REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS RACE REPORT: WHAT DOES THE FLYING PHALANX HAVE TO DO WITH MODERN MOTO WARFARE?

December 22, 2013
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Photos by Dan Alamangos, Chris Alamangos and Debbi Tamietti


Justin Jones won the 450 Pro class.

They could easily change the name of Glen Helen Raceway to “New Stockholm” in the winter as droves of Swedish motocross riders descend on Glen Helen’s REM races to enjoy the warm weather, watch a few Supercross races and get a chance to do some winter racing while Sweden is covered in snow.


Australian Geordie McGrath was fourth in the 250 Pro class.

REM offers the Swedes, Australians, South Africans and British ex-pats long motos against tough competition?plus, REM is a Saturday race that runs such an efficient program that the riders have time to go home and prep their bikes for Sunday racing.


This is Marcus Hansson. No, not the 1994 500 World Champion, but the son of the former 500 World Champion. Marcus won the 125 Novice class.

This week’s Swedes included motocross legend Lars Larsson, women racers Nicole Loginger and Sara Pettersson, plus Marcus Hansson (the son of 1994 500 World Champion Marcus Hansson), Kim Ramsell, Hakon Karlsen, Lasse Christoffersen, Anton Wallsten and Andreas Ovgard. And, Norwegian Mads Gregersen also slipped in as an honorary Swede.

The rest of the SoCal-bred REM gang was in attendance on a very nice 70-degree day (especially nice since Saturday was the first official day of winter). Here are the winners:


Justin Jones (42) is watched closely by his father, four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones. No pressure though.

450 Pro: Swedes Andreas Ovgard and Anton Wallsten looked like they might earn the day for the mother country, but they ran into Bonanza Plumbing/KTM’s Justin Jones. Jones sliced to the front of both motos and went 1-1. Walsten’s 3-2 was good enough for second as Ovgard had bike troubles after finishing second in moto one?he borrowed a bike for moto two and ended the day with a 2-3.


Lovely Fall colors for the first day of winter as Zach Commans crests a Glen Helen rise on his way to second in the 250 Pro class.


Lasse Christoffersen won the 250 Pro class.

250 Pro: Zach Commans was the class of the 250 Pro class, but he wasn’t lucky. Pushing hard in the second moto to get into the mix with the 450 Pros, Zach fell and Swede Lasse Christoffersen swept by to go 2-1 to beat Commans 1-2. Hakon Karlsen was third with Aussie Geordie McGrath fourth.


This is a bad moment for 250 Intermediate winner Robbie Wageman, but luckily it was in practice.

250 Intermediate: REM’s finish line is composed of a tight right-hand uphill corner that is divided into two lanes (separated by a berm and track markers). Riders are warned at the riders meeting not to jump over the berm to switch lanes. It is a safety rule to avoid collisions. The penalty for jumping the berm on purpose is one lap. By the time the first moto was over, R.J. Wageman had been penalized four laps. R.J. wasn’t the only rider penalized, but he was the only rider who won a moto only to have it taken away by his own poor decision making. It worked out for the Wageman family in the end though, as brother Robbie Wageman took the 250 Intermediate win with a 2-2 over Dylan Anderson’s 1-4.


Will Harper (7), Jon Ortner (10) and Val Tamietti (31) form the flying phalanx of Roman warfare fame in the Over-50 Expert class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Over-50 Expert: For some unknown reason the Over-50 Expert class at REM is the highest profile class of the day, often overshadowing the Pros. This week’s race was a barn burner. As Will Harper, Bob Weber, Val Tamietti, Robert Reisinger, Dave Eropkin and Jon Ortner all packed the front of the field. In moto one, 6D Helmet’s Bob Weber worked his way past Wil Harper to open up an insurmountable lead. At the flag it was Weber, Ortner, Harper, Tamietti, Eropkin, Reisinger, Bryan Friday and LightSpeed’s Willie Amaradio.


We are pretty sure that Randel Fout (64) wishes that he hadn’t gotten his leg in this position?but it all worked out in the end as Randel won the Over-40 Pro class.

The second Over-50 Expert moto looked like more of the same with Bob Weber getting to the front first, while Jon Ortner languished in fourth behind Harper and Reisinger. Robert Reisinger was all over Harper for second place, but fell in the finish line chicane, which sprung Ortner up to Harper. Ortner quickly passed Harper and began the long pursuit of Bob Weber. It didn’t look possible, but Ortner (2-1) caught and passed Weber (1-2) for the win. Val Taimetti’s 4-3 bested Will Harper’s 3-4 for third.

