Photos by Dan Alamangos
Christian Craig (59) and Cole Seely (43) lead the Pro class through turn one. Justin Jones (42), Preston Tilford (7), Robert Lind (869), Travis Freistat (534) and Fredrik Noren (11) are in hot pursuit.
With the AMA Nationals just around the corner, the lucky happenstance of REM Motocross’ 15th Anniversary at Glen Helen and the fact that Troy Lee races at REM Glen Helen every weekend, the stars aligned to hold a big down home motocross race that would do three things:
(1) It would allow Troy Lee to get his race team of Cole Seely, Christian Craig and Jessy Nelson a true-to-life warm-up race (with 35 minute long motos) against some tough competition on a big, long and rough track.
(2) With a Pro purse, barbecue and Moto Brew sponsorship, it was a way for Troy to hang out with the people he races with every week, bring out his complete team (plus semi truck and mechanics) and give his local racer friends something back. Plus, with it being the 15th Anniversary of Frank and Myra Thomason coming from Carlsbad Raceway to Glen Helen?it was a nice present.
(3) With the World Two-Stroke Championship being held on the USGP track the next day, it shoehorned two special races together at Glen Helen.
This is how close Christian Craig and Cole Seely were all day long.
Troy brought 250 riders Cole Seely and Jessy Nelson along with 450 rider Christian Craig to race. He wanted to give his team a stress test and with the agreement of the 250 riders in the field it was decided to combine both classes into one big Pro free-for-all. That way Troy could see his 250 riders work harder against the 450s?and work they did.
In the end Christian Craig took the overall victory with a 1-1 on his CRF450 National bike, but he didn’t get the victory without a major fight from the local Pros and his teammates. With issues on the first lap of moto one, Craig had to work his way up to catch Cole Seely, who was leading on a 250. Once Craig got to Seely and made the pass, Cole latched himself to Christian’s rear fender and wouldn’t let go. At the end of moto one, Christian Craig held on to win, but if had been a 30 minute plus three lap moto, the outcome might have been different.
Swedish National Champion Fredrick Noren has decided to forego the GP series to seek his fame and fortune in the AMA Nationals in 2013. Mark Chilson
The first Pro moto ended with a trio of white-clad Troy Lee riders on the podium, with Christian Craig first, Cole Seely Second and Jessy Nelson third. Swedish Champion Fredrik Noren was fourth, Brandon Brady fifth, Justin Jones sixth, Kyle Wolack seventh, Preston Tilford eighth, Jake Baumert ninth and Colton Aeck (on a YZ250 two-stroke) tenth.
Looking like a palette of warm tones, Justin Jones wheelies his way to seventh in the 450 Pro class.
In moto two, it was the Craig and Seely show all over again The two Troy Lee riders ran nose-to-tail for the first half of the moto before Christian Craig found some extra energy and opened up a safe gap. At day’s end, it was Craig, Seely and Jessy Nelson going 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3. Noren kept the duplicate number string alive with a 4-4, while Brandon Brady went 5-5. Back in the field were two more Swedes, with Marcus Ovegaard (15-15) and Robert Lind (14-7) not making the top ten.
THE OVER-50 EXPERTS
Former top ten AMA 125 National rider Gary Bowman took the Over-50 Expert victory, but it wasn’t a sure thing.
No one really understands the fascination that the Over-50 Experts produce at REM, but it is a big class and since it is filled with former Pro riders from the 1980s?it gets people to line the fences when the old dudes are on the track.
Andy Jefferson gets underneath 6D’s Bob Weber. Jefferson would finish third and Weber seventh in the Over-50 Expert class.
Gary Bowman, a former 125 National rider who finished 9th overall in the 1984 AMA 125 National Championships (including a podium at the 1984 Saddleback 125 National), got the victory this weekend?but Gary didn’t win any motos. His 3-2 got the overall because of crashes by Willy Simons (1-8) and Kevin Foley (8-1). Going into the final few laps of the Over-50 Expert race, Bowman, Ed Foedish and Andy Jefferson were all vying for the win. One pass, one way of the other would have shaken up the podium places. In the end Bowman’s 3-2 beat out Foedish’s 2-4 and Jefferson’s 5-3.
