Photos by Mark Chilson
Dean Wilson on his Pro Circuit KX450F.
Glen Helen is big, long, steep, rough and rutted, which is why AMA National riders come to the famous AMA National and Grand Prix track. If they just wanted to spin laps and jump jumps, they have a plethora of other SoCal tracks to choose from, but Glen Helen is the SoCal track that most replicates what a National track is actually like. So, the riders show up because they are looking forward to taking a beating. Plus, in the month leading up to the start of the AMA 250/450 Nationals, REM’s Frank Thomason always gives the Pro classes 30-minute motos.
Travis Preston (11), Mitch Van De Mortel (112) and Daryl Ecklund (33) bank out of Talladega. Dean Wilson’s roost can be seen going out of the frame.
And that is why Dean Wilson, Travis Preston, Brett Metcalfe, Swedish Champion Fredrik Noren, Colton Aeck, Brandon Brady, Matt Biscelgia, Sean Lipanovich and others have been hanging out at REM for the last couple weekends. In fact, it is amazing that these riders skipped the chance to network at the Las Vegas Supercross, but it shows their level of dedication?they would rather race than go watch someone else race.
Brett Metcalfe (123) finds himself in a Matt Biscelgia (677) and Brandon Brady (205) sandwich.
Last weekend, Dean Wilson won the 450 Pro class after a heated battle with 2002 AMA 250 West Supercross Champion Travis Preston?in which they split moto wins. This week the pressure on Deano came from Swedish Champion Fredrik Noren in moto one and Travis Preston in moto two. But, Dean Wilson held on to win both motos.
Travis Preston ? one of the many Yamahas at REM…the fastest one.
In moto one, Wilson holeshot in front of Fredrik Noren and MXA’s Daryl Ecklund. This trio ran 1-2-3 for first couple laps, as Travis Preston and Brett Metcalfe were buried mid-pack. At the halfway point, it was Wilson, Noren and Preston (Metcalfe was in a battle with Brandon Brady and Mitch Van De Mortel for fourth and Ecklund, who was testing forks, had pulled in to switch forks…yes, the moto was long enough for that). With a lap to go, Fredrik Noren pulled onto Dean Wilson’s rear wheel and looked ready to pounce. Unfortunately, he dove to the inside of a rutted corner, hit a soft spot and went down. In the end the top ten was Wilson, Preston, Noren, Metcalfe, Van De Mortel, Shawn Maffenbeier, Matt Davenport, Brandon Brady, Swede Robert Lind and Colton Aeck
Swede Fredrick Noren goes into attack mode at the bottom of one of Glen Helen’s big hills.
The second moto was more of the same, only this time Wilson, Preston and Ecklund led the pack out of the Talladega first turn (Daryl Ecklund again pulled in on the third lap to work on the forks he was testing for MXA). By the 20-minute mark the lead trio was Wilson, Preston and Metcalfe. Brett Metcalfe is racing in Canada this year and although he was a little off the pace last weekend, he came alive in the second 450 Pro moto this weekend. Brett pressured Travis Preston, who pressured Dean Wilson. The trio crossed the line nose-to-tail.
One corner?four riders.
Dean Wilson won with a 1-1 over Travis Preston’s 2-2, Brett Metcalfe’s 4-3, Frerik Noren’s 3-4 and Shawn Maffenbeier’s 6-5.
Matt Biscelgia won the 250 Pro class with a 1-1 over Sean Lipanovich’s 3-2 and Shane Post’s 2-3.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE FABULOUS FIFTIES?
Glen Helen’s first turn is so steeply banked that the riders don’t have to use their brakes…if they don’t want to. Here, Dave Eropkin (811) doesn’t want to.
The Over-50 Experts shared the gate with the Over-40 Experts and Pros and with the exception of Over-40 Pro winner William Hendershot (who won by a country mile), the Over-50 riders were a match for the younger Over-40 Experts.
Don Biscelgia went 2-2 in the Over-40 Pro class.
Over-40 Pro/Expert: William Hendershot and Don Biscelgia went one-two in the Pros, while South African rider Alan Julien beat Eddie Davis, Greg Pierce and Shawn Heit in the confusingly named Over-40 Expert class (not to be confused with the Over-40 Pros).
Over-50 Expert: Willy Simons had a banner day and his 1-1 victory was made all the more impressive because of the Over-40 Experts that he motored away from. Jon Ortner was second, with a surprisingly Bryan Friday third. Last week Friday was intimidated by the big USGP track, but this week he found the groove and put a 5-4 together to beat Dave Eropkin, Val Tamietti (yes, the Val Tamietti of Maico fame) and Mike Monaghan.
Vito Bednar (222) tries to get an angle on Matt Bynum in the 250 Novice class.
Over-50 Intermediate: As always, the Over-50 Intermediates were the biggest class of the day and Steve Donovan used a 1-2 to take his second straight victory. Chris Cole (2-3), Bud Donatoni (5-1), Greg Ziegler (4-4) and Jeff Fahy (3-4) rounded out the top five. The real battles took place in the duel for 8th through 11th. Jeff Mason secured 10th overall with a 13-8 in front of 11th place Mark Crosby (who would have scored higher if he hadn’t stalled his engine in two corners, exactly 75 feet apart in moto one). Ninth went to the 10-10 of TM’s Pete Vetrano, with 8th falling onto the shoulders of Justice Quidd’s 12-6.
Over-50 Novice: Robert McCord’s 2-1 defeated Paul Crouch’s 3-2, Shy Moshes’ 1-6, Syd Woods’ 5-3 and Paul Doebereiner’s 4-5.
Over-60 Expert: Technically not “fabulous fifties,” the Over-60 Expert class was won by Carl Gazafy over a top five of Mic Rodgers, Jody Weisel, John Huegel and Ray Pisarski.
This is the back of the Over-50 Novice class.
OTHER NOTABLES ON THE DAY
There were lots of good performances mixed into a full day of racing. Here are some notables.
Preston Campbell: Johnny Campbell’s son Preston won the 150 Mini Advanced class and then came back to race the 125 two-stroke class. Preston didn’t win the 125 class as Jordan Sahar, Kyle Ferguson and Dane McCants were too strong for him, but a 4-3 day proves that he’ll be up front soon.
Vito Bednar: Vito’s 2-1 doesn’t reveal how hard he had to fight to defeat Ryusei Otsuka and Matt Bynum for the win the 250 Novice class gold. Bednar and Otsuka traded moto wins and Bynum was always in the mix.
Double classers: Long motos at Glen Helen take it out of a rider, so we applaud riders who try to double class it. These riders included Pete Vetrano, Joe Sutter, Gavin Antill, William Hendershot, Alan Julien, Preston Campebll, Ford Heit, Bud Donatoni, Noah Hickerson and Scott Fichter.
John Siegel?third in the 450 Beginner class.
THE BRAND BREAKDOWN
What bike brands are the riders at Glen Helen choosing to ride? The most popular bike this weekend was Yamaha. An amazing 30% of the riders chose blue. Second was Honda at 23%, but KTM is rapidly closing the gap at 20%. Kawasaki was fourth at 15% with Suzuki at 11%. If it wasn’t for the Over-50 Intermediate class (in which one-third of the riders on the starting line are on RM-Z450s), Suzuki’s numbers would be even worse. As for which brand won the most classes, Yamaha edged Honda and KTM (and the win ratios were almost identical to their percent of total bikes at the race).
Greg Ziegler (114) leads Marc Crosby (95) and Mike Phillips (433) through the esses.
REM does not race next weekend because of the Red Bull X-Fighters event, but returns to action on May 18. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com