castillo may sound foreign, he’s not, e-mail me. Until then, make sure those goggle straps are straight and the gas is on.

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