Photos by Dan Alamangos, Debbi Tamietti and Mark Chilson
Time is running out to get ready for the AMA Nationals, so Troy Lee sent sent Shane McElrath and Justin Hoeft (615) to REM to get started on their outdoor prep. Hoeft went 1-1, McElrath 2-1 and Brandon Scharer 4-3. Starting in April REM will hold 30-minute motos for the Pros to help them prepare. Thankfully, the Vets, Novices and Intermediates will stick with 20-minute motos. Photo: Mark Chilson
Life becomes more hectic as Glen Helen begins to prepare for the May 24th AMA Glen Helen 250/450 National. And REM’s weekly motocross races play a role in this because the only way to prepare to race Glen Helen is by racing Glen Helen. It isn’t your typical track. It is rough, choppy and hilly. Your local home track probably doesn’t have many of the conditions that make Glen Helen unique—but REM does. Not because REM races at Glen Helen, but because they race virtually every week of the year on their own special track. A track that mimics the AMA National track, but is located on the hill above the National track. It has its own big hills, square-edge bumps and, best of all, it has long motos. Much longer than the typical weekly race at other tracks.
Swede Kristoffer Palm has healed up from the broken collarbone he got at Anaheim and was out for this first race back. Photo: Mark Chilson
In March every moto is 20-minutes long for every class, but starting in April the Pro races will be extended to 30 minutes (and REM says that if enough National privateers riders show up they will extend them to 30 minutes plus two laps). REM will hold five straight weekends of 30-minute motos—starting on April 5 and going until May 3. And, they still have two weekends of racing to go in March (March 15 and March 22).
Klint Stapes (210) from Iowa is also trying to adapt to Glen Helen’s unique decomposed granite dirt by racing at REM. He will race the opening National at Glen Helen on May 24. Stapes was fifth with 5-4 behind Tim Beatty’s 3-5. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
This week’s REM race saw two riders from the Troy Lee team, plus the regular cast of characters. Although the Pros come for the workout, and a chance to test themselves against competitors from around the world—the regular gang, many of them AMA Hall of Fame members, old school Saddleback Park refugees and former National Pros from the 1980s, come to race as hard as they can and then tell tales in the pits. REM is a strange place—frequented by factory riders, it is dominated by large turnouts of Over-40, Over-50 and Over-60 riders still living the joys that brought them to the sport so many years ago. This weekend the three largest classes were the Over-50 Experts, Over-50 Novices and Over-60 Experts.
Thomas Poole made a mistake on this fast downhill and tucked the front wheel. He went flying. Unsuspecting Nathan Pietronico (36) is about to have the luckiest break of his young racing career. Photo: Dan Alamangos
As Poole tumbles across the ground his CRF250 takes flight—in hot pursuit of Pietronico. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Poole hasn’t stopped rolling as his bike begins to make ground on Pietronico who is beginning to brake for the upcoming left-hand turn. Photo: Dan Alamangos
When Nathan Pietronico (36) looks at these photos he will realize how lucky he was—as Thomas Poole’s bike crashes to the ground just four feet behind him. Photo: Dan Alamangos
THIS WEEK’S WINNERS
OVER-60 EXPERT: 1. George Kohler (1-1); 2. Lyle Sweeter (4-2); 3. Mic Rodgers (3-4).
OVER-50 ELITE: 1. Bob Weber (1-2); 2. Jon Ortner (3-1); 3. Randel Fout (2-3).
Dominic Vanderberg looks stylish on his way to fifth in the 450 Novice class. Photo: Dan Alamangos
OVER-50 EXPERT: 1. Bryan Friday (2-1); 2. Will Harper (1-2); 3. Val Tamietti (3-4).
OVER-50 INTERMEDIATE: 1. Terry Varner (1-1); 2. Todd Wiseman (4-2); 3. Greg Groom (2-4).
Jon Ortner (10) and Bob Weber (6) fight for first place in the Over-50 Elite class. Ortner made this pass stick, but Weber got the last laugh as his 1-2 best Ortner’s 3-1. This may look like a rough pass, but it turns out that it was common, so common that… Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Jody Weisel (75) used the exact same move of Mic Rodgers (115) in the Over-60 Expert class. Jody made this pass stick (for two more corners), but Rodgers got the last laugh as his 3-4 bested Jody’s 6-6. Photo: Dan Alamangos
OVER-50 NOVICE: 1. Bill Reimer (2-1); 2. Mitch Evans (6-4); 3. Mike Hillion (5-5).
OVER-40 INTERMEDIATE: 1. Scott Lindley (3-1); 2. Ron Shuler (2-2); 3. Pasha Afshar (1-3).
Pasha Afshar (L7) had a good day. He went 1-3 in the Over-40 Intermediates, but ended up in a three-way tie with Scott Lindley and Ron Shuler and came out on the short end of the stick. He made up for it by winning the Over-30 Novices. Under World Vet rules an older rider can drop one skill division for every 10-year age brackets—thus, an Over-40 Intermediate is legal in the Over-30 Novices. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
OVER-40 NOVICE: 1. Gavin Antill (1-1); 2. Mike Kelly (2-2); 3. Gary Taylor (3-3).
250 NOVICE: 1. Cole Tompkins (2-1); 2. Cole Hayden (1-3); 3. Ty Cullins (3-2).
Bob Gilbert (427) misjudged his angle of attack and hit the wall in the Over-50 Novice class. Robert Pocius (153) and Kent Reed (491) would finish fifth and seventh respectively. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
450 NOVICE: 1. Brandon Reid (1-1); 2. Braden Larsen (2-3); 3, Robby Gilbert (4-2).
VET NOVICE: 1. Pasha Afshar (1-1); 2. Andy Yong (3-2); 3. Chris Alamangos (4-3).
Will Harper (7) on his new KTM 250SXF and Bryan Friday on his KTM 450SXF traded 1-2 and 2-1 scores with the victory going to Friday. Lots of Over-50 Experts have switched from 450s to 250s in an attempt to up their intensity. Most notably, Dave Eropkin, Robert Reisinger, Randel Fout, Jon Ortner, Val Tamietti (two-stroke), Mike Monaghan (two-stroke) and Randy Skinner. Photo: Mark Chilson
Fred Nichols (451), Dave Eropkin (811) and Bryan Friday (43) run in tight formation in the Over-50 Expert class. Friday got the overall. Eropkin was fifth and Nichols eighth. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
VET INTERMEDIATE: 1. Chris Noble (3-1); 2. Ian Fitz-Gibbon (2-2); 3. Alan Julien (1-5).
250 INTERMEDIATE: 1. Robbie Wageman (1-1); 2. R.J. Wageman (2-2); 3. Tyler Hoeft (3-3).
Ray Valenzuela highsided down this steep downhill (it’s much steeper than it looks in the photo) and watched Ron Pihl (54) torpedoed his CRF. Photo: Mark Chilson
Safety personnel get on the scene almost immediately, as Pihl hits the deck. Over-60 Expert winner George Kohler (85) squeezes between Valenzuela and his bike. Photo: Mark Chilson
With yellow flags flying at the top and bottom of hill, the next group of Over-60 Experts come down the hill. Bill Seifert locks up his brakes and goes down. Photo: Mark Chilson
If you’ve ever raced a motorcycle you know exactly what is being said here—no matter which side of the pointing finger you were on. Photo: Dan Alamangos
450 PRO: 1. Justin Hoeft (1-1); 2. Shane McElrath (2-2); 3. Brandon Scharer (4-3).
REM races again next week (March 15) and each of the next 7 races are part of the 8-race REM Spring Series. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com