Swedish National Champion Fredrik Noren chases Open Intermediate Steven Tokarski (710) and 450 Pro Joey Webb (593). Noren ended up second overall in the 450 Pro class with Webb sixth. Tokarski ran with the front pack of the Pros until he crashed out.
Glen Helen’s motocross tracks are located in the corner of two mountain ranges (one range runs east/west and includes Mount Baldy, while the other runs north/south and comprises Big Bear and Arrowhead). The geography is important because when the rains come to Southern California, Glen Helen’s unique location at the base of two giant (over 8000 foot) mountain systems makes it prone to weird weather.
Eli Tomac (19) wanted to win the Pro class overall (even though he was in the 250 class), but that meant he had to overcome the 30-second lead that the 450 Pro class got on the split start. He gave it his all over the 30-minutes, but Justin Soule stayed out of reach?but only Justin.
This weekend the local weatherman were all doom and gloom about “Rain Watch 2011″?and while it did rain, and even hail, in some parts of the L.A. Basin, it didn’t rain at Glen Helen. Although the REM track was rain-prepped (which means that it was graded and groomed, but not ripped), the rain never came and the track workers had to man the fire hoses to get ready for the races to start.
Gareth Swanepoel was up front in both 250 Pro motos, but crashes ruined his lightning quick starts. Gareth came back in both motos to get second overall with a 3-2.
REM’s 30-minute Pro motos make it the only place for National riders to test their fitness (those that already know they aren’t in shape, just skip the idea of long motos). Eli Tomac, Gareth Swanepoel, Connor Stouff, Jessica Patterson, Justin Soule, Broc Armbruster, Joey Webb, Elia Zinetti, Brian Bebeck, Ben Evans, Brent Harden, Billy Musgrave and a large group of aspiring pros showed up to take the test.
Brent Harden works for Husqvarna, even though his Hall of Fame father Scot left the company to work for Zero Electric Motorcycle. Brent Harden was eighth overall in the 250 Pro class.
IN THE PRO CLASS
Just like last week, when 450 Pro Brian Sjogren was the rabbit for 250 Pro Gareth Swanepoel, this week it was WORCS racer Justin Soule who set the pace with Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac in hot pursuit (from the second gate).
It didn’t take Tomac long to bridge the gap from his 30-second start deficit up into the back of the 450 Pros?but each 450 rider put up a fight. And with each 450 who fought Tomac off, Soule got farther away. Finally, when Eli was about to pass second place 450 rider Fredrik Noren of Sweden, Noren high-sided into a sand berm and Eli rammed into the Swede’s CRF450. By the time Tomac got going again?Soule was long gone.
At the end of the first moto: the 450 class fell to Soule, with Swedish National Champions Noren, Austin White, fellow Swede Calle Aspegren and Joey Webb in the top five. In the 250 Pro class, Eli Tomac was followed across the line by Ben Evans, Gareth Swanepoel, Jessica Patterson and Connor Stouff.
REM’s serpentine course weaves its way up and down several hills…and it is on the downhills that the bravest riders make their passes.
The second round of Pro races was an instant replay: From the start of the 450 gate, Justin Soule and Fredrik Noren pulled away from the rest of the 450 pack, while Tomac again had to deal with the fast pack to 250 Pros before he could set out after Soule. Gareth Swanepoel got two holeshots in the 250 class, but neither one lasted for very long as he fell both times on lap one.
Tomac seemed closer to Soule at the midway point than he was in moto one, and made short work of the back half of the 450 Pro class. It was great passing practice for the Colorado rider. Fredrik Noren put up a fight and that tussle was enough to give Justin Soule the gap he needed. Everyone at REM could tell that Tomac wanted to catch Soule as his last lap of the race was easily his fastest lap…but it was not to be.
In the 450 Pro class the overall went of Justin Soule with Fredrik Noren, Calle Aspegren, Brian Bebeck and Broc Armbruster making up the top five.
In the 250 Pro class, Eli Tomac went 1-1, Gareth Swanepoel 3-2, Connor Stouff 5-3, Jessica Patterson 4-5 and Ben Evans 2-7 (Evans was running in third when he crashed and lost four places).
