The REM Octobercross track was the final test version of the World Vet track that will be used next weekend. As always, it includes some major elevation changes.
With the MTA-sponsored World Vet Motocross Championship less than a week away, potential Champions flocked to Glen Helen’s Annual REM Octobercross (originally the Commotion-By-The-Ocean race at Carlsbad). It was the last chance for riders to get to race on the World Vet layout before next week’s festivities start and since it wasn’t limited to riders over the age of 30, lots of young riders came out to ride the track that they will be banned from next weekend.
John Minert (bottom left) gets a ground level view as Austin Squires (711), Bryce Stewart (polka dots), Dennis Stapleton (184), Chris See (749) and Mark Tilley (in front of See) climb to the top of Mt. Saint Helen.
THE PRO CLASSES
Next week the Over-30 and Over-40 Pros will race for their fair share of the $8000 purse, but for the Octobercross the major classes were for 250 Pros, 450 Pros (which is where the Over-30 Pros elected to race), Over-40 Pros, Over-50 Experts and Over-60 Experts. Here were the players:
Bryce Stewart: Definitely not a Veteran rider, Stewart won both motos of the 450 Pro class, while an all-out war raged directly behind him. Stewart’s 1-1 took the gold and the cash.
Troy Lee (25) is a potential contender for the Over-50 Expert title next week.
Dennis Stapleton: Now 30, MXA‘s Dennis Stapleton has a busy schedule ahead of him. He will race next week’s World Vet Championship, then fly to Dubai for a race in two weeks, then make the short trip to Kuwait and follow that up with races in Hong Kong, the Philippines (with MXA‘s John Minert ) and Amsterdam. Stapleton went 4-2 to get second overall in front of Mark Tilley (3-4) and Chris See (5-3).
Austin Squires: The former NESC star from New England was brilliant in the first moto. He started behind the major contenders and picked them off one-by-one. He ended up second behind Bryce Stewart, but first among of the Over-30 Pros. Unfortunately, when attempting to do the same thing in moto two, he lost control on a downhill sweeper and crashed out. Austin was okay, but out of the results.
TM had seven riders at the Octobercross. Shawn Wynne was the lucky guy elected to race the first 2012 TM MX250 in the country. He was second in the Over-40 Pro class.
250 Pros: Jason Potter went 1-1 in front of Dylan Lemburg’s 2-2. Billy Musgrave had his KTM 150SX in the running in moto two, but he crashed and ended up third overall.
Over-40 Pros: The three best riders in the Over-40 Pro class were MXA‘s Willy Musgrave, TM-sponsored Shawn Wynne and Loretta Lynn Champion Matt Tedder. Tedder had nothing for the pair of two-stroke mounted riders. Musgrave, on a KTM 250SX, and Wynne, on a 2012 TM MX250, were never far apart and, on occasion, Wynne would get his brand-new TM in front of Musgrave, but Willy would immediately retaliate and get back to the lead. Musgrave finished in the top ten in both the Over-30 and Over-40 Pro classes on a Honda CR250 two-strokes at last year’s World Vet Championship, while Wynne was fourth on a TM MX300 at the USGP World Vet Cup in May.
Chuck Sun had just passed Steve Lawler for the lead in the Over-50 Expert class when Chuck grabbed too much front brake. He remounted to finish second.
Over-50 Experts: Lots of Over-50 rider are glad that the World Vet will have an Over-55 class at this year’s rendition?because they want to get away from the fierce competition for the Over-50 title. This weekend Chuck Sun and Steve Lawler fought tooth-and-nail for the victory. Sun, the 1980 AMA 500cc National Champion, chased Lawler in the first moto and made a slick pass in the tree section on the second to last lap?only to locked up his front brake ten feet later and fall down. In the second moto, Lawler and Sun traded the lead four times?but Lawler made the last pass and got the victory. Noleen’s Clark Jones, another former AMA National Pro, was third overall. He was followed in by a top ten that included Randel Fout, Willie Amaradio, Andy James, John Atwood, Ken Aplanalp, Joe Pena and George Kohler.
Former CMC number one Vet Pro Jody Weisel (23) has raced every World Vet Championship ever held?he vows to keep doing it until he gets it right. It should be noted that Jody won his Vet Pro Championship 27 years ago (when Kevin Windham was 5 years old). Jody finished sixth in the Over-60 Expert class at REM.
Over-60 Experts: It is hard to imagine that riders born in the 1940s (yes, you read that right) are still racing motocross. They are. Three-time Over-60 World Champion Bill Maxim (2007, 2009 and 2010?Bill’s consecutive win streak was snapped by Thorlief Hanssen in 2008) took an easy 1-1 victory on a Kawasaki KX500 two-stroke. In a field that included two AMA Hall of Famers, several former Vet World Champions (in younger age divisions?when they were younger) and two riders who plan to race in the Over-70 class next week, the racing was fiercest for second overall between White Brothers founder and AMA dirt tracker Tom White (3-2) and T.V. Holmes (2-3). Just behind them, Ray Pisarski (4-4) and Swedish GP rider Lars Larsson (5-5) swapped fourth a couple of time before Pisarski took command.
We don’t always get every corner right?as Andy James demonstrates on his way to sixth in the Over-50 Expert class.
WHO ELSE WAS THERE?
TM importer Pete Vetrano race several classes. Pete has to fly to Italy next week and will miss the World Vet, so he raced extra classes to get his fill this weekend. TM will field riders in several classes at the World Vet.
John Basher on a very trick Wiseco-sponsored KX450F.
MXA‘s John Basher swept both motos of the 450 Novice class in front of Clark Jones’ son Parker (2-2). The Jones clan was out in force with Clark, Parker and Justin (son of Gary Jones) racing in several classes.
Brian Martin (65) and Lee Amaradio (3) jockey for position in the Over-50 Novice class. The Over-50 Novice class was the third largest class of the day.
Revelle Harrison won the Over-40 Expert class (which is confusingly one step down from the Over-40 Pro class). Revelle a long time KTM district manager has moved to Husqvarna?and thus, Revelle took the win on a Husky with a 2-1 in front of TM-sponsored Tim Sharp (1-2). Greg Pierce and Rob Engel rounded out the top four.
In the 125cc two-stroke class, a couple of Over-50 Experts moved down to dominate the class on Kawasaki KX125s. Randell Fout went 2-1 to take the win over Dirt Bike editor Ron Lawson (2-3). Oliver Streit won the second moto, but had nothing to show for the first moto. Tyson Coombs and Cheyne de Sousa filled in the top five.
Mark Braden and Justin Jones dueled for the 450 Intermediate victory. Jones won the first moto and Braden won the second moto, both riders are vying for a slot on a well-financed amateur team?and the pressure was intense on both of them to perform.
Bryce Stewart (240) leads Tony Amaradio (130), Jason Potter (758), Chris See (749) and rest of the Pro pack.
The biggest class of the day was the Over-50 Experts with the Over-40 Novices second biggest and Over-50 Novices third biggest. As for the most popular bike brands, Hondas dominated the field with 42% of the riders on CRFs, 23% on Yamaha, 13% on Kawasakis, 12% on KTMs, 5% on Suzukis and 5% on other brands (TM and Husqvarna). The class victories fell to Honda also, with CRFs winning 44 percent of the classes, while KTM won 19%, Yamaha 18% and Kawasaki 18%.
REM does not race next weekend because of the World Vet Championship, but they return for the final five races of their 40-race season on Nov. 12, Nov. 19, Nov. 26, Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Chris Alamangos and Ernier Becker