Photos by Debbi Tamietti (except where noted otherwise). Click on images to enlarge
Historically, Glen Helen’s motocross tracks are closed on the weekend before the AMA 250/450 National to allow the track crew total access for fencing, track prep and setup. Not this year! REM was given the opportunity to hold their weekly Saturday motocross—and be the only riders in the park. That meant that the National track, two Supercross tracks, mini track, Lucas offroad truck track and the miles of trails were completely empty, while the REM track was abuzz with activity. REM promoters Frank and Myra Thomason had predicted that Saturday’s race would draw a small turnout, but they were wrong. Lots of riders showed up to race—even though the Hangtown National was being held a few hours away.
There was even a decent showing of 450 Pros—with Star Yamaha’s Bradley Taft winning both 450 Pro motos in a strong showing. Geegan Von Lossberg took the 250 Pro win, while Tony Amardio won the Vet Pros. But, as always at REM Motocross, the biggest classes were the oldest classes. Here is a breakdown of the three biggest classes of the day:
Over-50 Intermediate: The biggest class had so many riders in it that some rider’s scores looked like the belonged at a football game instead of a motocross. With riders going 20-17, 21-21 and 16-18, you knew that the battles throughout the field were intense. Robert Pocius used a solid 1-2 to take the win (helped in no doubt by Michelle Horton’s unlucky 17-1 moto finishes). Second place went to Don Pastell (2-3) and third to Jeff Scott with a 3-4. The rest of the top ten was filled in by Jeff Mason, Scott Williams, Chris Cole, Jim Hanson, Terry Varner, Michelle Horton and Bill Reimer.
Over-60 class: Only in SoCal could you find riders born before 1956 who were not only still racing motocross, but show up in large enough numbers that they made up the second biggest class of the day. This week’s stars of the Over-60 Expert class were Jim Latendresse and Bob Rutten. These two riders were never more than a few bike lengths apart as the raced side-by-side for two motos. Latendresse got the victory with a 1-1 to Rutten’s 2-2. Carl Gazafy was third, Jim Hanson fourth, Mike Marion fifth, Rollie Rodriquez sixth, Mic Rodgers seventh, Gene Boere eighth, Kent Reed ninth and Lee Amardio tenth. Meanwhile, T.V. Holmes won the Over-65 Expert class over Alan Kent (father of former Dodger Jeff Kent), Phil Cruz, Greg Preston (father of Travis Preston) and Lyle Sweeter.
450 Novice: It has been a long time since a non-Vet class has been in the top three of rider turnout, but the 450 Novices broke the stranglehold of the Over-50 and Over-40 classes this weekend. Matt Pastor took the win with a 3-1 (after first moto winner Bradley Cole went 1-4 for third). Second overall went to Tyler Walker’s 2-3. The top ten was packed with former REM winners as Maxx Murphy was fourth, Ryan Carrano fifth, Brandon Reid sixth, Andrew Borski seventh, Zach Randolph eighth, Josh Fout ninth and Adam Green tenth.
The race that most REM spectators wait for is the Over-50 Expert and Over-50 Elite race. The Elite class is reserved for former AMA Pros and multiple-time Over-50 Expert winners, while the Over-50 Experts is packed with hopeful Elites. The battle for the Elite win was fought tooth and nail between Jon Ortner and Eddie Davis. In fact, Jon Ortner led every lap of both motos on Saturday, but he didn’t lead the two laps that counted the most. Eddie Davis made the passes that counted on the final circuit of both motos to go 1-1 to Jon Ortner’s 2-2.
The only glitch in the Over-50 Elite/Expert race was a red flag that was thrown on the second lap of the first moto. It was caused by two crashes that occurred on different parts of the track at the same time. Both riders were in jeopardy, so the red flag was thrown and all the riders returned to the starting gate. The first rider carried too much speed into an incredibly rough section of square-edge buimps and went down hard. The second crash was caused by a riding obeying the red flag at the finish line jump, while the rider behind him ignored the red flag and rear-ended him on the backside of the jump.
Making matters worse, the front four riders in the class claimed they never saw the red flag and continued to race through the fallen riders for two more laps before they were corralled and chastised. REM has an enviable safety record. Plus, they have comprehensive rules that include banning of riders who get into altercations at their events, a concussion program that sets riders down for six weeks if they get knocked out (backed up by video of every fallen rider to eliminate any doubts about whether the rider was out of not), and although REM has jumps on the track, their reputation is for having the roughest, toughest track in SoCal—thus the jumps are the deciders in their races. It’s all about the bumps.
In the Over-50 Experts, Val Tamietti continued his string fo victories—this time with his big sister in attendance for the first time in years with her family to watch the former CMC number 1 rider sweep both motos. Val also went out in the Over-40 Intermediates and finished second behind Brian Calhoun, but in front of Ralf Schmidt.
REM does not race next weekend, because the AMA National will be there. However, they return the following weekend, June 4, and have a very rare Sunday race scheduled on June 12th. Mark you calendar. See the complete schedule at the bottom of this page.
JON ORTNER’S REM FAMILY PORTRAITS
THE REST OF THE 2016 REM GLEN HELEN SCHEDULE
June 4…Glen Helen, CA
June 11…No race (King of Hammer offroad race)
June 12…Glen Helen, CA (Sunday)
June 19…No race (Last Dog Standing race)
June 25…Glen Helen, CA
July 2…Glen Helen, CA (AMA National track)
July 9…Glen Helen, CA
July 16…No race (Lucas Oil Off-Road Truck race)
July 23…Glen Helen, CA
July 30…Glen Helen, CA
Aug. 6…Glen Helen, CA
Aug.13…Glen Helen, CA
Aug. 20…Glen Helen, CA
Aug. 27…Glen Helen, CA
Sept. 3…Glen Helen, CA (AMA National track)
Sept. 10…No race (United States Grand Prix)
Sept. 17…No Race (WORCS)
Sept. 24…Glen Helen, CA
Oct. 1…Glen Helen, CA
Oct. 8…Glen Helen, CA
Oct. 15…No race (24 Hours of GH)
Oct. 22…Glen Helen, CA
Oct. 29…Glen Helen, CA (AMA National 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)
For more info on REM go to www.remsatmx.com