Jason Lawrence shows how not to do it, but then his whole career has been about how not to do it.
First the funny part: After winning both motos of the 450 Pro class Jason Lawrence was interviewed by REM motocross announcer Tom White. As soon as Tom asked him if he was going to race any AMA Nationals in the future, Jason said the interview was over and walked away. Which is okay because he walked away from the 450 Pro competition on the track also.
Lawrence went 1-1 in front of Kyle Wolack (3-2) and Justin Jones (2-3) in the 450 Pro class. Broc Shoemaker took the 250 Pro victory, Tony Amaradio swept the Vet Pro class and Randel Fout won the Over-40 Pros.
THE STORIES OF THE DAY
Willy Simons, Jr. roosts his way up a steep bank.
The highlights of the day weren’t in the Pro classes, but in the performances of several up-and-comers, a few old line veterans and the last of the Saddleback Specialists.
Willy Simons, Jr: In what seems like a massive increase in speed in a short period of time, Willy Simons, Jr. won the 250 Intermediate class with a certain amount of flair.
Jon Ortner is coming to terms with his 2014 Yamaha YZ450F as he won the Over-50 Expert class.
Randy Skinner: In the largest class of the day, Randy Skinner took the victory with a 2-2. Jeff Fahy won the first moto and was winning the second moto when he stalled at the base of Mt. Whitney. His bike didn’t start immediately and Jeff Mason and Randy Skinner passed him. In the end, Skinner’s 2-2 was better than Fahy’s 1-3, Mason’s 5-1, Will Harper’s 4-4 or Mark Hall’s 8-5.
Willy Musgrave has been missing from the races for the last four months, but he came back with a bang.
Willy Musgrave: MXA test rider Willy Musgrave hasn’t race in several months. On the day he turned 50 years old, he hurt his back bending over and hasn’t able to ride since. Willy focused his attention on kart racing during his recovery, but showed up at REM this week for his first-ever Over-50 Expert race. He said he was just going to ride around. Not true! Willy rode around for about three laps in fifth place and then turned on the afterburners and passed Dave Eropkin, Bryan Friday (back in the Expert class this weekend), Willy Simons and Jon Orter to take the first moto win. Then, in the second moto, he rocketed to the front only to jump a blind jump at the wrong angle, hit the bank on the side of the track and cartwheeled out of the race. He wasn’t hurt, but his bars were mangled. Jon Ortner’s 2-1 took the victory over Willy Simons (3-2), Bryan Friday (5-3) and Dave Eropkin (4-4).
Saddleback fans will appreciate this photo. Gary Jones (88) and Val Tamietti (31) bring back memories. REM is the last bastion of the now old “Saddleback Specialists.” Saddleback Park closed in 1984, which means if you were born on the year it closed you’d be headed for the Vet class today.
Gary Jones. The four-time 250 National Champion (1971-1974) holeshot both Over-60 Expert motos and rode unmolested to the finish line. George Kohler went 2-2, Tom White 4-3, Mic Rodgers 3-4, Jody Weisel 5-5, Tony Parsons 7-6 and Bill Seifert 6-8.
Ryusei Otsuka: Foreign riders are as common at REM as the locals. On any given weekend the races are littered with Brits, Aussies, Swedes, Kuwaitis and Danes. But Ryusei Otsuka has been the lone Japanese rider. Only a 250 Novice, he has been improving during his stay in the USA and this week went 1-1 in front of a top five that included Johnny Chico (3-2), Carson Mumford (2-5), Tyler Nichols (6-3) and Brandon Reid (5-4).
The Coles: REM is a family affair as many family members share the fun of racing. The prime examples are the Simons’ (Willy Sr. and Jr.), the Amaradio’s (Lee, Tony and Willie), the Shuler’s (Ron and Earl), the Jones’ (Gary and Justin) and the Musgrave’s (Willy and Billy). But the Coles took it to a new level. The father and son duo used to race in their respective classes with dad in the Over-40 class and son in the 450 Novices?Then, dad decided to move to the same class so they could race together. And race they did. They went 2-1 and 1-2 with Bradley taking the win over dad Chris. And there was even talk of a protest to reverse the moto results?all in good fun. Mark Taylor had to follow the family affair in both motos with a 3-3.
Randel Fout won the Over-40 Pro class on MXA’s 2014 KTM 250SX. He was testing exhaust pipes.
Double classers: It what as been an amazingly cool and mild Summer, the heat returned to SoCal this weekend. Typically, REM guys try to double class it, but this week promoter Frank Thomason combined classes to get the program down to 5 races so that everybody could still get in long motos, but be out of the track early. Thus, double-classing it this week meant very little down time between motos. TM importer Pete Vetrano doubled up the Vet Novice class and the Over-50 Intermediates. He won the Vets, but got 9th in the 50s. Hollywood stuntman Mic Rodgers doubled the Over-60 Experts and the Over-50 Intermediates. Joe Sutter doubled up in the Over-50 Intermediates and the Over-40 Novices. Carson Mumford won the 85 Expert class and got third in the 250 Novices. Pasha Afshar was 4th in the Over-40 Novices and won the Vet Beginners. Justice Quidd was 10th in the Over-50 Intermediates and 3rd in the Over-40 Novices. Mark Hall was fifth in the Over-50 Intermediates and 9th in the Over-40 Novices.
Most of the double-classers come from the Over-50 Intermediate class. Here Joe Sutter (111), Jeff Mason (459) and Pete Vetrano (37) play high-speed tag. Sutter, Vetrano, Rodgers, Quidd and Hall all did double duty in other classes?along with the 50 intermediates. Actually 452 is Jeff Scott, but we owned Jeff Mason (459) one for calling him Jeff Scott a few races ago. Now they are even.
REM does not race next weekend, August 24, but returns to action on August 31 for four consecutive weekends. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com