Photos by Dan Alamangos
Winter in SoCal runs from December through February, so when the REM racers arrived at Glen Helen this weekend they were greeted by 60 degree temperatures and sprinkling rain. Thinking it was freezing cold, they bundled up in sweatshirts and jackets and enjoyed the chocolate brown dirt.
This weekend saw the “Final” last race of the 2012 REM Championship series. Originally, the “Last” race of the year was scheduled for last weekend (December 22), but because of a rain out the weekend before (December 15), REM’s Frank Thomason made a last-minute decision to add one more race to the 40-race schedule ... making it the second “last race” of the year.
Zac Commans (103) took the 250 Intermediate win this weekend and showed pro speed against 250 Pros Ken Bengtsson, Hunter Falk and Emil Nilsson.
The year-long battle to see who would be the number one rider at Glen Helen was settled last weekend at the “first last race” of the year and, after counting and recounting the year's point totals, the top 20 for 2012 are officially as follows:
1. Randy Skinner......690
2. Dave Eropkin........568
3. Ray Pisarski..........525
4. Joe Sutter..............523
5. Jody Weisel...........494
6. Pete Vetrano.........488
7. Willie Amaradio.....474
8. Mike Hillion............466
9. Brian Underdahl....438
10. Jon Ortner...........436
11. Mark Taylor..........403
12. Dan Alamangos...402
13. Mark Hall.............386
14. George Kohler.....368
15. Ron Lawson........354
16. John Tookey.........348
17. Tom Holmes.........329
18. Mike Borowski......320
19. Gary Taylor...........320
20. Chris Arellano.......301
Randy Skinner (383) became a two-time REM number 1 in 2012. The first time was 11 years ago in 2001.
Ken Ehlers broke a rear hub in practice and double-wrapped his chain around the countershaft sprocket of his KTM breaking the hydraulic clutch slave unit in the process. Luckily...
Luckily for Ken, Jody Weisel lent Ken his KTM 450SXF for the day.
COOLING TREND IN SOCAL
Although winter in SoCal is short and sweet, it does come as a shock to most California racers. First, they think that 60 degrees is freezing, but still show up in shorts and T-shirts anyway. Second, even though they will be sweating a few laps into REM’s long motos they don jackets and sweatshirts to fight off the bitter chill of the 60-degree day. Third, Southern Californians do not show up if it rains, but REM was lucky this week in that the day started sunny and and bright. The light drizzle didn’t begin until the second round of motos.
Andrew Arguelles (138) went 1-1 in the 450 Novice class and 2-1 in the Open Novice class.
As has become de rigeur at REM the biggest classes of the day were the Over-50 classes – with the Over-50 intermediates dwarfing every other class. The biggest classes in order of size were the Over-50 Intermediates, Over-50 Novices, Over-60 Experts and Over-40 Novices.
Brian Martin (65) looks like he is leading in the Over-50 Novice class, but actually he is holding down eighth place in the super competitive class.
Over-50 Intermediates: Greg Groom has a reputation for pulling off the track when things don’t go his way, so this week the riders in his class bet him that he wouldn’t finish both motos. Surprise! Groom not only finished both motos, but his 2-1 score was good enough for the overall victory (plus he made $10). Jeff Fahy was second (3-2), Randy Skinner third (1-6), Scott Fichter fourth (6-3), Mark Hall fifth (5-4), Joe Sutter sixth (4-7), Mike Phillips seventh (8-5), Kirk Waymire eighth (7-9), Thomas Malmquist ninth (10-8) and Ken Ehlers tenth (12-10).
The biggest class at REM on a weekly basis is the Over-50 Intermediates. This week it was won by Greg Groom in front of Jeff Fahy and Randy Skinner. Scott Fichter (445) was the epitome of yellow in fourth overall with a 6-3.
Over-50 Novices: Mike Hillion swept both motos in front of the 2-2 of Paul Doebereiner. Roy Krull was third (5-3) with Brian Underdahl fourth (4-6) and Paul Crouch, Jr. fifth (3-6).
Jay Clark (23) was out breaking in a big-bore Suzuki RM-Z250.
Over-60 Experts: Only in SoCal could you find so many riders over the age of 60 still racing motocross on a weekly basis. Because of the proximity to the motorcycle industry and the large number of 1970s pros still actively involved in the sport, REM draws a healthy turnout of riders born prior to 1952. This week the pack included four-time AMA Champion Gary Jones, three riders who were in the top ten at the 2012 Over-60 World Vet Championship (Gary Jones, Lyle Sweeter and Jody Weisel), two former REM number ones (Ray Pisarski and Jody Weisel) and two Swedish riders (Bengt Johansson and Borje Eriksson). Gary Jones would have won, but he tried to race at two different events on the same day (Glen Helen often holds multiple races on their various race tracks). A scheduling conflict caused Jones to miss the first REM moto, but he did win the second moto. The overall victory went to Lyle Sweeter with Tom Holmes second, Jody Weisel third, Bengt Johansson fourth and Borje Eriksson fifth. Ray Pisarski was sixth after crashing in both motos.
Motocross Heaven's Stefan Elvin coaxes Swede Thomas Malmquist (863) to catch Marc Crosby (X). Malmquist made the pass to go 10-8 to Crosby's 11-15 in the Over-50 Intermediates.
Over-40 Novices: Joe Sutter won the Over-40 Novice class with a 2-1 in front of Scott Fichter (2-1). Both Sutter and Fichter are over 50 years old and were taking advantage of a rule that allows riders to drop one skill division for every ten years of age group. Since Fichter and Sutter are normally Over-50 Intermediates, where they went fourth and sixth, they were allowed to drop to the Novice class in the Over-40 age group. Not only did the two 50-year-olds give up ten years to their Over-40 competition, but they had to race the Over-50 Intermediates and the Over-40 Novice races back-to-back without any rest. Cory Clark was third, Kenny Campbell fourth and Rich Merrill fifth.
Visiting foreign riders line up for their U.S. Immigration mug shots. Actually, this MX Heaven group is made up of Swedish racers Thomas Malmquist, Robert Eriksson, Emil Fallquist, Borje Eriksson, Ken Bengtsson, Emil Nilsson and Goran Bengtsson. Plus, Aussie Corey Parsons and Brit Aaron Collins.
WHAT ABOUT THE PROS AND INTERMEDIATES
250 Pro: Swedish rider Ken Bengtsson took the 250 Pro victory with a 1-1 in front of Hunter Falk and Emil Nilsson.
450 Pro: Brandon Brady won the 450 Pro class with ease.
Vet Pro: MXA’s Dennis Stapleton swept both moto of the Over-30 Pro class.
Corey "Hang glider" Parsons tried to race three classes at REM. Unfortunately for the Australian, some of his classes were back-to-back. With REM's long motos, three classes are too much – even for an Aussie.
Over-40 Pro: Austin Squires used his trusty 2033 CR250 two-stroke to take the Over-40 Pro win with a 1-1
250 Intermediate: Zac Commans was the 250 Intermediate victor and held his own against the Pros that started in the same gate as he did.
Vet Intermediate: Greg Landers 1-2 took the win over Rick Richards 3-1 and Corey Parson’s 2-5.
Over-40 Intermediate: Ron Shuler beat C.T. Falk, Goran Bengtsson and Brian Calhoun.
Troy Lee Design's Brooklyn McClenndon (36) styled for awhile on her KTM.
Lee Amaradio (3), father of AMA Pro Tony Amaradio and brother of LightSpeed's Willie Amaradio, went 7-7 in the Over-50 Novice class.
Mike Monaghan looked like he was going to win the Over-50 Expert class, but he crashed while leading the first moto and crashed again while moving to the front of the second moto.
Mike Monaghan looked like he was going to win the Over-50 Expert class as he came from fifth place to take the lead in the first moto, only to lose the front end on a steep downhill. By the time he remounted the pack had gone by. Dave Eropkin, Willie Amaradio, Doug Frankos and Ron Lawson finished in front of Monaghan in moto one.
In moto two, Monaghan pulled the same come-from-behind trick again, but this time when he moved into second, he ricocheted off a vertical wall and went down again. Again, Eropkin, Amaradio, Frankos and Lawson went by. The overall was simple math – Eropkin 1-1, Amaradio 2-2, Frankos 3-3, Lawson 4-4 and Monaghan 5-5.
This was the top three in the Over-60 Expert class, but in the wrong order. Tom Holmes (510) finished second overall. Jody Weisel (74) got third on the KX450F that he switched to when he gave Ken Ehlers his KTM. Lyle Sweeter (55) took the overall victory. Swede Bengt Johnsson (3-4) was fourth in front of fellow Swede Borje Eriksson (6-5) with Ray Pisarski (5-6) rounding out the top five.
Gary Jones tried to divide his time between the Glen Helen Pro-Am race on the GP track and the REM race on the back track. It didn't work out as he had to miss the first moto at REM when it conflicted with his first moto at the Pro-Am, but the 2012 Over-60 World Champion did make the second moto at REM – which he won on his WR450 enduro bike.
REM races again next Saturday, January 5 for the start of their 26th season. Practice starts of 9:00 a.m. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Suzuki Motorcycle tests