Honda Motorcycle tests
Photo by Dan Alamangos and F. Stop Fitzgerald
Are there any Swedish racers left in Sweden. Tom Johnsson was second in the 450 Pro class behind YZ250 two-stroke-mounted Colton Aeck. It was a cold day at Glen Helen, but Johnsson thought it was warm compared to his home country.
A phenomenal 55 percent of the motocross racers at REM this weekend were over the age of 40, with the largest part of them being over the age of 50. There is no doubt that REM caters to old-school motocrossers with its laid-back organization, friendly staff and no-bull approach to racing. Plus, Glen Helen’s REM track is a classic motocross track, with big hills, lots of off camber turns and safe jumps. It is obvious that riders from the 1970s and 1980 like to race with each other – so REM has become a magnet for Over-40 and Over-50 motocross racers from SoCal.
MXA's Dennis Stapleton (184) also had a rider from Sweden staying with him. Jonas Gustafsson went 2-3 for third in the 250 Beginner class.
No where is this more evident than in the Over-50 Intermediate class. It used to be the smaller brother of REM’s powerful Over-50 Expert class (which boasts a field of riders who were former AMA Pros and are current top ten riders in the Vet World Championships), but in the last year the Intermediates exploded in size, partially because the fastest Over-50 Novices are constantly being moved up and partially because the wickedly fast pace in the Over-50 Experts sheds riders back to the safety of a slower class.
This rut was the fast away through this uphill/downhill corner, but this isn't the fast way to do it.
Each week the Over-50 Intermediates battle it out with the Over-50 Novices for the biggest class of the day–this weekend the Intermediates won by 30 percent. How intense was the racing? Three riders tied on points for the victory with Scott Fichter’s 3-1 besting Jeff Fahy’s 2-2 and Wil Harper’s 1-3. Jeff Mason’s 5-6 was good enough for fourth overall.
Scott Fichter had a good day at REM. He won the Over-50 Intermediates and got second in the Over-40 Novices.
Meanwhile in the Over-50 Novices Terry Varner is the next rider in line to get a ticket to move up to the Over-50 Intermediates (especially since Mike Hillion moved up this week). Terry has been building up a string of wins...and this week was no different as the engine tuner went 1-1 in front of Paul Bunn’s 2-2, Kent Reed’s 4-3, Roy Krull’s 3-5 and Brian Underdahl’s 5-4.
Jeff Scott (452) leads Owen Fitzsimon (behind Scott), Marc Crosby (1) and Ken Ehlers (103) in the battle for eighth through 11th in the Over-50 Intermediate class.
At the sharp end of the 50-year-old stick are the Over-50 Experts. This weekend, just like last weekend, the top two riders were Jon Ortner (1-1) and Dave Eropkin (2-2). Willie Amaradio was third with Greg Nelson fourth, Ron Lawson fifth and Bryan Friday sixth.
It was cold at Glen Helen (by SoCal standards), but the snow on the mountain in the background is misleading. Glen Helen is at 2000 feet. Onyx Summit in the background is 8800 feet. Cameron Reitzel doesn't take the time to look at nature's majesty.
THE BIG FOUR-OH CLASS
Cory Clark took the Over-40 Novice victory – with second, third and fourth places going to Over-50 Intermediates Scott Fichter, Joe Sutter and Owen Fitzsimon (under REM rules a rider can drop one skill division for every ten-year class drop...which means that 50 Intermediates can race 40 Novice). Kenny Campbell with fifth overall.
Mark Hall (56) takes on the infamous rut with Mike Hillion (413) queuing up for the next shot at it.
Gary Renko swept both moto of the Over-40 Intermediates in a battle with Steve Sequeria and Aussie Dan Alamangos. Alamangos won this class last week, but for some reason went in the wrong gate in his first moto...which he realized somewhere on the first lap. He stopped to find the right group, but threw away any possible win streak.
The bottom portion of the REM track is flat, but as you sweep up the hills toward the back part, it starts to get steeper and steeper. Braden Larson makes the right-hand bend that starts the roller coaster.
For some reason that eludes us there is an Over-40 Pro class and an Over-40 Expert class. The difference between the two classes is nil (and they typically end up racing in the same race anyway)...perhaps one combined class with a name that the riders can agree on would make the class bigger and more competitive. Former New England NESC Champion and AMA National Pro Austin Squires won the Over-40 Pro class in front of Willy Musgrave and Randall Fout. Greg Pierce won the Over-40 Expert class. Austin Squires also won the Over-30 Pro class.
Jon Ortner won the Over-50 Expert class on a YZ250F.
THE NOIVOUS NOVICES
250 Novices: Gio Martini used a 1-1 to defeat a top five of Brandon Reid (2-2), Cameron Reitzel (3-3), Matt Bynum (4-4) and Kelley Gilman (5-5).
450 Novices: Aaron Collins won both motos of the 450 Novices. Braden Larson (3-2) was second, Aaron Wolf (2-3) third, Michael Chesney (5-4) fourth, Craig Cheever (4-6) fifth, Cole Safford (7-5) sixth, Andrew Shade (9-7) seventh, Mark Taylor (8-8) eighth, Paul Austin (6-11) ninth and Rob Deeds (10-12) tenth.
At most races cutting the course like this would be considered cheating, but at REM it is called, "Taking the Greg Groom line." Okay, we admit that Jeff Fahy (31) is bending the rules by everyone but Greg Groom's standards.
Open Novices: Aaron Collins also won the Open Novice class, which isn’t for Open bikes, but instead a second class “open” to any Novice looking for an additional class to race. It does not have displacement rules, but this week everyone in the class was on a 450.
Vet Novices: Wil Harper, normally an Over-50 Intermediate (where he finished third), won the Over-30 Novice class in front of Mark Hall (who was sixth in the Over-50 Intermediates) and Pete Vetrano (who was ninth in the Over-50 Intermediates). The first 30-year-old rider was Scott Austin in fourth.
Austin Squires likes the sandy portions of the REM track because they remind him of New England. The hard-pack hills, not so much.
REM races again next Saturday, January 19. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com