THE BIGGEST CLASSES OF THE DAY

Don’t leave your stuff lying around where just anybody can run over it! Mark Hall (17) puts the rubber to the rubber.


This is what Mark Hall looks like when he isn’t running over someone else’s bike. Mark was one of several MXA test riders to race Derek Howerton’s FMF/Fox KTM 250SX this weekend, but in this photo he’s on MXA’s KTM 300SX.

If you have been paying any attention to the demographics of modern-day motocross, you know that the sport is made up largely of old dudes from the 1970s and 1980s. No where was this more evident than in the four biggest classes of the day at REM. The Over-40 Novices, Over-50 Novices, Over-50 Intermediates and Over-60 Experts were the big classes. Each of these four classes was double the size of any other class.

Over-40 Novices: Cherry Valley, California’s Luther French went 1-1 in front of Pasha Afshar’s 2-2. Last week Pasha borrowed an RM-Z450 from the MXA gang after his bike broke in practice. He took the unfamiliar bike to victory?then, left the track and drove straight to Simi Valley Cycles and bought his own RM-Z450. That is “Win on Saturday, sell on Saturday afternoon” at its best. Joe Sutter was third, Terry Varner fourth, Kendall Stanley fifth, Russell Brown sixth, Joe Pena seventh, Cory Clark eighth, Mike Phillips ninth and Mark Hall tenth.


Syd Woods (489) found the Yamaha YZ450F‘s convenient goggle holder, but is still looking for the cup holder. Syd went 5-10 in the Over-50 Novices.

Over-50 Novices: Mike Hillion’s 1-2 bested Kent Reed’s 3-1, Paul Dobereiner’s 2-3, Anthony Rose’s 7-4, Brian Underdahl’s 6-6, Syd Woods’ 5-10, Robert Pocius’ 8-8, Bill Reimer’s 12-5, Kevin Sleuths 11-7 and Geoff Patterson’s 4-14.


Randy Skinner (31) blows Paul Fitz-Gibbon (38) out of his way in the Over-50 Intermediate class.

Over-50 Intermediates: Ron Lawson moved down from the Over-50 Expert class to win the Over-50 Intermediates on a 2014 Husqvarna FE350 enduro bike?Ron can expect that this will be his one-and-only Over-50 Intermediate race for the foreseeable future, as he will most likely be kicked back upstairs by next weekend (for having the gall to move down a class and then win?bad strategy). The top ten in the Over-50 Intermediates was made up of Jeff Fahy (3-3), Joe Sutter (5-4), Randy Skinner (1-8), Steve Donovan (6-5), Fred Nichols (4-7), Andrew Smith (11-2), Sam Ramirez (7-6), Mark Hall (9-9) and Marc Crosby (8-10).


AMA Hall of Famer Lars Larsson won the 2001 Over-60 World Vet Championship and the 2012 Over-70 World Vet title?and has been testing bikes for MXA since the 1970s.

Over-60 Experts: This week’s Over-60 Expert field was actually bigger than the Over-60 Expert class at the 2013 World Vet Championship?and included seven riders who made the top 15 at the World Championship?including 2012-13 Champion Gary Jones, plus Kohler, Rodgers, Weisel, Marion, Sweeter and Larsson. And Jones quickly proved why he was the Champion as he swept both motos?even throwing in a crash for good measure. Carl Gazafy’s 2-2 was good enough for second overall in front of George Kohler’s 3-3 (Kohler was sixth at the World Championships), Mic Rodgers’ 6-4 earned him fifth (Rodgers was ninth at the World Vet), Mike Marion’s 5-8 got him sixth (which is one place worse than where he finished at the World Vet Championship), Tom White’s 9-6 was good enough for seventh, T.V. Holmes’ 8-7 notched eighth place, Lyle Sweeter’s 4-12 placed him ninth (Lyle had finished seventh at the World Vet) and British rider Tony Parson’s 11-9 got him tenth overall.


If one man can rightfully deserve credit for the growth of Vet racing in the motocross world, it is Tom White. Tom threw the might of his White Brothers aftermarket company behind promoting, developing and growing the World Vet Championship almost 30 years ago?that was back when no one cared about old guys racing bikes. The former Grand National dirt tracker, AMA Hall of Fame board member, museum owner, 1990 Over-40 World Champion and current golf ball loser is still racing into his 60s.


Flyin’ Mike Brown was up to his usual high jinx.

REM races again next Saturday, December 28 (and for 17 of the next 19 Saturday’s including every weekend in January and February). For more info go to www.remsatmx.com


The day is done?let’s take a nap before we get ready for tomorrow.

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