Finally, thankfully, a little vacation... Time to rest, relax and forget about moto for a while... Wait, the 2021 numbers just came out! Back to work, and welcome to Racerhead.
For moto geeks like myself (and Weege and Matthes and JT$ and AFred and pretty much everyone else) the numbers offer a great off-season diversion for bench racing, debating, and starting redundant Vital MX threads. But it's good stuff! Seeing who earned what and imagining what their kit will look like the following season is off-season bench-racing at its best. I will admit that the change in the AMA's numbering policies to a semi-permanent numbering system back in 2000—the system that let Ricky Carmichael always be #4, Kevin Windham #14, Chad Reed #22, Mike Alessi #800—took some of the anticipation out of the whole issue, but I do think it has helped riders like those listed above.
In a nutshell, the numbers are based on points earned in all AMA SX/MX competitions (250 SX included) and then champions have the option to choose single-digit numbers (though not 250SX champs because those are "regional" championships) and riders in the top ten in overall points are given the chance to select a semi-permanent two-digit number (no more three-digits permanent numbers like Alessi, #377 Christophe Pourcel, and #199 Travis Pastrana had). After that, everyone else gets to pick from available numbers up to 99.
The task of adding all of this up and then making the phone calls to check availability is up to the AMA's Director of Racing Mike Pelletier, who you probably last saw on the podium at the final Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship round wearing a mask and handing out #1 plates to Zach Osborne and Dylan Ferrandis. Well, at that final round, no sooner had Pelletier finished handing Osborne his #1 plate for 450 MX than he had to ask Zach if he was going to drop down to a single-digit number (and not for the first time, as Zach had the option when he won the 250 Class title in 2017, but he chose to keep his #16 instead). Ferrandis also had a choice as the new 250 Class #1, though he won't wear #1 in 2021 as he moves up to the 450 Class, where Eli Tomac will wear #1 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and Osborne will be #1 in 450 Class of Pro Motocross.
Of course Eli will be back to his familiar #3 in Pro Motocross, for the first time since 2017 after coming up short in his 2020 bid for a four-peat. The other single-digit numbers are held by #2 Cooper Webb, #4 Blake Baggett, #6 Jeremy Martin, #7 Aaron Plessinger, and #9 Adam Cianciarulo. That left #5 or #8 for Osborne (who had first choice as a multi-time champion) and Ferrandis. After careful consideration, both passed on the chance to join the single-digit guys, choosing to continue with #16 and #14, respectively.
Osborne and Ferrandis had an unfortunate ripple effect. Because no one would be using the available single-digit numbers, and two double-digit numbers would not be opening back up in #14 and #16, there would be two less available numbers for the guys on the very edge of getting a two-digit number. This was further complicated by the choice for Jett Lawrence. As the highest points-earner NOT to be in the top ten and thus able to choose a semi-permanent number, the lowest available number was 13, and as a rule of thumb Pelletier offers the first rider a choice to pick or pass on the thought-to-be unlucky #13. If he passed on 13, the nest lowest available number would be the retired Weston Peick's #18. What did Lawrence do? He immediately changed his Instagram handle from @jettson83 to @jettson18. (And we still think he's the first person ever to win an AMA Supercross or Pro Motocross race wearing #83.)
So that cost Pelletier another number. But he wasn't done making calls. The #33 Josh Grant hasn't race an AMA SX/MX since the 2019 East Rutherford SX in New Jersey, back on April 27, 2019. Usually Pelletier there is a one-year grace period, and Grant had gone a year and a half without racing. So #33 was put back in play and it ended up in the hands of Derek Drake for 2021, which is kind of cool because that was Drake's longtime amateur number (as you can see in the main image for this post above as he celebrated at Loretta Lynn’s). And one behind Justin Cooper, who wanted #14 last year but stuck with #32 this time.
And what to do about #22? Chad Reed has always been a hard one to read, but after his "One Last Ride" tour AMA Supercross tour was effectively obliterated by the pandemic, it seems likely that we will see him out there again for the more fitting farewell he deserves. So #22 was saved for the man who's had that digit the longest on this list, going all the way back to 2004!
