October 23, 2016
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Photos by Dan Alamangos, Debbi Tamietti and Jon Ortner

dansleeterMike Sleeter won the 450 Pro class as he continues his prep for the World Vet Championship on November 5-6. Photo: Dan Alamangos

Two things are on the minds of the motocross racers at this week’s REM motocross at Glen Helen.

debwillysWilly Simons, Jr. not only won the 250 Pro class, but passed all of the 450s in the first moto to take a surprise overall. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

First, after a series that started back in January, and only has six races left (after 34 completed), the racers want to get to the end of the points chase. REM counts points at each and every race, and the riders are ranked accordingly. Even if a rider isn’t in the running for the number 1 plate or a Top Ten award, they want to beat their friends and enemies in the overall placings. And with only a few races left, the battle for the number one plate at Glen Helen is still in doubt

ortkurtnicollKurt Nicoll is putting in the time to get ready for the World Vet, where he hopes to repeat as the Over-40 World Champion and get the Over-50 crown also. Photo: Jon Ortner

Second, the World Vet Motocross Championships are only two weeks away, and while it means that REM will take the week off for that race, it doesn’t mean that the REM racers will do so too. A large percentage of REM’s Over-30, Over-40, Over-50 and Over-60 motocross will be at the World Vet on November 5-6.

debjoshJosh Fout (27) went 1-3 in the 450 Novice class. He lost the overall to Zack Randolph’s 2-2. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

And, because next week’s REM Octobercross race, will be held on the World Vet track (also known as the National track or USGP track), it is considered an excellent opportunity to get adapted to the layout. Thus, this week’s race was a precursor to next’s week’s World Vet warm-up, which of course, is prep for the World Vet Motocross Championships two weeks from now.

debmaciasLuis Macias gave the crowd a thrill with the high-pitch whine of a TM 125MX two-stroke. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Now you might be tempted to think that prepping for the big race in two weeks is only something that the Over-30, Over-40 and Over-50 Pros and Experts care about, but that isn’t true. World Vet fever runs down through the Intermediate and Novices classes. And there are even European motocrossers flying in a week early to race the REM Octobercross to become more familiar with the rough and tumble Glen Helen circuit.

johnspechJohn Robert Spechts flew in from London to race the Vet Beginner class at REM to prepare for the World Vet. He will be a Vet Novice at the World Vet, as there are no Beginner classes. Photo: Jon Ortner

danhenrikvieskosGerman racer Henrik Vleskos raced the Vet Novice class. He missed the top-five by one place with a 5-5 day. Photo: Dan Alamangos

Battles raged in every class this weekend. And, even though the track layout hadn’t changed much since the last REM race, it presented its own unique challenges. The bumps were somehow bigger, ruts longer and pace quicker.

danchandlerSteve Chandler two-strokes his way to third overall on a TM 300MX. Steve’s 4–6 score trailed Lance Sloan’s 1-1 and Marc Crosby’s 2-2 in the Over-50 Novice class. Photo: Dan Alamangos

Even in the oldest age groups, it was intense as the Over-40 Experts, Over-50 Experts and Over-60 Expert classes were won with 2-1 scores—often not resolved until the last lap of the first moto. Billy Mercier took the Over-40 Pro win with a 2-1 over Alan Jullien’s 1-3 and James Lavenders’ 3-2.

debjackmowryJack Mowry (745) was a consistent 5-5 got 5th in the 250 Novices. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

In the Over-50 Elite class Jon Ortner took the overall victory with a 2-1, but Luther French, who won the first moto, never gave Ortner any breathing room in the second moto. The two riders ran side-by-side up the hills and often split lappers with Ortner going to the left and French to the right. In the end, Ortner held the lead when it counted.

debburgeNathan Burge (41) was third in the 250 Intermediates behind Conner Mullennix and Gordon Keller. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

The Over-60 Expert class was a battle royale between Jim Latendresse and Will Harper. Harper won the first moto, even though he was momentarily passed by Latendresse on the last lap. And Harper led the second moto until late in the race when his bike suddenly slowed. Before it cleaned out and ran again, Latendresse had pounced on by to get a 2-1 to Harper’s 1-2.

debengleRob Engel’s roost plays with the light as he roosts out of this elliptical berm. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

The Pro races weren’t as tension filled — as Mike Sleeter won the both motos of the 450 Pros, as did Willy Simons Jr. in the 250 Pros and Kurt Nicoll in the Vet Pros. The only real excitement came when Willy Simons caught and passed Sleeter in the first moto and pulled away to win the combined scoring. Unfortunately for Simons, he couldn’t get to Sleeter in the second moto.

debmercierThe Over-40 Pro class was a back and forth battle between eventual winner Billy Mercier (501) and South African Alan Jullien. Mercier took the win on a Service Honda two-stroke. Mercier raced the 125 West and 250 Nationals in 1993 and score AMA points in both classes. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

In the Intermediate classes Conner Mullennix (250 Int.), Ralf Schmidt (Over-40 Int.), Dave Eropkin (Over-50 Int.) and Mark Donaldson (Over-60 Int.) were the best of the bunch.

debbrianjustinMXA’s 250 Shootout is based on having as many riders race our test bikes as possible. This week we put 250 Pros Justin Muscutt (89) and Brian Medeiros (86) on our box stock 2017 RM-Z250 and KX250F. Justin finished second and Brian fourth. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

The three biggest classes of the day were the Over-50 Novices, Over-60s and Vet Novices. The bike breakdown was 34% KTMs, 24% Yamahas, 21% Hondas, 9% Huskys, 8% Kawasakis, 5% Suzukis and 3% TMs.

danchristianmaviejGerman rider Christian Maciej (866) came to the USA to stay at the MX Heaven motocross caamp. He used a 2-1 to win the 250 Intermediate class over Mike Dioro’s 1-2. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Oct. 29…Glen Helen, CA (USGP track)
Nov. 5.. No race (World Vet Championship)
Nov 12…Glen Helen, CA
Nov. 19…Glen Helen, CA
Nov. 26…No race (Day in the Dirt)
Dec. 3….Glen Helen, CA
Dec. 10…Glen Helen, CA
Dec. 17…Glen Helen, CA
Dec. 25…No race (Christmas Day)
Dec. 31…No race (New Year’s Eve)

debpashaPasha Afshar hangs on for dear life as his KTM wheelies out of a sweeping turn. Pasha had a 6-3 day in the Vet Novices—but got to lead for awhile. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

danlambsonJeff Lambson (55) and Kent Reed duel in a tight left, while MXA’s Jody Weisel gets away. In the Over-60 Intermediate class, Mark Donaldon took the win with a 1-1 in front of a top five of Jeff Lambson (3-2), Jody Weisel (2-4), Kent Reed (4-3) and Brian Martin (5-5). Photo: Dan Alamangos

danpfaffSteve Pfaff (12) looked like he was going to win the Over-50 Elite class, but Jon Orter and Luther French (2) had other ideas. Steve was third overall. Photo: Dan Alamangos

danconnormullennixConner Mullennix (288) holeshot and ran away with both 250 Intermediate motos—and not only was the moment captured by Dan Alamangos’ camera, but a passing drone. Photo: Dan Alamangos

REM races again next weekend October 29 for the Annual Octobercross (formerly known as the Commotion By The Ocean when it was held at Carlsbad). For more info go to





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