Unlike in the past when Jody Weisel used a hand-picked group of AMA riders to test the Glen Helen layout, typically Josh Grant, Weston Peick, Dennis Stapleton and Doug Dubach, this year Glen Helen opened the track up to every Pro rider with four different test sessions—and after each one the track was modified (often overnight) to make improvements. Here, Blake Baggett (4) jumps up Mt. Saint Helen.
Dean Wilson (15) jumps the Wall Jump into the Muddy Straight. Dean is one of many young AMA Pros who have never raced an AMA National at Glen Helen. This year will be Dean’s first time on one of the National’s roughest tracks.
If Dean Wilson was jumping the Wall Jump, we don’t know what Justin Barcia was doing. It was more like trying to achieve Lunar orbit.
What goes up must come down. Ken Roczen gets a slingshot out of a deep rut at the top of one of Glen Helen’s many hills. Going up is never the hard part, getting stopped on the way down is. Some of the hills are 20 stories high.
Christophe Pourcel is incredibly smooth and fast, but it was hard to get a good lap time on him because he would go fast in spurts. He would cruise for a couple corners and then go blazing fast for a couple corners. If someone got on his tail to try to pace off of his YZ250F, he would slow down and let them by.
You know the ruts are deep when you can almost drag your handlebars in a hard-pack corner. Dean Wilson (15) was exceptionally fast at every Glen Helen test session. Glen Helen is through testing the track, and the last chance that riders will get to ride before the National is on Press Day later in the week. And then only a select few.
This is view from the top of Shoei Hill. Jeremy Martin (19) is testing out the theory that the fastest way down the hill is to fly to the bottom. Glen Helen’s pre-National test days saw virtually every factory rider on the track, but without any spectators or crowds to deal with.
The jump in the middle of Mt. Saint Helen is an ode to Saddleback Park’s Suicide Mountain. It isn’t as steep as Suicide Mountain, but riders still struggled to clear the jump. Here, Trey Canard (41) flies past a rider who cases the face.
There are lots of scrubbing opportunities at Glen Helen — many of them with a 200 foot long backside. Cooper Webb (19) demonstrates.
Zach Osborne (16) sticks a little closer to the ground.
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Photos by Mark Chilson