On his 20th birthday Swedish rider Rickard Hansson took the 450 Pro Victory at Glen Helen. Rickard is the son of former Grand Prix racer Peter Hansson.
If you are an aspiring Swedish motocross racer, and the son of former factory rider and World Enduro Champion, you hate the Swedish winters. In Stockhom it is bitterly cold and the ground is piled heavy with snow. The solution? Fly to sunny SoCal and race in warm 80 degree weather. And so, Rickard Hansson, son of Peter Hansson and grandson of Hans Hansson, made the long trek to Glen Helen to get in some much needed training.
In his first-ever Pro race Billy Musgrave used a KTM 150SX two-stroke to take the win. Billy is the son of former AMA Pro Willy Musgrave.
Rickard celebrated his 20th birthday at REM with a 2-1 victory in the 450 Pro Class. Tony Amaradio was the fastest rider on the track, but a miscue in REM’s sand section sent him back to last place. The 37-year-old Amaradio chopped Hansson’s lead down by one to two seconds a lap, but on the last lap he came up one second short. Amaradio’s 1-2 got him second, while Chris See (3-3), Husqvarna’s Nick Burson (4-4) and Brett Hottel (6-5) rounded out the top five.
Rickard Hansson’s good fortune in the 450 Pro class was the result of bad luck for Tony Amaradio.
Meanwhile in the 250 Pro class, Billy Musgrave moved up from the Intermediate ranks for the first time and went home with the 250 Pro victory. Musgrave’s win was also notable because he was on a KTM 150SX two-stroke in a field of 250 four-strokes.
Proof positive that 2011 450 Husqvarnas do exist. Nick Burson took fourth overall in the 450 Pro class. His Husky was so new that Nick only had time to tape X’s on the Swedish-bred, German-owned and Italian-made bike.
IN THE INTERMEDIATES
250 Intermediates: Mitch Bush took the class victory with a 2-1.
450 Intermediates: Carl Flynn swept both motos for the trophy.
Vet Intermediates: Tim Olson, Yamaha’s Public Relations man, went 1-1 in front of Shaun Hanson’s 3-2 and Bret Milan’s 2-3.
Todd Mould (312) better not look back because he is about to be bracketed by Willy Musgrave (422) and Carl Flynn (308).
Over-40 Intermediates: This was another two-stroke victory as Dan Alamangos used a box stock Yamaha YZ125 to post a 2-1. Amazingly, second place went to another YZ125 two-stroke with Cary Brown going 3-3. Shaun Hanson, who was second overall in the Vet Intermediates, was third in the Over-40 Intermediates with a 1-5. Tim Harris, also on a two-stroke took fourth with Mike Phillips in fifth. Two-strokes also won the Over-40 Pro class (with Willy Musgrave) and, of course, the 125 Novice class (with Carson Forbes).
Over-50 Intermediates: Hollywood stuntman Mark Donaldson turned a 3-1 into an overall win.
125 ADULT “A”
REM hosts a special 125cc two-stroke class (apart from the regular 125 Novice class) and it is not only popular, but the competition is bar-banging close. With a 2-1 Dan Alamangos (YZ125) took the victory over Ron Lawson (KX125) who went 1-2. Last week, Lawson was first and Alamangos second. Cary Brown (YZ125) was third, Brian Pappalardo (RM125) fourth and Randy Skinner (RM125) fifth. If you have a trusty, but rusty, 125 gathering dust in your garage, feather dust it and head out to REM.
Dave Eropkin (811) had a major setback on his way to victory in the Over-50 Expert class, but he overcame it. Greg Nelson (385) was never out of sight.
THE THREE BIGGEST CLASSES
Only in SoCal could the Over-50 Novices, Over-50 Experts and Over-60 Experts be the biggest classes of the day. Thanks to Southern California’s long motocross tradition, many of the riders of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s never retired from racing. They just keep going.
As expected, the Over-50 Expert class was the big one?and it was an all-out war. Former 1970 125 Pro Dave Eropkin became the first two-time winner of this class in 2011, but it wasn’t easy. Eropkin’s 1-1 score doesn’t show how hard he had to work. At one time in the second moto Eropkin, who was running first, was relegated back to fifth when a crash on the big downhill blocked a section of the racetrack and the riders behind Dave were routed around the hill so that the crash could be cleaned up. They came out in front of Dave (who had already started up the hill). Eropkin put his head down and went back to the front with Ron Lawson and Greg Nelson not more than 50 feet behind.
Greg Groom (12) has become the holeshot king of the Over-50 Expert class…but there is some question about whether or not he might be leaving before the rest of the pack. He says “No.” The starter says “Yes.”
As for the big crash, it involved Dennis Boulware, Greg Groom and Fred Nichols. None of the riders were hurt, but in the melee Nichols leg was stuck in the back of Groom’s rear wheel as they high-sided down the hill. It took a couple laps to get Nichols’ leg out of the bike. Nichols, a winner of this class three weeks ago, managed to ride away.
This hill is steeper than it looks. The crash started when Dennis Boulware (left) high-side down the hill. Greg Groom and Fred Nichols (right) swerved to avoid Dennis, hooked handlebars and took a scary ride while locked together. In this photo, other riders are trying to get Fred’s leg out of Groom’s rear wheel. Fred isn’t visible because he is under the bike.
The success of the Over-50 Expert class has drawn a large number of Over-50 Novices to do battle. Jim Masters easily mastered the class with a 1-1 in front of Jeffrey Arzouman (2-3), Craig Johnston (4-2), Al Montoya (5-4), Ian Pederson (3-6), Tim Norton (6-5), Greg Whitfield (8-7), Dennis Smith (7-8), Bruce Landfield (9-9) and John Tookey (10-10). Kent Reed made a return to racing after a very long absence. Kent scored a 13th in moto one, but thought that he should take it easy on his first race back and sat out the second moto.
Tom White used a 2-1 to take the Over-60 Expert win.
How could a racetrack find so many motocross racers over the age of 60 to engage in the weekly wars? Again, this is a SoCal phenomenon?because they can draw on some of the stars of the ’60s and ’70s. Former Grand National dirt tracker and White Brothers owner Tom White took the Over-60 Expert victory with a 2-1 in front of Dennis McAdam’s 4-2. AMP Research’s Ray Pisarski made a last lap pass on AMA Hall of Famer Lars Larsson to nip the Swede for third. Lars’ 5-4 earned him fourth in front of Jody Weisel’s 7-5, Bill Seifert’s 8-6 and Chuck Minert’s 9-7. Alan Olson, who was first in the first moto, and Tom Holmes, who was third in moto one, both DNf’ed the second moto.
REM races again next Saturday, February 5. Practice starts at 9:00 a.m. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos