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Photos by Debbie Tamietti, Jon Ortner, Kyoshi Becker & Rommel Andrade
Mike Alessi wore the number one plate because he was the 2016 World Two-Stroke Champion, but didn’t get to defend in the 2017 event because he broke his collarbone during the Supercross series (but when the 2017 Champion Ryan Surratt did not show up he was free to run the 1). Alessi easily manhandled the field—and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Photo: Rommel Andrade.
More than any other National track Glen Helen has supported the two-stroke movement—not only holding two-stroke Support races at the AMA 250/450 National at regular intervals, but also being the home to the MTA World Two-Stroke Championships.
Rock River Yamaha’s Gage Schere was second, soon to be Monster Kawasaki Canada rider Mike Alessi first and Pasha Racing’s Scott Champion third.
Thus, when the hole appeared in the timeline of the AMA National this year, Glen Helen announced that the top 20 riders from the MTA World Two-Stroke Championship would automatically qualify for a spot in FMF Two-Stroke Challenge race as the opening act of the 2017 Glen Helen National.
Hawaiian Pro Brian Medeiros got his ticket to race the Glen Helen Two-Stroke Challenge when he finished fourth in the 125cc World Two-Stroke Championships back in April. He filled in for Zach Bell, who moved the AMA National class. Brian switched to a YZ250 and got sixth. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The Glen Helen two-stroke race was not part of the 125 Dream Race series (Hangtown, Thunder Valley and Washougal), because the Glen Helen race was already announced back in March—with its World Two-Stroke Championship qualifying system—before the three-race 125 series was conceived.
Brian Medeiros’ father Paul flew in from Kaui to watch his son race. If dad’s going to come to one of your races it is hard to beat the atmosphere at an AMA National. Photo: Jon Ortner
Since 36 Pro racers finished the World Two-Stroke Championships back in April, Glen Helen was able to replace riders who qualified for the Two-Stroke race and the AMA National on the same day with riders from 21st on back. Riders who had to be replaced were Ryan Surratt (who didn’t race the Glen Helen Two-Stroke Challenge or the AMA National), Zach Bell, Johnny Jelderda, R.J., Wageman, Justin Jones, Justin Muscutt, Kyle Partridge and Arik Swan. Additionally, four riders were moved from the World Two-Stroke Championship’s 125 Pro class (most of them switched to 250 two-strokes for the National). And, Mike Alessi was seeded because he won the 2016 World Two-Stroke Championship and then broke his collarbone just before the 2017 event.
Dylan Bennett (left) and Robby Schott (right) didn’t make the top 15, but it didn’t matter to them as they dueled this close for the whole moto. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The fans loved the two-stroke race, as evidenced by this group of spectators that included, from left to right, Alpinestars Mobile Medical Unit’s Tom Carson, MXA’s Zapata Espinosa, MTA’s Jeff Laird, four-time 250 National Champion Gary Jones, former AMA Pro Gary Denton and Glen Helen general manager Lori Wilson. Photo: Kyoshi Becker
Jered Thomas raced his totally tricked-out 2006 Kawasaki KX250 to 16th. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The Pasha Racing Team had to split their efforts between the 450 National and the Two-Stroke race. Their efforts were paid off with a podium finish by Scott Champion. Photo: Jon Ortner
Terry Varner was a busy man in the weeks leading up to the Glen Helen Two-Stroke Challenge. He built a lot of bikes for the one-moto showdown. Photo: Jon Ortner
No National support class would be complete without a guy dressed in pink. At Glen Helen, it was David Cincotta. Photo: Rommel Andrade.
Mike Alessi didn’t race the 450 AMA Nationals because he is preparing for the opening round of the CMRC Canadian National Championship, which starts next Sunday. But, he couldn’t pass up the Two-Stroke race. Mike has a Kawasaki ride lined up for Canada. Photo: Jon Ortner
RESULTS: 2017 FMF GLEN HELEN TWO-STROKE CHALLENGE
1. Mike Alessi
2. Gage Schere
3. Scott Champion
4. Tallon Lafountaine
5. Sean Lipanovich
6. Brian Medeiros
7. Carson Carr
8. Shun Hillion
9. Casey Casper
10. Chris Fillmore
11. Bryce Shondeck
12. Eric Jones
13. Travis Hoffman
14. Billy Lea
15. Chris See
16. Jered Thomas
17. Dylan Bennett
18. Robby Schott
19. Ricky Diaz
20. Tyler Walker