Photos by Mark Chilson
The Pro race first turn saw Dean Wilson (15), Travis Preston (11), Tony Amaradio (130), Luke Reardon (110), Charles Castloo (424), Broc Shoemaker (448) and Brandon Brady (205) jockey for position.
Dean Wilson came to REM to prove something. Travis Preston came to REM to prove something. Brett Metcalfe came to REM to prove something. Eeli Takatalo came to REM to prove something. Matt Bisceglia came to REM to prove something. Thankfully, they weren’t all there to prove the same thing.
These were the major players in the 450 Pro class. In first place is Dean Wilson, with Travis Preston on his tail. Brandon Brady is pitching it behind Preston, while Brett Metcalfe takes the long way around.
Dean Wilson just wanted to race and prove that he had the speed and stamina to ride a KX450F up to its potential. Travis Preston is getting ready for his return to the AMA Nationals...and wanted to prove that he isn’t too old. Brett Metcalfe has a grudge to settle at Glen Helen and he came to REM to prove that he is ready for the Canadian Nationals. Eeli Takatalo got a burst of publicity last week when he announced that he was moving the the USA to race the Nationals. Eeli came to prove that he had the speed. Matt Biscelgia is on the verge of his Pro career and he wants top prove that he can run the Pro pace.
Dean Wilson decided that the best way to find out where he stands for the 450 Nationals was to come to Glen Helen for their 30-minute motos and find out. Love the palm tree.
So, why come to REM to prove all of these things? Because REM doesn’t have cookie cutter 5 lap motos on a smooth track. The Pros race for 30 minutes at REM and the combination of big uphills, even bigger downhills (yes, that is possible) and bumps that make you hurt for two days after the race is over is the big draw. If you want to prove something, to yourself or to your critics, you want to do it on a stage where you get the answer to your questions.
The last time we saw Travis Preston race was when Ryan Hughes and Travis went hammer-and-tong against each other at the World Vet Championship back in November. Yes, Travis is that old, but he says that he will race the 450 National opener at Hangtown. And, he looks fast enough to do some damage to young egos.
450 Pro: It was no surprise that Dean Wilson was fast, even though he hasn’t race a long moto in a very long time, thanks to injuries, he still had speed. But what was a surprise was how fast, strong and fit Travis Preston was. Retired for some time now, Preston wants to make a comeback, not go back on the circuit full-time, but to prove that he can still do it.
Brett Metcalfe broke out his old Yamaha of Troy number for 2013. Brett is headed to Canada this season, but came back to Glen Helen, where he got hurt practicing when his Suzuki ran out of gas, to exorcise the demons.
Travis Preston stalked Dean Wilson to two solid motos. And, when Wilson dropped his KX450F at the top of Mt. Saint Helen in a tricky series of ruts, Travis Preston pounced on by and couldn’t be caught. The first moto ended with Preston first, Wilson second, Brett Metcalfe third and Brandon Brady fourth.
Welcome to America Eeli Takatalo...now get out of the way as Wilson (15) and Preston (11) come steaming by. Finnish rider Eeli Takatalo (901) is going to race the AMA Nationals this year instead of staying in Europe. He got lapped at Glen Helen, but it was about 40 degrees hotter than he is used to at home. 250 Intermediate Nathan Cernicky (381) is in a Dean/Travis sandwich also.
In the second moto, Wilson didn’t make any mistakes, but apart from not getting in front of Wilson on the start neither did Travis Preston. They played a high-speed game of tag—with Dean holding the upper hand from beginning to end. Wilson went 2-1, Preston 1-2, Metcalfe 3-3 and Brady 4-4.
As for Eeli Takatalo? He got lapped, but every maiden voyage has a bumpy crossing. Now, he knows the pace (and 15-8 isn’t going to cut it).
LightSpeed carbon fiber owner Willie Amaradio (17), 6D helmet owner Bob Weber (6) and Indian Dunes hero Willy Simons (46) have a flat landing contest in the Over-50 Expert race. Amaradio would end up third, Weber fifth and Simons would DNF moto two after finishing second in moto one.
250 Pro: Matt Biscelgia won the 250 Pro class in front of Dylan Lemburg, Luke Reardon and Jared Thomas. Broc Shoemaker was really Biscelgia’s main rival, but a little mistake on the Mt. Saint Helen downhill proved that there is no such thing as a little mistake on that hill.
