Number Cruncher: East/West Edition

April 30, 2008 12:34pm | by:

Welcome to the Shift Number Cruncher. We have a big weekend of supercross ahead of us this weekend, and one of the most exciting elements of the show will be the Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Shootout.

The East/West race at the series finale has been around since the late '80s but went on a hiatus for a few years before being resurrected in 1997. The event then grew in clout and prestige as gear companies would make special one-off uniforms with custom #1W and #1E ironed on to the back. Although, the theme with those numbers is a bit of a dark one.

As good as it is to earn one of those numbers for this race, most of the riders that have carried it haven’t faired so well. The recent history of this event has seen the divisional champs suffer take outs, bike failures, and crashes. With #1E Trey Canard and #1W Jason Lawrence rolling into Vegas with Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey looking for redemption, we should have quite a show. Let’s take a look back at recent history and get a better taste for what we’re in for.

Brian Swink

photo: Courtesy of Moto Verte

There was a time when Brian Swink had the sport by the short and curlies. The RM125 was the weapon of choice at the time and Swinkster won the East Coast title then ran the #1E in 1992 at the shootout.

Tim Ferry

photo: Courtesy of Moto Verte

Timmy Ferry won the 1997 East Coast title without winning a main event, then took the #1E to the starting line for the shootout. He didn’t win that one either, but he got a good view of Ricky Carmichael and Kevin Windham taking each other out!

Ricky Carmichael

photo: Racer X Archives

Ricky Carmichael was phenomenal in 1998, sweeping the East Coast series, then cracking off one of the few wins by a #1E number plate.

Ernesto Fonseca

photo: Racer X Archives

Ernesto Fonseca and Nathan Ramsey won the divisional Supercross titles in 1999, and it was a determined Nathan Ramsey winning the East/West Shootout. The Fonz would return in 2001 with the #1W While Travis Pastrana wore the #1E. But, it was Ramsey winning his second Shootout on a #28 YOT YZ250F.

Chad Reed

photo: Simon Cudby

Las Vegas hasn’t been the best to Chad Reed. He rolled into the 2002 East-West Shootout with #1E on his jersey and went up against #1W, Travis Preston. But the story of that event boldly read, “#259.”

Travis Preston

photo: Simon Cudby

With James struggling with crashes during his rookie year, Travis Preston put in consistent rides all series long to earn the #1W. As previously mentioned above, the number failed to bring him victory in the shootout.

James Stewart

photo: Simon Cudby

James Stewart has enjoyed the best and worst of times in the Shootout. One year removed from winning the event, Stewart showed up in 2003 running #1E and wearing special “Digital Desert Camo” gear from Fox Racing in practice. It was the first time he had raced with anything other than #259 since his days at Loretta Lynn’s. Historians will recall the unbelievable quadruple jump James was doing before he endo’d huge over the finish line, breaking his collarbone and taking him out of the running for the outdoor national title.

Branden Jesseman

photo: Simon Cudby

That same year, Branden Jessemen rolled into Vegas with his proud #1E attached to some Elvis-inspired gold Fly gear. The #1 didn’t do him any justice as he would get injured just prior to the event and not even wear the number – or the gold gear. It was the #41 of Andrew Short winning his first Shootout on a Suzuki.

The 2004 Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Shootout saw an epic battle between #259 James Stewart and #21 Stephane Roncada, with Stewart winning and the #1W and #1E taking the back seat again.

The 2005 edition saw more bum luck for the #1W and #1E as Ivan Tedesco and Grant Langston wore them but lost to #188, Davi Millsaps.

Davi Millsaps

photo: Simon Cudby

While Grant Langston switched coasts and won the west in 2006, Davi Millsaps won the East Coast title and came into the 2006 Shootout with the #1E as the defending race winner. Again, the number was bad luck as he would come up short to – #29 Andrew Short.

Ryan Villopoto

photo: Simon Cudby

Ryan Villopoto had a disastrous go of it in the 2007 Shootout. He only completed one lap last year before suffering a mechanical.

Ben Townley

photo: Simon Cudby

Ben Townley wore the #1E in 2007 and didn’t even make it a lap before his chain fell off. He would get injured before the 2008 East Coast supercross series and not get to wear the #1 on his new Honda.

With all of this dreary history surrounding the #1W and #1E it really makes you wonder what Trey Canard and Jason Lawrence are going to have on their number plates this Saturday night. More than that, do you think the champions from either coast are the favorites to win? Dungey is the defending race winner and is fresh off winning in Seattle. And Ryan Villopoto boldly stated on the Supercross Live! webcast that he is out for, “Revenge.” The last time a #1 has won the race was Nathan Ramsey in 1999.

What number will win it this time?

Who do you think will win? Check out our Racer X Online Poll and vote.