REM GLEN HELEN: KURT NICOLL, MIKE SLEETER, GORDON WARD LOOK AHEAD
Photos by Debbi Tamietti, Dan Alamangos, Jon Ortner & Rich Stuelke
Perrenial World Vet runner-up Mike Sleeter wants to make 2016 the year that he finally wins the Over-30 World Vet Championships—because with each passing year more young guys move in to the class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
You can tell when the World Vet Motocross Championship is coming up because some of the major players begin to show up at at REM to warm up. With the World Vet only four weeks away, REM offers a chance to race on a track that is as rough as the Glen Helen National motocross track with the toughest competition possible (especially in the older age groups).
The focus of the World Vet in 2016 will be on Saturday, November 5th, Over-40 Pro class, won last year by Kurt Nicoll, followed by Sunday November 6th, Over-30 Pro class Over-30 Pros, won last year by KTM’s Ryan Morais. New this year is the addition of an Over-50 Pro class to Sunday’s program. Last year Dubach Dubach won the Over-50s in a squeaker over Kurt Nicoll. Since there are class for Novice, Intermediate and Expert in 25-, 30-, 35-, 40-, 45-, 50-, 55-, 60-, 65- and 70-year old age groups, a lot of bragging rights are on the line.
The front runners in the Vet Pro class were Mike Sleeter, Kurt Nicoll, Michael Carter and Gordon Ward, while South African Alan Jullien looked great in the Over-40 class (Kurt Nicoll is the current Over-40 World Champion, but chose to race in the Over-30 Pros for the challenge).
The Over-50 stars of the day at REM were Luther French, who has improved his overall speed dramatically in the last month, and former AMA National Pro Jon Ortner, who has been fast every weekend, but suffered rare crashes the last two weekend.
Last year Kurt Nicoll won the Over-40 World Vet Championship after spending years in the “friend zone” with crashes and mechanical at the world Vet. This year he wants to do the double by winning the Over-40 and Over-50 titles. Photo: Dan Alamangos
The Over-60 class has seen the most growth in the week’s leading up to the World Vet with a host of riders making appearances at REM. This week the winner was Jim Latendresse. And the Over-65 Experts looked tough with former World Vet Champion Tom White (1990 Over-40 Champ), Lyle Sweeter, Jim O’Neal and Tom Holmes all battling for an edge in the warm-ups races.
It will only get tougher as REM has two motocross races left before the World Vets (and after this coming weekend’s 24 Hours of Glen Helen endurance race). The first of the two will be on the REM track on October 22 and the second race will be the annual Octobercross (formerly known as the “Commotion By The Ocean” when it was held at Carlsbad Raceway) on October 29. The REM Octobercross will be held on the actual World Vet layout—this race should bring out the big guns.
Jim O’Neal missed the start of his second Over-65 Expert moto, which meant a hard chance from the back with little reward. Jim aims his Husqvarna at the target rich environment in front of him. Photo: Dan Alamangos
As for this week’s race, Glen Helen was still locked into its 95-degree summer weather cycle as the cast of regular characters showed up. Here are the winners in some of the competitive classes.
NOVICES: Jack Hall (85 Novices), Tyler Nichols (250 Novices), Zach Randolph (450 Novices), Ken Clark (Over-40 Novices) and Gary Guerico (Over-50 Novices).
INTERMEDIATES: Luke Sparks (85 Intermediates), J.P. Alvarez (125 Intermediates), Jason Fichera (250 Intermediates), Mike Fichera (450 Intermediates), Mike Diorio (Over-30 Intermediates), Ralf Schmidt (Over-40 Intermediates), Bob Pocius (Over-50 Intermediates), Jody Weisel (Over-60 Intermediates) and Rich Stuelke (Over-65 Intermediates).
FOREIGN RIDERS: Alan Jullien (South Africa—1st Over-40 Expert), Ralf Schmidt (Holland—1st Over-40 Intermediate), Kurt Nicoll (England—2nd Vet Pro), Philip Maassen (Germany—2nd 450 Novices), David O’Connor (Ireland—3rd Vet Novice), Barak Aljasmi (Kuwait—3rd 250 Novices), Dan Alamangos (Australia—4th Over-40 Intermediate) and Tony Parsons (England—4th Over-60 Intermediate).
THE REMAINING REM RACES OF 2016
Oct. 22…Glen Helen, CA
Oct. 29…Glen Helen, CA (World Vet track)
Nov. 5.. No race (World Vet Championship)
Nov 12…Glen Helen, CA
Nov. 19…Glen Helen, CA
Nov. 26…No race (Day in the Dirt)
Dec. 3….Glen Helen, CA
Dec. 10…Glen Helen, CA
Dec. 17…Glen Helen, CA
Dec. 25…No race (Christmas Day)
Dec. 31…No race (New Year’s Eve)
This is part of the REM track that most people never see. It is a long downhill through the canyon (on the left), followed by a tight hairpin and then a right-hand turn up over the ridge. Ernie Becker’s Husqvarna (87) and Lonnie Paschal’s Yamaha (51) share the road. Photo: Dan Alamangos
JON ORTNER’S PHOTO OF THE WEEK
To learn more about REM go to www.remsatmx.com