Gary Bowman has thrust himself into the position as King of the Over-50 Experts, which for some reason is a really big deal at REM Glen Helen. Bowman was untouchable this weekend. It should come as no surprise, Bowman once finished 4th overall in an AMA National.
THE OVER FOUR-OHS
Over-40 Novice: Antoin Daily went 1-1 for an easy win, largely because of inconsistency behind him. Second went to the 5-2 of Joe Pena, third to the 3-4 of Owen Fitzsimon, fourth to Kendall Stanley’s 4-5 and fifth to Joe Sutter’s 8-3.
Over-40 Intermediate: Scott Lindley led a parade of sorts in the Intermediates as he went 1-1, Mike Little went 2-2, Tom Baker went 3-3 and so on through the field.
The charge of the Old Brigade. Amazingly, there were more Over-60 Experts than there were Vet Novices, Vet Intermediates or Vet Pros combined. 100 feet off the gate John Huegel (27) has the advantage over Tom White (Yam), Jody Weisel (33) and Ray Pisarski (63). In the final points tally, none of these four cracked the top four, but they got to style for awhile.
Over-40 Expert: For some reason the Over-50 riders love to move down to the Over-40 class and wreak havoc on the field. Gary Bowman did just that this weekend, Bowman’s 1-1 stopped the top five of Eddie Davis, Alan Julien, Greg Pierce and Shawn Heit from getting any glory.
Over-40 Pro: Don Biscelgia thought that he might as well race if his son was, so he went head-to-head against the weekly Over-40 Pro winner at REM William Hendershot. The weekly REM winner won with a 1-1.
Don Biscelgia (76) would get the holeshot in the Over-40 Pro class, but would end up second as William Hendershot (501), out of Kansas, would catch and pass him in both motos. Meanwhile, South African Alan Julien (70) also got a good start in the Over-40 Expert class (don't ask what the difference is because no one knows that answer). Julien would end up third overall as Over-50 Expert winner Gary Bowman raced the younger group also to tally two wins in the same day.
THE BIGGEST CLASSES OF THE DAY
Pro Valve's Nick Costello (188) and Dr. John Tookey (24) engage in a duel to see who gets to wear the red "REM Crew" jersey next Saturday. These two guys have been racing REM since before you were born...and we don't care what year that was. Photo by Jon Ortner.
The biggest class of the day was the Over-50 Intermediates. Steve Donovan’s 1-2 took the victory over a top ten of Chris Cole’s 3-1, Jeff Fahy’s 4-4, Joe Sutter’s 5-5, Greg Ziegler’s 6-6, Randy Skinner’s 11-3, Jeff Mason’s 8-7, Mark Hall’s 9-8, Lyle Sweeter’s 10-10 and Garry Conner’s 16-9.
Dylan Anderson (195) leads Calib Best (250) in the first moto of the 450 intermediate class. Anderson would win moto one, but Best would take the second stanza and the overall.
Lyle Sweeter would come back to win the Over-60 Expert class in front of a top ten of Mic Rodgers, Tom Holmes, George Kohler, Tom White, Bill Seifert, Ray Pisarski, Bengt Johnasson, John Huegel, Jody Weisel and Bill Maxim.
The second biggest class of the day was
the Over-50 Novices. It was won by Shy Moshy (1-1) over Ray Glover
(2-2), Syd Woods (3-3), Roy Krull (6-4) and Brian Underdahl (5-5).
The star of the day was 250 Novice Trevor Stewart who YZ125 two-stroked it to victory against a tough field of thumpers.
Perhaps the best ride of the day was put in by Trevor Stewart in the 250 Novice class. Stewart, on a YZ125 two-stroke, put it to the class with a 1-1. Willy Simons Jr, was second in both motos with Daniel Cortines third and fellow two-stroke rider Jon Rice fourth.
Although we always ask "Where in the world is Dennis Stapleton?," we could ask the same thing about REM's two-story scoring tower. Last year it was moved over by the Lucas Oil Offroad Truck track and this year it is in the old Bud's Creek section of Glen Helen. Hopefully, once Red Bull is through with the X-Fighters they will return it to its original location in good shape. As for Stapleton, he was in Jakarta over the weekend.
Why was REM racing on the USGP track instead of their own track at Glen Helen? The Red Bull X-Fighters are using the REM track for their May 11 event (largely because it is shaped like a natural amphitheater). Red Bull has already started building the jumps for the freestyle event, so REM moved 100 feet to the west to Glen Helen's other track.
REM races again, May 4. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com