John Ortner (82) got a chance to test MXA’s KTM 350SXF Factory Service race machine in the highly competitive Over-50 Expert class. Greg Nelson (51) and former 70’s Hacienda Honda/PK Racing rider Dave Eropkin (811) gave chase chasing early in moto one. Ortner would take the overall win with Eropkin finishing second. Nelson would end up eighth.
Last week it was cold and gloomy in SoCal. This week it was back to the normal with sunny 80-degree temps, along the much more normal Swedish invasion. Along with the warm weather and wind, Lars Larsson put the word out to the Swedish motherland and the Swedish riders came to race along with the REM diehard motocross racers. REM had the Aussie invasion last week, this week it was Sweden’s turn.
The Patrick Healy Award is an emotional one.
During the riders meeting after practice, REM’s Frank Thompson gave out the REM “Patrick Healy” Sportsman of the Year Award to Nick Costello for going above the call of duty at the races. You see, Patrick Healy was a regular REM racer who lost his battle to cancer at the age of 27 last year. Before Healy passed away, he wanted to give back to the sport that meant so much to him. What he decided to do was give away his prized Yamaha YZ250 to a fellow racer? one that had the spirit of a racer and could use the help. The bike went to Mark Taylor, who has raced it ever since in Patrick’s memory. Also. in Patrick’s name, REM created this yearly award that follow’s in Patrick’s spirit. It went to Nick Costello because he is always helping out in every capacity. From watering the track to loaning tools to fellow racers, Nick Costello is what this sport is all about? from being a competitor and doing what’s right to help his fellow racer on and off the track. And MXA agrees? Pro Valve’s Nick Costello is a perfect fit for this year’s award.
Robby Bell stamped it by going 1-1 in the 450 Pro Class.
450 Pro: Robby Bell took the overall with wins in both moto’s. With his WORCS Racing background, the two 20 minute moto’s were a like a walk in the park for Bell since he’s used to a much longer race format. The battle was for second and third, which went to Brandon Brady (2-2) and Klint Stapes (3-3). Dennis Wilden from Sweden took fourth and Steven Simpson was fifth. The top four finishers were Kawasaki mounted and Simpson was on a Yamaha.
If you look closely, Troy Lee of TLD fame has a set of works Honda Showa spring forks mounted on his 2013 Honda CRF450. It was an advantage for soaking up the bumps on the rough REM Glen Helen track. But Lee could only go 5-4 for fifth overall in the highly competitive 50 Expert class.
250 Intermediate: Nathan Cernicky (Suzuki) took the win with a 1-1. Kordel Caro went 3-2 for second overall on a Honda and Dennis Anderson from Sweden went 3-2 for third overall. Anderson was Honda mounted also. Aussie Travis Curtin was fourth on a Kawasaki.
450 Intermediate: Evan Kelly put together a 1-1 for the overall with Gustaf Svanbro taking second (2-2) and Alexander Wiklund with a 3-3 score for third. Guess where Svanbro and Wiklund are from. The top three were all Honda mounted
Over-40 Novice: Joe Sutter (Honda) put together a 1-1 for the overall. Gavin Antill (KTM) went 2-2 for second and Johan Westermark (Honda) went 5-3 for third. (Westermark was also part of the Swedish riders that made the trek to REM). Fourth went to Gary Taylor (4-5) and Cory Clark filled out the top five with a 3-6 score.
Over-50 Expert: Jon Ortner is making his name in the competitive Over-50 Expert Class by winning on a regular basis (apart from the name he made for himself as a pro 30 years ago). This class is typically made up of 70’s and 80’s pro’s who never stopped riding or racing and they are just as competitive today as they were in their youth. Back in the day, Ortner was a Yamaha Dealer supported rider that raced in the competitive SoCal circuit (Saddleback, Carlsbad and Indian Dunes). Today he’s one fast Over-50 Expert rider that still loves racing. Ortner went 1-1 for the overall, but the real race was between Dave Eropkin (former Hacienda Honda/PK Racing rider) and Willie Amaradio from Lightspeed fame. Eropkin went 3-2 for second overall and Amaradio went 2-6 for third. Eropkin and Amaradio kept Ortner honest in the second moto staying on his rear fender until late in the race. Per Hesselberg from Sweden would put up a score of 6-3 for fourth and Troy Lee (Troy Lee Designs) went 5-4 for fifth.
Tony Amaradio and Robby Bell.
Over-60 Expert: The win went to Hollywoord stuntman Mick Rodgers with a 1-1 score on his Honda and Tom Holmes went 2-2 on his KTM for second. Swedish riders Bengt Johnsson and AMA Hall of Fame rider Lars Larsson went at each other both motos with multiple passes and Johnsson coming out on top with a 3-3 (Honda) score for third overall. Lars Larsson put his KTM into fourth spot with a 4-4 score.
Over-40 Intermediate: Suzuki mounted and Swedish rider Nicklas Johansson would go 2-1 for the overall with Ron Shuler (Kawasaki) taking second (1-2). Aussie rider Dan Alamangos (KTM) would go 3-3 to take third. Tim Morton (Honda) will take fourth with a 4-4.
Vet Novice: Sam Ramirez would put his Yamaha in the top spot with a 1-1 score taking the overall. TM-mounted Todd Huegel went 3-2 for second overall and John Perry (Yamaha) would make the trek down from Durango, Colorado, to go 5-3 for third. Will Harper (Kawasaki) would go 4-4, while Mercedes Benz AMG racing instructor Ernie Becker would go 6-5 for fifth on his KTM 250SX two-stroke. TM distributor Pete Vetrano would finish sixth.
REM races again next Saturday. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com