In the end, the last man to get a top 100 number was Hunter Sayles, who scored 30 total points and was assigned #99 for 2021. The odd-man out? The rippa himself, Jimmy Decotis, who scored 28 points. He is effectively #100, though the AMA does not usually assign numbers 100 to 125, saving them for variously unique situations, like #103 this past year for incoming Max Anstie (Max will be #34 in 2021). But Decotis stepped away from racing earlier this year as he has continued to fight an ongoing struggle with Lyme Disease—his future on the starting gates of AMA races is TBD. Also just missing out on numbers after the decisions of Osborne, Ferrandis, and Lawrence were Matthew Hubert (25 points) and Jeremy Smith (23). Sorry guys, honorable mention here will have to do. But what motivation for next year, right?!
Some other little oddities: Among brothers, the Martins are still the lowest total with 32 (Jeremy's #6 and Alex's #26). Next come the Lawrence brothers (Jett's #18 and Hunter's #41 add up to 59) and then the Masterpool brothers (Jake is now #53, Ty #75, which adds up to 128). And don't forget about the Hills as Justin holds on to his career-digit #46 and Josh (who rode a few 250SX East races) earned #84, giving them a total of 130.
Here are the all of the 2021 AMA Supercross and Motocross numbers for you to crunch, Andy Bowyer style!
And in a year that is already weird, the weirdness continues as Axell Hodges has announced he will race the 2020 Ironman GNCC this Sunday, October 25, at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana. The event is known for its difficult track but fun, Halloween-inspired festivities—Hodges will surely bring his A game both on the course and in the pits.
The former amateur racer turned freestyle competitor will compete in the industry class aboard his Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Watch the Ironman GNCC live on RacerTV.com.
Here's a few random things from this week...
A back and forth with Bertrand Sanlaville...
In a year when a Frenchman in Dylan Ferrandis finally won an AMA Pro Motocross championship for the first time since Jean-Michel Bayle 1991 (and first time ever in the 125/250 class) another fast young Frenchman in second-gen Grand Prix contender Tom Vialle is closing in on the 2020 MX2 FIM World Championship. If Vialle holds on this would mark the first time that any country other than the U.S. has won FIM and AMA Pro Motocross titles in the same year.
When did the U.S. do it? It would be 1982 (Lackey and LaPorte in FIM), 1989 (Parker), 1990 (Schmit), 1991 (Parker), 1992 (Schmit), 1994 (Moore) and that's it!
Only the U.S. has had both FIM and AMA titles in the same year, as in 1991 when JMB was dominating AMA, the FIM Champions were Everts and Jobe (Belgium) and Schmit (US).
South Africa came close in 1999/2000 when Albertyn won AMA, and then 2000, when Langston won FIM 125, but they were not in the same year... And had Stephane Roncada held on to the AMA 125 title over Travis Pastrana, he would have joined Frederic Bolley (FIM 250).
One could also maybe add the '75, '76 seasons when Roger De Coster won both the Trans-AMA titles and FIM 500cc World Championship (and fellow Belgian Gaston Rahier won the FIM 125cc world titles)
"Looks like a healthy Macaulay Culkin."
Scott Burnowrth posted this on Facebook:
Are you ready for the So Cal Vintage MX Classic this Saturday, where me and hundreds of 2-smoker faithful will converge on the hills of Glen Helen and pay tribute to one of the biggest icons in our sport
? Come join the fun!
YDX-MORO production model (and spokesmodel Bob Starr!)
Cool Old Win Ads (DC)
Found these on my computer... Classics!
Must Listen: @wewentfast's Little Giant (DC)
Our regular contributor Brett Smith of We Went Fast fame has produced another masterpiece of a moto podcast, Little Giant, his ode to the remarkable Yamaha PW 50, one of the most popular and influential minicycles of all time.
"Was the PW50 your first bike?" asks Smith of a way of introducing the story. "It was for me! 'Little Giant: The PW50 Story' celebrates the life and legacy of this iconic motorcycle, which turned 40 in 2020. It may have aged but it hasn’t grown up. The Yamaha PW50 is a familiar piece of our childhood that we’re passing along to our own kids.
