This doesn’t even look possible! Steven Tokarski won the 450 Pro class at REM Glen Helen on the opening day of the new race track (which was rebuilt after the X-Fighters). Photo: Dan Alamangos
Most motocross racers live by “The Code.” It is a simple and unspoken ethical motocross mantra. It is what keeps motocrossers racing on the straight and narrow (except for a few that we can all name). The motocross “Code” says says, “Don’t do anything bad to me and I won’t do anything bad to you.” There is one caveat: “If you do something to me, then all bets are off in the next corner.”
So, when 450 Pro Steven Tokarski tried to go around Tyler Villopoto at the tree corner at the end of the back straight, Tokarski felt that Ryan Villopoto’s younger brother, Tyler, swerved into his path on purpose. The Vance and Hines rider believed that this was a “Code Violation” and, coming down the next hill, Tokarski returned the favor to Villopoto.
Tyler Villopoto will race the Canadian Nationals this summer before turning pro and joining his big brother on the AMA circuit. Photo: Mark Chilson
Who knows what actually took place between the two when they were out of sight of the fans in the tree turn, but it was perceived as an affront by Steven and it was dealt with as one. That is the way “The Code” works.
Tokarski’s payback pass wasn’t especially rough, he just got position on Villopoto and held it until Tyler had to decide what to do next. That pass resolved the 450 Pro class with Tokarski going 2-1 to Villopoto’s 1-2. Third was Connor Stouff with a 3-3.
This corner is at the bottom of a long fast downhill. It turns 180 degrees to the left and goes up the Mt. Whitney uphill. Tokarski has Villopoto covered at this point. Photo: Mark Chilson
Tyler Villopoto didn’t have time to back out as Tokarski took the berm by almost a bike length. Photo: Mark Chilson
As Steven Tokarski flies away to victory, Tyler Villopoto goes over the berm. Photo: Mark Chilson
THE ALL-NEW TRACK
Because of the Red Bull X-Fighters and the National Hillclimb Championship over the past two weeks, the work on the rebuilt REM race track was delayed until this past week. Thanks to the hard work of promoter Frank Thomason and Carl Scanlon’s crew, the track was finished and ready to be raced just a half hour before practice was scheduled to start.
MXA’s Dennis Stapleton won the Vet Pro class, but has to go to Millville for an MXA test next week and the Philippines in two weeks. Photo: Dan Alamangos
The new track was incredibly challenging. One rider said, “It makes you use all the stuff they taught you in motocross school, but you never needed before.”
This switchback uphill was where the guy at the Red Bull X-Fighters did the step-up backflip. Now, the REM racers race up and over it sideways. Photo: Ernie Becker
The new layout was a rough, rugged and bumpy course with some incredibly technical ups and downs. The best news is that the first race on the new design came out okay, and given how new the dirt is (it had been screened and filtered by Red Bull), the more it is used the better it will get.
These aren’t the big REM hills, but this used to be the flat part before the redesign. The big hills are to the right. Photo: Dan Alamangos
If Mitch Van Mortel (112) had the time to take a look, he would be amazed at the scenic vistas of Glen Helen Raceway Park. Photo: Ernie Becker
250 Pro: Mitch Van Mortel has been a two-stroke guy since day one, and after a brief stint on a 250 four-stroke, he returned to his trusty YZ250 for the REM races. It paid off as Van Mortel when 1-1 in front of tough and fast Broc Shoemaker and fellow two-stroke rider Billy Musgrave.
Ryan Surratt. Photo: Dan Alamangos
250 Intermediate: Ryan Surratt, son of former 125 West Champion Willy Surratt, has returned to the two-stroke fold. After flirting with a 250 four-stroke, Ryan’s dad decided that the family couldn’t afford to keep rebuilding his four-stroke, especially given that a YZ250 two-stroke was better suited to Ryan’s go-for-broke riding style (and that is what Ryan will race at Loretta Lynn’s later this year). Ryan went 1-1 in front of Max Groom and Danny Gross.
Justin Jones powers his CRF450 over a rise at REM Glen Helen. Photo: Dan Alamangos
450 Intermediate: Justin Jones’ 1-1 beat Christian Campos 3-2,Cody Melendez’s 2-3 and Tucker Larrieu’s 4-4.
THOSE FUSSY OLD GUYS IN THEIR LOW FLYING MACHINES
This rut claimed a lot of riders at the race…including MXA’s John Basher who got up to go 7-2 for the day. Photo: Mark Chilson
Over-50 Expert: Steve Lawler won both motos over Randel Fout (2-2) and Dave Eropkin (4-4). The most interesting battle in the Over-50 Experts was when lone Open Expert Paul Krause moved up through the old guys and gave chase to Lawler. In the first moto, Krause got close?only to fall in a deep rut (a rut that got about 15 people in the course of the day). In the second moto, Krause motored up to Lawler and got by. It didn’t change Lawler’s outcome, but made Krause feel better.
Mike Monaghan flies his Husky CR144 to an easy victory in the Over-50 Intermediate class. Photo: Ernie Becker
Over-50 Intermediate: This was the biggest class of the day, but the big surprise came when former Pro Circuit Husqvarna rider came from the back to win both motos on a…you guessed it…2012 Husqvarna CR144. Monaghan went 1-1 in front of Randy Skinner’s 3-2, George Kohler’s 2-3 and Marc Crosby’s 5-4 (Crosby came to REM to test the effects of last week’s big crash, but felt good enough to race).
Over-50 Novice: Almost as big as the Over-50 Intermediates, the Big-Five-Oh Novices were led by a top five of Jim Masters (1-1), Mike Hillion (3-2), Brian Underdahl (5-3), Kenny Kopecky (6-4) and Paul Crouch (2-9).
MXA’s Jody Weisel (92) pulls away from Dave Rabjohn (143). It was enough to break a tie for third. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Over-60 Expert: Most local race tracks barely have Over-50 racers, so the fact that REM Glen Helen can put a decent number of Social Security escapees on the track at the same time, week after week, is a testament to how many SoCal motorcycle industry guys don’t have anything better to do with their golden years. Lyle Sweeter took the win with a 1-1 in front of Ray Pisarski (2-2) and Jody Weisel (5-3). Jack McCormick was fourth (3-5) in front of Dave Rabjohn (6-4), Bengt Johansson (7-6) and Bill Seifert (7-6).
How close are you willing to cut it? Dennis Stapleton leaves a few millimeters between his bike and the cliff (casting a shadow on the cliff face). Photo: Ernie Becker
Over-40 Novice: Pasha Afshar used a very weird 1-5 to take the victory, but only because second moto winner Jon Lyles went 6-1. No other winner at REM scored six points to win, but it was Pasha’s lucky day. Joe Sutter was third with a 4-3.
85 class: Cole Tompkins defeated James De Armon, Dane McCants, Zachary Boskovich and Zach Walker to to take the 85 Intermediates, while Nathan Hamlins won the Experts, Brian Pintar the Novices and Alexander Ruesga the Beginners.
Lee Witt came down from Northern California to experience the joy of hitting REM’s bumps. Lots of National riders like to race at REM because the motos are long and track is very rough. Photo: Dan Alamangos
REM races again next Saturday, June 1. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com