Motocross racing’s passionate fanbase has intense debates about the important issues of the sport. Who is the best motocross racer ever? What is the toughest race? But perhaps the most interesting question is “which motocross racer has the best nickname?” Riders get their nicknames from all different sources. Sometimes a sponsor creates one just to promote the racer, others are childhood nicknames, and some are invented by fans. However they come to be, these are a few of the monikers you hear shouted at races:
The Classic Competitors
Riders didn’t get much wilder in the 1970s than Bob “Hurricane” Hannah. He won three AMA championships, the first in the 125cc class in 1976, followed by two 250cc crowns in 1978 and 1979. Hannah earned his nickname with his aggressive riding style. It wasn’t uncommon to see him flying down the course with his feet off his pegs.
Jeff Ward was known as “The Flying Freckle” as much for his big jumps as his complexion. He gained fame as the first competitor in racing history to become a three-class champion. Ward won his first championship in the 125cc class in 1984 before taking the 250cc title in 1985 and 1988. The Flying Freckle completed the triple crown with 500cc wins in 1989 and 1990.
Mark Barnett destroyed so many courses than he became known “The Bomber.” He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in part for his three consecutive AMA 125cc national championships between 1980 and 1982. Barnett is also known for his supercross and motocross track designs.
Creator of one of the first motocross schools, Gary Bailey became known as “The Professor” for his tutelage. Bailey was one of the pioneers of the sport in the United States, competing in a time when American motocross was dominated by foreign names. He was also one of the earliest supercross competitors. His son, David, became known as “The Little Professor” as an homage to his father.
One of the most famous motocross riders names you’ve ever heard is Ricky Carmichael. Carmichael is known as “The G.O.A.T.” which is an acronym for “Greatest of All Time.” This is an easy one to figure out as he has an unparalleled seven AMA Motocross Championship 450cc-class championships and three AMA 125cc-class titles.
The “King of Supercross” is the perfect title for seven-time AMA supercross champion Jeremy McGrath. He brought many of the tricks he learned from BMX riding as a youth to supercross. The physical skills McGrath had learned BMXing allowed him to be the first rookie to win a supercross title.
If “Dogger” sounds like a name created by a motocross nickname generator, you probably don’t speak French. Ron Lechien received his motocross name from the fact that “le chien” is French for “the dog.” Remember this bilingual nickname if you ever hear Lechien accused of dogging it.
Ross “Rollerball” Pederson got his nickname from his aggressive, in-your-face style of riding that wore down his opponents. This one hasn’t aged as well because modern fans probably haven’t seen the 1975 action film, “Rollerball.” Set in the futuristic year of 2018, the movie took its title from a fictional violent sport involving roller skaters and motorcyclists on a circular track. Thankfully, Pederson is better remembered for his 38 CMA national championships.
The New School
James Stewart Jr. is a racer so great that he has two nicknames. He’s widely known as “Bubba” Stewart, a name that transferred to his signature technique: the Bubba Scrub. Stewart’s four AMA Supercross Champion titles and three AMA Motocross Champion titles have also earned him the nickname “The Fastest Man on The Planet.”
Australian motocross competitor Chad Reed is known as “Speedy Reedy.” Reed holds the record for the most starts in AMA supercross history with 228 starts. His bike number, 22, also led to the name TwoTwo being applied to both him and his team.
“El Hombre” is Spanish for “The Man,” an apt nickname for 2018 AMA Supercross and FIM World Champion Jason Anderson. Beyond his superior riding skills, Anderson is one of the sport’s most unique personalities. The combination makes him a favorite among fans.
Ryan Villopoto’s only real nickname is his initials: RV. The talented rider from the Kawasaki team took home three motocross championships and four supercross titles. Three of his SX wins came in back-to-back-to-back years, a feat only accomplished by racing greats Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath, and Ricky Carmichael.
Similar to RV, Ken Roczen is known as “K-Roc” because it’s a combination of his first initial and the first syllable of his last name. The German competitor has won races all over the world, including two AMA crowns in 2014 and 2016. Roczen is well known in international circles as a MX2-class Motocross World Champion and Motocross des Nations winner.
Consistency led to American racer Ryan Dungey’s nickname, “Diesel.” His dependable riding has won him a combined seven major AMA championships in supercross and motocross. Diesel has also won the Motocross des Nations three times.
One of the fan-favorite motocross racers names is “Filthy Phil” Nicoletti. The nickname comes from the American competitor’s so-called filthy tricks and flows, although it probably takes on a different meaning after muddy races. Nicoletti has embraced the moniker, even making it his handle on several social media sites. Filthy Phil has achieved two 250SX Class top five placings, 12 career 250SX Class top-10s, and even managed a top-10 finish in the 450SX Class.
Ride Your Way to a Nickname
Few things show the excitement the sport brings and the admiration we feel for its riders like racing names. The best motocross nicknames aren’t just the coolest or wildest, but the ones that best fit the style and personality of the racer. Sometimes, we even create names for our most, or least, favorite riders.
While we may never be motocross or supercross competitors, we still love to do riding on our own terms. Even if it’s just among our friends, maybe we can earn a few nicknames for ourselves. Shop the best dirt bike gear and accessories to outfit yourself with great-looking protective apparel from your favorite brands.