This is the podcast version of the feature article “Little Giant: The PW50 Story” read by Brett Smith. Also, the We Went Fast shop has three new additions, all PW50-related, of course. Visit wewentfast.com/shop to see the whole lineup or click on the product below.
Pro Perspective (Jason Thomas)
Ah, the off-season. After a long, unpredictable 2020 season, riders are able to take a deep breath and regroup. For most, it's a much needed break, too. This season has been the longest in recent memory, spanning over nine months. There were COVID-19 induced breaks but many riders kept riding and training due to the uncertainty of a return. That seemingly endless cycle of riding, cycling, running, and lifting takes a toll. Injuries pile up and overall, muscles just fatigue over time. Maybe even more important, the mental strain of having to stay focused for so long compounds as the months roll on. Instead of resting and recovering in September, riders were pounding laps and boarding airplanes. It changed the calendar status quo on every level.
With the season ending in October, there is less time to recharge the batteries. We are only a week away from November and with it, the start of boot camp season. The saving grace is that the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship looks to be starting a week or two later than it normally would, giving riders more time to test and train before we go racing (we expect the official supercross schedule to be released on October 27). That extra time could prove critical as the normal November 1 beginning of boot camp will now be pushed back to mid-late November. As we sit here on October 23, that means a few more weeks of recovery are in store.
The one caveat to this timeframe is for riders joining new teams. They may be able to stave off the rigors of boot camp but they will need to test as quickly as possible so that parts can be ordered, built, and delivered in time for 2021. Still, testing is a walk in the park compared to the endless days of riding and training that boot camp brings. Pre-season testing can still include long days but 2-3 laps at a time followed by lengthy breaks are not exactly a trip to the gulag. Watch for riders like Dylan Ferrandis to be testing immediately while riders like Zach Osborne or Eli Tomac to have a more relaxed approach with a static 2021 platform.
Overall, things are quiet in the moto world right now. Riders are spending time away from the track. This relief will be short-lived, though. Before long, riders will be looking around, wondering if they are losing ground to their competitors. November will arrive and the gradual return to normalcy will begin. For now, though, enjoy the rest, boys.
AMA GEICO Endurocross Series (Keefer)
The AMA Endurocross Series kicks off today at Glen Helen Raceway. The promoters of Endurocross decided to go the Monster Energy AMA Supercross route and combine multiple rounds at two venues for the six round series. The first four rounds will be held in San Bernardino, California at Glen Helen Raceway October 23 and 24, 29 and 30, and the last two rounds will be held in Nampa, Idaho, at the Ford Idaho Center on November 6 and 7. Fans will be allowed to attend, so if you need to get out of the house and see some great racing, check out how these top off-road riders handle the extreme enduro/supercross style course. Annnnnnnnnnd if you feel like giving it a try for yourself, you can also enter in one of the amateur classes they have scheduled during the main portion of the program. I have raced a few of these in the past and let me tell you it will give a motocross rider a whole new perspective on what these "Endurocross Specialists" can do on a motorcycle. You can check the schedule out over at Endurocross.com.
LOMMEL III (DC)
Meanwhile, over in the "beautiful ugly" sand pit that is Lommel, the MXGP and MX2 world title chases continue with the third and final stop there on the notoriously rough track. The first one on Sunday was called the MXGP of Flanders, the second on Wednesday was the MXGP of Limburg, and finally third Sunday will be the MXGP of Lommel. The track itself is undergoing a revamp for this Sunday's “Lommel III,” which is probably a welcome respite for the riders, as many base their whole programs around Lommel, living in the area and training on the track often. Ironically, the winners on Wednesday—Jorge Prado and Tom Vialle—hail from Spain and France, respectively, which are not exactly known for producing good sand riders! Prado is dueling with his KTM teammate and mentor Antonio Cairoli for runner-up status in the MXGP standings as they have watched Slovenian Honda rider Tim Gajser steadily inch away from them both. With Jeffrey Herlings out for the season this would have been a prime time for the ageless veteran Cairoli to make a run at both of Stefan Everts' once thought to be unbreakable records: most world titles (10) and most GP wins (101). Cairoli has nine world titles and now 91 races, but he's not getting the wins and points that many expected when Herlings first crashed out. As for Prado, don't forget that he started the season with a broken femur! He was hurt during training last December and limped through the first two rounds, then got a reprieve of sorts with when the pandemic shut everything down back in March. The handful of points he lost to Gajser in those first two rounds might have made a different right now, as Gajser totals 533 point to Cairoli's 478 and Prado's 476. There are four rounds left: the final Lommel, and then another triple header ender at the beautiful Trentino circuit in Italy. Hats off to everyone at Infront Moto Racing and all of the MXGP paddock for pulling off a spectacular run through autumn, despite all of the limitations and restrictions due to COVID-19 (and it appears to be getting worse in Europe as they head into winter). Tune in to MXGP-TV.com on Sunday to see what the new Lommel set-up looks like, though no matter what they do, it's going to another long, rough and great day of GP motocross!
