photos by Mark Chilson, John Basher & Debbi Tamietti
MXA's Daryl Ecklund holeshot both motos and went on the win the 450 Pro race. The former AMA National rider was using the REM race as an MXA test session for Dunlop's soon-to-be released MX52 tires. Photo: Mark Chilson
Although SoCal racers see the wind whipped snow storms that have paralyzed everything east of the Mississippi River on television, they have no point of comparison as 2014 has had one of the warmest winters in recent history. As the REM motocross racer gathered at Glen Helen for the weekly moto war the temperatures were in the low 80’s. And the racing was incredibly hot.
As Ecklund sprinted away, Steven Tokarski and Justin Jones (42) engaged in an all-out war in moto two. Each rider made kamikaze passes, only to get passed back in the next corner. Photo: John Basher
At the riders meeting riders were chastised for going out in the wrong practice and riding practice without signing up. They were also warned not to jump the dual lane finish line chicane’s berm, not to line up in the first wave if they were in the second wave and to make sure that the numbers on their bikes were readable (or even there). And this wasn’t a general dressing down to the collective masses—names were named and fingers pointed. Then, 450 Pro Steven Tokarski went out and raced both 450 Pro motos with no numbers on his bike.
The MXA guys had a lot of testing to do. Jody Weisel, Daryl Ecklund and John Basher were joined by the rest the gang (except for Dennis Stapleton who is in Qatar) to work their way through tire testing (KX450F), clutch testing (KTM 450SXF), suspension testing (YZ250F), airbox testing (Husqvarna FC450), pipe testing (YZ250), brake testing (YZ125) and miscellaneous other parts. MXA prefers to test bikes and products by racing with them—every week of the year.
The Tokarski/Jones duel was muted when Steven crashed and Jones just missed him. Tokarski would end up with a 5-3 to Jones' 1-2 and Ecklund's 2-1. Photo: Mark Chilson
MXA’s Daryl Ecklund, under the guise of testing the new Dunlop MX52 tires, won the 450 Pro class. He pulled two holeshots and went 2-1 for the victory. In the first moto, Justin Jones ran Daryl Ecklund down, but in the second moto Ecklund was untouchable.
Justin Jones splits his time between motocross and the WORCS series as a part of the KTM-sponsored Bonanza Plumbing team. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The real action was behind Ecklund in moto two when Justin Jones and Steven Tokarski engaged in a no-love-lost battle that saw them pass each other back and forth for almost the whole moto. In the end, Jones would prevail.
Jon Ortner (10) and Bob Weber (6) practice their formation flying in the Over-50 Elite class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
In the 250 Intermediates R.J. Wagemen swept both motos in front of his brother Robbie, Trevor Stewart, Willy Simons, Kirk Raleigh, Joan Pulgar, Tyler Hoeft, Jared Carraher, Kordel Caro and Stephan DeRose.
At the start of the Over-50 Expert class you can see Will Harper (7), Bam Simons (3), Ron Lawson (16) and Willie Amaradio (83), but cast your focus to the back of the pack where Robert Reisinger (96), designer of the 6D helmet, can't leave his work at the office. John Perry (to the left of Reisinger) drove all the way from Durango, Colorado, to get involved in a crash in the first 100 feet. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The 450 Intermediates were owned by Dean Spangler. The Vet Intermediates went to Ian Fitz-Gibbon. The Over-40 Intermediates were won by Ron Shuler. And MXA’s John Basher won the 125 Intermediates.
Dave Eropkin (811) used a 3-3 to get third, while Bryan Friday's (43) 1-2 was good enough for the victory in the Over-50 Experts. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The Novices class winners were: Robbie Carpenter (Over-40 Novice); Pete Vetrano (Vet Novice); Chuck Ramsey (450 Novice); Cody Marion (125 Novice); Cole Tompkins (250 Novice).
THE BIGGEST CLASSES OF THE DAY
Ron Lawson and Randy Skinner were this close all day long in the Over-50 Experts. Photo: Mark Chilson
This should come as no surprise to followers of REM racing, but the three biggest classes of the day were the Over-50 Intermediates, Over-50 Experts and the Over-50 Novices. When you add in the Over-60 riders there were 60 riders at REM who were born before 1964 (and the two oldest riders, Bill Maxim and Jody Weisel, were born in the 1940s).
British rider Tony Parsons (68) and MXA's Jody Weisel (65) swapped 9-9 and 8-10 days in the Over-60 Experts. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Over-50 Novices: Kennard Lipscomb used a 1-1 to sweep the the class in front of a top ten that included Jim Hanson (2-4), Bill Reimer (7-2), Frank Beach (6-3), Ken Reed (4-5), Robert Pocius (3-7), Michael Mosca (5-8), Anthony Rose (10-6), Tim Hoole (12-9) and Brian Martin (13-10).
Who is that man in the midst of the cloud of flying debris? Photo: Mark Chilson
Willy Simons Jr. recovered from this crash to finish fourth overall in the 250 Intermediates. Robbie Wageman (108) would end up second overall behind his brother R.J, while Matt Bynum (317) was 11th. Photo: Mark Chilson
Over-50 Intermediates: Terry Varner won the Over-50 Intermediates with a 1-1. Russell Brown was second, with Robert Collins third, Gary Harada fourth and Jeff Mason fifth.
MXA's John Basher (192) won the 125 Two-Stroke Intermediate class on a yellow YZ125. Gary Harada (55) was fourth in the Over-50 Intermediates. Photo: Mark Chilson
Over-50 Experts: Ever since they moved the fastest Over-50 riders into a special class, named Over-50 Elite, the battle has raged for dominance in the Over-50 Expert class (the reward for being the fastest Expert will be having your ticket punched for a trip to the Over-50 Elite class). Bryan Friday split moto wins with Val Tamietti, but Friday’s 1-2 bested Tamietti’s 4-1. Dave Eropkin was third with a 3-3. There were lots of crashes in the Over-50 Experts—with Mike Monaghan, Robert Reisinger, and John Perry all going down at one point or another.
Braden O'Neal (127) won the first moto of the 250 Novice class, but didn't score any points in moto two. Photo: John Basher
Over-60 Expert: Nobody knows where all of the 60-year-olds came from, but it wouldn’t have been imaginable a couple years ago that there would be more riders in the 60 class than in any of the Vet or Novice classes. This week’s Over-60 Expert race was great as three-time REM number one rider George Kohler came from the back to win the first moto over Bill Maxim, Mic Rodgers, Tom Holmes and Tom White. In the second moto, Kohler led into the last lap and was surprised on the way up Mt. Whitney by three-time Over-60 World Champion Bill Maxim. Maxim made the pass and took the overall win. It is logical that three "World Championships" would trump three "REM Championships." The top ten was filled out by Maxim, Kohler, Rodgers, Holmes, White, Hoole, Seifert, Parson, Weisel and Marion.
The Intermediate race was action packed. Dean Spangler (25) used this holeshot to win the 450 Intermediate class. Kai Mukai (75) would finish second. Did you see the guy in the giggle bushes on the right? Photo: John Basher
Ron Lawson on an AHM-modified KTM 350SXF leads Craig Christian (53) in the Over-50 Expert class. Lawson would end up eighth overall, while Christian would go 5-5 for fourth. Photo: John Basher
Ayrton Ward (797) gets cheered on by his dad, seven-time AMA Champion Jeff Ward (right). Photo: John Basher
REM races again next Saturday, February 22 (and again on March 8, March 15 and March 22). For more info go to www.remsatmx.com.