Chuck Sun (21), Jon Ortner (10) and Troy Lee (25) battle in the Over-50 Expert class.
Foley was fourth, Jon Ortner (another unlucky crasher) fifth and Willy Simons sixth. 6D helmet design Bob Weber ran at the front in both motos, but has been spending too much time in the office and not enough at the track as he faded back to a 6-6 day for seventh overall. Former AMA National Champion and MXDN winner Chuck Sun raced a Husqvarna CR125 two-stroke, in preparation for Sunday’s Two-Stroke World Championship race, to an amazing 7-7 day against a field of big bikes. Another notable in the Over-50 Expert race was Troy Lee. The man who sponsored the race wanted to win it, but crashes and a stall stopped his run at the front in both motos. Gary Jones, a four-time AMA National Champion (1971-1974), thought he had the energy to race both the Over-60 Experts and the Over-50 Experts. He didn’t.
You know you’ve made it when your local track reserves a special parking spot for you.
Four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones is still racing 42 years after his first big Championship. To match that feat, Ryan Dungey would have to line up on the starting line in 2052.
Last week Gary Jones tried to win the Over-60 Expert class on a 1974 Yamaha YZ250. His bike was 39 years old, but he managed to get a second overall on it. This week he showed up with a 2006 Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke and easily won both motos. Lyle Sweeter went 2-2 for second, with Hollywood stuntman Mic Rodgers’ 3-3 giving him third. Behind the front three was a battle between AMA Hall of Famer Lars Larsson, MXA’s Jody Weisel and Ray Pisarski. Whatever move Jody made on Lars he was subject to the same move from behind by Pisarski. In the end, the three crossed the finish line in both motos with Larsson 4-4, Weisel 5-5 and Pisarski 6-6.
THE BIGGEST CLASS OF THE DAY
Chris Alamangos, meet Adam Waheed.
Muscle and bone, meet the ground.
Believe it or not, both riders claimed the other guy was at fault. You get to be the judge. Crash sequence by Mark Chilson
Over-50 Novice Mitch Evans (4) leads Chuck Freeman (55) and David Spencer (751) through a series of drop-offs. Evans would finish 12th, Spencer 16th and Freeman 18th.
This week the most riders in any single class were the Over-50 Novices. It was so big that a couple riders had to start behind the full gate. Bill Reimer’s 1-1 was untouchable as Roy Krull went 3-2 and Ty Larson 4-3. John Estes looked like a potential winner, but backed up his first moto second with a second moto fifth. Some of the moto scores in this class were off the chart. For example Tim Rohan made the top ten overall with a 13-8, while Mitch Evan’s 7-21 relegated him to 12th. Greg Robertson scored a 2-10 day for 14th, while Chuck Freeman went 10-22 for 18th.
You don’t see two Italian-made TMs at the front of many American races, but Todd Huegel (163) on a 450MX and Ernie Becker (37) on a 144MX two-stroke lead the TM charge in the Vet Novice class. Mark Chilson
Ryan Surratt, son of Wild Willy Surratt, has been tearing up the Intermediate class as of late.
Another big class was the 250 Novice class that was highlighted by an all-out war between Trevor Stewart and Willy Simons Jr. In the end, Stewart’s 2-1 took the win over Simon’s 1-2. Jake Martineau was third with a 4-3 in front of Ryusei Otsuka’s 3-4. Johnny Dezendorf came from Durango, Colorado, for the two-stroke race, but raced to a 5-6 day at REM for fifth.
It isn’t always helpful when your friends cheer you on, especially if they block your path to the next turn.
Andy Jefferson is an iconic figure in American motocross. He was the first black motocrosser to ever make a Supercross main event. Today, he works at Husqvarna, but at REM he was wearing his old Zip-Ty Yamaha jersey, which he covered up with duct tape and then wrote “KTM” on it. Meanwhile, he had a Husky in his truck, but raced MXA’s KTM 350SXF. Times are a little confusing at Husqvarna right now.
Person of interest: Security cameras in the pits at Glen Helen snapped this photo of a man believed to have stolen the “Motocross Action Parking” sign after the race was over. The L.A. City Council will paid a $1,000,000 reward for information about this man’s whereabouts…or maybe they won’t.
REM races again next weekend. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com