250 for France (Andras Hegyi)
After Dylan Ferrandis became the maiden French champion in 125/250 AMA Pro Motocross, the French have kept having with success, only in the MX2 World Championship. In the last three MX2 rounds—one in Spain and two in Lommel, Belgium—KTM’s Tom Vialle has taken three consecutive wins. Besides Marvin Musquin, Vialle became only the second Frenchman to get at least three consecutive GP wins in the MX2 class. Back in 2010 Musquin took five GP wins in a row on his way to a second straight world title.
After winning the GP of Spain on October 11, Vialle added wins this past Sunday and Wednesday at Lommel, Belgium. Vialle also became only the second French racer to win in the notorious sands of Lommel, as Musquin holds that honor as well, having conquered Lommel in 2009. Winning on Wednesday was Vialle’s seventh victory and also the 250th GP-victory for France in the history of the motocross world championship, in existence since 1957. (This list does not include the French GP wins in the women’s motocross world championship.) Only Belgian motocrossers have collected more GP wins than the French. The Belgians have had 542 GP wins so far. The Belgians were dominate in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, and then again in the late '90s and early 2000s with Stefan Everts and Joel Smets. The French, on the other hand, only really got going with Jacky Vimond in the '80s, then Jean-Michel Bayle, and have been steadily fast since in MXGP, despite the fact that many of their best riders (Mickael Pichon, Stephane Roncada, David Vuillemin, Christophe Pourcel, Marvin Musquin, Dylan Ferrandis) spent large swaths of their careers on the AMA circuit.
The maiden French GP winner in the world championship was Daniel Pean as he won the 250cc Grand Prix of Yugoslavia in 1977. Between 1977 and 2020 there were 34 French crossers to get to the 250 total GP wins. As class structure and formatting has evolved, the French were able to take GP wins in eight different categories: 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, MotocrossGP, MX3, MX2, MX1, and MXGP. The most GP wins for France came from Mickael Pichon, as "The Rocket" won 38 GP races in all. He also spent 1995 through '99 in the U.S., winning two 125 West Region SX championships—Mickael was the first Frenchman to win a 125SX main event (San Diego '93) and the first to win a title ('95).
Grand Prix wins for France
Eight wins each:
Mickael Maschio, Tom Vialle
Five wins each:
Sebastien Pourcel, Pierre-Alexandre Renet, Julien Vanni
And 50 for Spain (Andras Hegyi)
Despite being only 19 years old, the Spanish KTM rider Jorge Prado is already a historic figure in both the Spanish motocross and the FIM Motocross World Championships. Prado is the most successful Spanish motocrosser ever, regarding world titles, GP wins, podium results and moto wins. He is Spain's only two-time world champion, as well as the youngest ever two-time world champion in the history of Grand Prix motocross. By winning for the third time in the premier MXGP class at Lommel, Belgium, on Wednesday, he reached his 34th career win, his 48th podium, and the 57th moto win of his career. When Prado debuted in the FIM World Championship in 2016, Spain had only 16 GP wins ever, but on Wednesday, thanks to Prado, Spain got its 50th GP win. Spain became the 10th nation that owns at least 50 GP wins in the motocross world championship, in existence since 1957.
The 50 GP wins for Spain
The december 2020 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
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The bike "pyramid" at the first Lommel race was a rare occurrence. Credit to Pete Fox for spotting that and posting!
Matt Goerke - Retirement Interview.
Christian Craig's first day on the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha YZ250F.