Jessica Petterson raced the men in the 250 Pro class. She held her own for 20 minutes of the 30 minute plus one lap motos before falling victim to mistakes?even with troubles she got fourth overall.
OTHER NOTABLE WINNERS AT REM
250 Novice: Kristoffer Palm may have been cherry picking the Novice class as he won both the 250 Novice and Open Novice classes by large margins. No sweat! He will be an Intermediate next weekend. Nathan Cernicky (2-2), Brodie Keefe (4-3), Chad Blackburn (3-6) and Braden Larson (6-5) filled out the top five behind Palm in the 250 Novices.
450 Novice: Trevor Bell, son of Mike Bell, won both moto of the 450 Novice class. Bell came in ahead of a top five of John Basher (2-3), Devin Wilson (4-2), Garrett Powell (3-4) and Adam Waheed (5-5).
Over-30 Novice: Consistency was the hallmark of the Vet Novice class as Craig Bouman went 1-1 in front of the 2-2 of Jon Lyles and 3-3 of Pete Vetrano.
Over-40 Novice: Mark Romero used a perfect 1-1 to defeat a top five of Brian Pappalardo (4-3), Erik Ebersole (2-5), Rick Merrill (5-4) and Karl Fernandez (8-2).
Over-50 Novice: Ray Glover swept the Over-50 Novice class in a very rare Suzuki sweep of the top four places. In fact the five Suzuki’s in the Over-50 Novice class represent one-third of all the Suzuki’s at REM on Saturday. Glover’s 1-1 came in front of the yellow bikes of Craig Johnston, Angel Montoya and Steve Sussman. They were followed in fifth through tenth by Dennis Smith’s Honda, Brian Martin’s Yamaha (with yellow plastic), Mark Homan’s Yamaha, Mitch Evans (on the fifth Suzuki) and Tim Norton’s KTM.
With a combined age of 126 years, these two Saddleback Specialists are still at it 27 years after Saddleback Park was shut down. Ray Pisarski (94) chases Alan Olson (96).
THE NAMES SEEM FAMILIAR
Alan Olson won the Over-60 Expert class?something you’d expect from a nine-time World Vet Champion.
Seven-time AMA National Champion Jeff Ward won the Over-40 Pro class (while son Ayrton was third in the 85 Expert class behind Willy Simons Jr. and Tyler Weyman). Alain Ward was third in the 85 Novice class. Mike Bell’s sons won the 450 Novice class (Trevor) and 85 Beginner (Sean).
Justin Jones, son of four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones, won the 450 Intermediate class.
Troy Lee won the Over-50 Expert class in front of Dave Eropkin, Gary Jones and Willie Amaradio, while his son Max showed good speed to finish second in the 65 Advanced class behind Gavin Leachman.
Scott Bell, brother of Mike Bell won the Over-50 Novices last week and found himself in the Over-50 Intermediate class this week?and he went 1-1 in front of Jim Masters, Hollywood stuntman Mark Donaldson and longtime REM racer D.R. Clement.
Another Hollywood stuntman, Bryan Friday used a 2-2 to take the Over-40 Intermediate class in front of Scott Lindley (4-1), Jeff Jetton (1-4), Scott Williams (5-3), C.T. Falk (3-5), Tim Harris (7-6), Mike Phillips (8-7), Scotty Walker (6-10) and Gary Harada (9-8).
Dirt Bike editor Ron Lawson won the 125 Adult “A” class on his KX125 and then used it in the Over-50 Expert class to go 10-7 for eighth overall.
South Carolina’s Erik Ebersole flew from his home state to race at REM. He picked a good day to show up as he got to see 1980 Supercross Champion Mike Bell, seven-time National Champion Jeff Ward, four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones, Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac, WMA Women’s National Champion Jessica Patterson, South African Champion Gareth Swanepoel, Swedish National Champion Fredrik Noren and designer Troy Lee. Plus, Ebersole went 2-5 in the Over-40 Novice class.
The 30-minute Pro motos continue next Saturday, April 16. For more information go to www.remsatmx.com