By Jody Weisel
I don’t know about you, but I’m fascinated with numbers. When I stop to get food on my way back from the track and the girl behind the counter gives
me the number they will call when my food is ready, I
get giddy if the number is 192. I don’t think it portends
that great things will happen, but I’m surprised by the
Back in the day when you showed up for your first
race, they assigned you a number: “You are now 294. Put
that number on your bike the next time you come here.
Until then, tape this paper plate with 294 written on it in
magic marker to your bike.”
I didn’t get 192 that way. Before I had my motocross
number, I had an AMA Road Race license and it was
192. Back then, the AMA allowed an Expert road racer
to apply for an Expert motocross license without having
to jump through the hoops. Under this rule, the AMA
assigned me 192 for both disciplines. The AMA stopped
this practice once they realized how terrible road racers
were in the dirt.
To tell the truth, I rarely have the opportunity to race
with 192 on my bike. My job is to test motorcycles, and
MXA test bikes have a special numbering sequence that
allows us to look at a photo of a 2018 Honda CRF450 ten
years from now and identify the year, brand and model
by the number on the plates. This is very important for a
magazine that tests 60 motorcycles a year. Thus, I could
be on 62 this week, 36 next week and 58 a week later.
The best use I ever had for AMA National numbers
was remembering phone numbers. “Hey, Jody, do you
know Jimmy Mac’s phone number?” asked Crazy Dave at
“Jimmy Mac’s phone number is Jeff Jennings, Mike
Larocco, Jimmy Ellis and George Holland,” I said.
“Thanks,” replied Crazy Dave. It was a system that only
a hardcore motocrosser could figure out. Jeff Jennings’
race number was 364, Mike LaRocco was 5, Jimmy Ellis
19 and George Holland 3. Thus, you could reach Jimmy
Mac at 364-5193.
The modern 2018 equivalent of my old system would
be R.J. Hampshire, Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia and Mark
Worth. That would be 36, 4, 51 and 93, or 364-5193.
Once cell phones took over, I lost interest in memorizing
phone numbers, and I don’t even know Lovely Louella’s
number. I just press a button to call her.
Over the 2013–2015 race seasons I had racked up 93
straight races without missing a single one. Then I got
pneumonia when I tried to race with what I thought was
the flu in an effort to get my consecutive streak closer to
100. According to my doctor, had I been able to finish the
second moto of race 93, I would not have lived to be on
the line for race 94.
I missed almost two months while breathing Albuterol
and lying in bed. I came back midway through the 2015
season and racked up 117 consecutive races in 2015, 2016
and 2017. At race 117, with one lap to go in my second
moto, I crashed and broke my left arm in two places.
The funny thing is, no one was keeping track of how
many consecutive races I did and no one cared, so I had
no reason to race while injured, sick or when the wind
was blowing 40 mph, but I was fascinated with numbers.
My new number fascination is a 7-inch plate, 6 screws
and an arm that is 20-percent weaker. Those aren’t
numbers I will be trying to exceed. ❏