Photos by Debbi Tamietti, Dan Alamangos, Jon Ortner & Rich Stuelke
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.
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.
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)
JON ORTNER’S PHOTO OF THE WEEK
To learn more about REM go to www.remsatmx.com