Photos by Dan Almangos and Ernie Becker
Jason Lawrence (338) won the 450 Pro class with a 2-1 day. It wasn’t all fun and games as Jason got into an scuffle after practice with fellow 450 Pro Brandon Brady.
In a pure world, Jason Lawrence would have been at the Southwick National motocross and Michael Lieb would have been at the Swedish Grand Prix this past weekend. Instead, they were at the weekly REM motocross races at Glen Helen getting in some warm-up before their return to the Big-Time. They went 2-1 and 1-3 respectively, but not without controversy.
MXA’s Daryl Ecklund (61) spent Wednesday and Thursday with Yamaha at Zaca Station setting up MXA’s 2014 YZ450F, then he came to Glen Helen on Saturday to test those settings in a race. Three MXA test riders raced the bike to accelerate the learning curve.
SoCal was under an extreme heat warning, which just means that the temperatures were over 100 degrees and old ladies in Beverly Hills were advised not to walk their poodles — it didn’t apply to motocross racers.
Just when you think no one is looking — snap! You are captured cheating. Michael Lieb (80) is fast enough not to need to do bush league things that bring his reputation and that of his sponsors into question. Lieb is this week's "Greg Groom Creative Line Award" winner for straightening out this right/left kink into a straight on every lap.
South African Alan Julien (70) demonstrates what side of the track marker the track really was.
Also notable was the presence of three Kuwaitti riders, who are staying with MXA’s Dennis Stapleton (still recovering from his shoulder surgery after a surfing accident). Everyone at REM assumed that the Kuwaittis wouldn’t be affected by the heat, given that the summer temperatures in Kuwait are near 120 degrees. That wasn’t true because, as the Kuwaittis explained, they don’t race in the summer, only in the winter, and in the summer they stay inside where it is air conditioned.
Justin Jones (42) went 4-4 in the 450 Pro class.
450 Pro: Jason Lawrence seems to find trouble wherever he goes (or maybe it finds him). He didn’t make it through practice before reportedly getting into a scuffle with fellow Pro Brandon Brady. Luckily for Lawrence and Brady, REM promoter Frank Thomason didn’t see the incident because he cracks down on any kind of high jinx with banishment. Lawrence went 2-1 to take the 450 Pro victory (although he was run down by Michael Lieb in moto one and almost caught by Brandon Scharer in moto two).
Vito Bednar (222) lays his Honda into a high-speed bend.
Vito Bednar’s rear end steps out and gets him crossed up and headed in the wrong direction.
Vito Bednar’s bike is still going in the wrong direction, but his head is aimed in the right direction—just at the wrong altitude.
250 Intermediates: Nathan Cernicky swept both motos of the Intermediates in front of Kordel Caro and Greg Guerin. The Over-40 Intermediate class was won by Wesley Turner in fornt of Ron Shuler and Dan Alamangos.
Motocross is a very young sport in Kuwait and these three racers came to SoCal to see what it's like on the other side of the world. Abdullah Shatti (left), Moaath Alansari (center) and Faisal Al Sharqawi (right).
Moaath Alansari (110) went 5-3 in the 450 Novice class. The Kuwaittis are used to riding on flatter tracks with the only obstacles being jumps, so REM’s big hills, tricky off-cambers and square-edge bumps were a major test. There are no hills in Kuwait.
Abdullah Shatti (24) put together 3-3 scores in the 250 Novice class.
Over-50 Intermediates: The biggest class of the day always deserves credit and it was the Over-50 Intermediates. Steve Donovan took the win with a 2-1 in front of Jeff Fahy’s 1-3, Fred Nichols’ 3-2, Jeff Mason’s 6-4, Wil Harper’s 6-5, Greg Ziegler’s 4-9, Mark Hall’s 8-6, Pete Vetrano’s 9-7, Bobby Hunt’s 10-8 and Joe Sutter’s 5-14.
Even though it was 102 degrees at Glen Helen on Saturday, four-time 250 National Champion (1971-1974) Gary Jones tried to race two classes. He won the Over-60 Experts, but skipped his second Over-50 Expert moto so he would have enough energy to race an SRA Grand Prix the next day.
Over-60 Experts: What is the world coming to when the second biggest class of the day is the Over-60 Expert class? These riders started their racing careers as far back as the 1960s — and are still at it 45 years later. AMA Hall of Famer Gary Jones won both motos after spirited duels with Carl Gazafy (2-2) and George Kohler (3-3). Hollywood Stuntman Mic Rodgers was fourth (4-4), John Huegel fifth (6-6), Jody Weisel sixth (8-5), Tom Holmes seventh (5-8) and Bill Seifert (7-7) eighth.
Jon Ortner (10) was putting in his first ride on his 2014 Yamaha YZ450F. Jon and Gary Jones (88) drag race out of corner. Ortner won the Over-50 Expert class.
Vet Novice: Scotty Walker’s 1-1 defeated a top five that included Ernie Becker’s 2-2, Mike Wilson’s 3-3, Pete Vetrano’s 4-4 and Billy Seifert’s 5-5. Kudos to Pete Vetrano for ironmanning it through two classes on the broiling hot day.
Ernie Becker (35), Ian Andre (142) and Mark Taylor (126) start down one of REM’s downhills.
This week marked the start of the REM Summer Series. REM will race on July 6, July 13, July 20, August 3, August 10 and August 17. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com