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REM GLEN HELEN RACE REPORT: THE ODDEST LOT IN MOTOCROSS

August 16, 2014
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Fasthouse-MXAad-728x60Fasthouse represents a lifestyle that is energized and full of passion for motorcycles and motorcycle racing. The Fasthouse mission is to represent that passion to its fullest; as designers of apparel, racewear and hardware, as promoters and creators of events and parties, and always, as the purveyors of good times. Find out more at www.thefasthouse.com.

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Photos by Chris Alamangos, Mark Chilson & Debbi Tamietti

816sawyerchillTanner Sawyer (323) leads Ryan Surratt (51) in the middle of the Pro race at Glen Helen. Sawyer won the 450 Pro class, while Surratt took the 250 Pro win.

You can’t extrapolate much from what happens at REM Glen Helen because it is a unique race—populated by former Nationals Pros from the 1980s, a large number of riders from the 1970s, AMA Hall of Famers, motorcycle industry guys, magazine test riders, foreign riders and what’s left of the famous Saddleback Specialists. At most local races you don’t get that kind of crowd — only in SoCal can such an eclectic and eccentric group of racers convene on a weekly basis.

816steeartTrevor Stewart’s style over the top of the plateau jump was impeccable. Stewart (75) took the 250 Intermediate victory with ease.

816surrattWe don’t have a clue what Ryan Surratt is doing over the same jump, but let’s hope his hip wasn’t hurt in the making of this photo.

The REM racers are hardcore. They race every weekend, and one of the reasons they race at REM is because there are 40 REM races a year (taking breaks only when Glen Helen Raceway is being used for big events like the X Fighters, Lucas Oil Offroad trucks, the AMA National or the 24 Hours of Glen Helen). Given the good weather year-round, REM doesn’’t have to worry about snow, rain or sleet. The locals like to say that there are only two seasons at Glen Helen—Hot and Windy.

816gordondennisDennis Stapleton (46) and Gordon Ward (444) had a knock-down drag out war in the Pro race with Stapleton holding the upper hand. Stapleton was one of  five riders who rode MXA’s 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 at Glen Helen to test air pressure settings in the Showa TAC forks.

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816simonsWilly Simons won the Over-50 Elite class.

This weekend it was hot, but not the smothering humid heat of the rest of the country, but a low humidity dry heat that makes visiting Texans say, “You call this hot?”

816harperorpkinchillWill Harper (7), Dave Eropkin (811), Randy Skinner (383) and Val Tamietti (31) spread out across the track, while Scotty Walker (5) and Luther French (2) take the road less taken around the outside.

The battles that interest the REM crowd aren’t what you find people watching at the motor home convention-style races. Oh, the crowd will gather by the fence to watch the Pro race, but the biggest draw is the Over-50 class —in part because it is the biggest class, but also because it features lots of cool names that old Saddleback, Indian Dunes, Corona Raceway and Carlsbad racers used to watch when these men were young Pros (a long time ago).

816lutherskinnerRandy Skinner (383) would end up with a 9-6 day for seventh in the Over-50 Expert  class, while Luther French (2) would overcome Skinner’s objections to win with a 4-1 in front of Phil Dowell, Jerry Black, Val Tamietti, Tony Schuler, Jeff Fahy and Skinner. Schuler won the first moto, but stumbled to an 8th on moto two.

Your local track’s bike brand breakdown is probably skewed differently than Glen Helens because of the large number of older, richer and more connected riders at Glen Helen. What do think is the most popular bikes at your track? At REM this weekend it was 30% Yamahas, 30% KTMs, 20% Hondas, 7 % Suzukis, 7% Kawasakis and a smattering of Huskys (plus one Beta).

816richardtaylorRichard Taylor, son of former AMA National rider Rich Taylor, went 2-2 for second in the 250 Novice class.

THE WINNERS, AS IN “I WON MOM!”

450 Pro: Tanner Sawyer.

250 Pro: Ryan Surratt.

Vet Pro: Dennis Stapleton.

Over-40 Pro: Gordon Ward.

816tarvishoffmanYou gotta give Travis Hoffman (73) credit for getting his KTM 250SX two-stroke into an awesome slide, while his bike leaned outward, his body inward and his head looked at the Jumbotron to see how he’s doing. By the way, he was doing well enough to sweep both motos of the 450 Novice class.

250 Intermediate: Trevor Stewart.

120 Two-Stroke: Mitchell Falk.

Vet Intermediate: Bob Zingg.

Over-40 Intermediate: Ron Shuler.

816micthellMitchell Falk (612) won the 125 two-stroke class.

Over-50 Elite: Willy Simons.

Over-50 Expert: Luther French.

Over-50 Intermediate: Dirk Davidow.

816seifertalanBack again. Alan Olson (right) quit racing two years ago because of bad knees. The nine-time World Vet Champion was also the “AMA Mechanic of the Year” when he wrenched for Chad Reed. Bill Seifert (left) is overjoyed to be racing this close to Olson—after 30 years of chasing a lot father behind him.

Over-60 Expert: Jim Latendresse.

250 Novice: Cole Puckett.

450 Novice: Travis Hoffman.

816jodychrisJody Weisel (192) returned to racing after six weeks off with the same mystery illness that has stricken James Stewart. Well, actually, Jody got pneumonia, which he made worse by racing with it. His lungs were only good enough in his return for one moto.

816tobybrooks Toby Brooks (986) took the 250 Beginner victory in his combination of Fox, Alias, Thor and Troy Lee Designs ensemble.

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819bobzinggBob Zingg.

816matherlyCade Matherly — 85 Expert winner.

819colepockettCole Puckett (505) won the 250 Novice class with a 1-1.

819shawnhillionOnly the Pros, young and old, jumped this massive plateau…and Intermediate Trevor Stewart. This is 250 Pro Shawn Hillion (159).

819ortnerJon Ortner (10) eschews Yamaha contingency money with his all-yellow YZ450F.

819chrisaThis is classic Alamangos! Goggles flying, elbow down as far as it will go and the throttle turned wide open. There are four racing Alamangos brothers, but Chris (shown here) and Dan are the last two of the Aussie clan still living on the racing edge.

REM races again next Saturday, August 23, 2014. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com

Fasthouse-MXAad-728x60Fasthouse represents a lifestyle that is energized and full of passion for motorcycles and motorcycle racing. The Fasthouse mission is to represent that passion to its fullest; as designers of apparel, racewear and hardware, as promoters and creators of events and parties, and always, as the purveyors of good times. Find out more at www.thefasthouse.com.

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