Luther French’s arch-rival in the Over-50 Elite class, Jon Ortner, was trapped at is home in Santa Barbara after a mud slide in Montecito closed the Pacific Coast Highway (and sadly killed many people). The only way out of Santa Barbara would have been a 400-mile round-trip for Ortner. Luther easily won his class. Photo: Mark Chilson (Click on images to enlarge)

No one races as much of the REM motocross folks. In 2018 REM will hold 34 races—and would hold more but they have to give up weekends for the WORCs Series, Lucas Oil Offroad Truck Series, World Two-Stroke Championship, Prairie Dawgs GP, 6 Hours/10 hours/ 24 Hours of Glen Helen, World Vet Championship, Day in the Dirt and AMA 250/450 National.

It had rained very hard during the days leading up this week’s REM race, as you can tell by the volcanic looking mud piled into berms on the track. South African Alan Jullien (70) never noticed them. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

This week was round 1 of 34—and already the REM regulars are Jonesing because there are only 33 races left in the year. They want more. This week’s race came on the heels of a giant rainstorm that wreaked havoc all across the fire-scorched mountains above the SoCal landscape. With all of the brush and trees burned away, the 3 inches of rain cause massive mud slides from Santa Barbara to Corona. It was a terrible tragedy for people who’s houses, and lives, were washed away by a 2:00 a.m. wall of mud that swept into Montecito (a hilly town just south of Santa Barabra) as they slept.

The battle between Australian Dan Alamangos (192) and Pasha Afshar (L7) was awe inspiring as the Aussie never gave Pasha any breathing room in the Over-50 Expert class. Pasha blocked every attempt until Alamangos took a line through the mud that every other rider had avoided. It worked. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

But the rain, which was a disaster, was tempered by the fact that the parched, drought-ridden SoCal earth needed water. And that included the local racetracks, that hadn’t seen measurable rain in months. So, as the REM motocross racers pulled into Glen Helen, they were greeted with dirt conditions that didn’t need much tractor work to make them perfect. Plus. the temperatures were a warm 80 degrees—which were made a little chillier by a persistent breeze that blew out of the north. All in all, a perfect day for racing.

What follows is a photo essay of what REM Glen Helen looked like this past weekend.

Val Tamietti is the new REM number one rider for 2018. Some prankster taped over the 31 on his jersey to make it a 1. Traditionally, over the 25 years that REM number ones have been awarded, the winners rarely drop their old number to race with the “1.” Photo: Rick Stuelke

Swedish Grand Prix pioneer Lars Larsson (62) won the first moto of the Over-65 Intermediate class by making a last corner pass on overall winner Tony Parsons. Parsons went 2-1 to beat the 77-year-old AMA Hall of Famer’s 1-2 moto scores. That is Eric Carr (38) behind Lars. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Robert Reisinger (96) lays on the bars to get the front end of his Husky FC350 down before heading up the next hill. Joe Sutter (111) starts his turn earlier Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Timo Huber (51) went 2-3 in the 450 Novices. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Hollywood Stuntman Mark Donaldson’s rear wheel gently kisses the ground on his way to 7th in the Over-60 Expert class (there were 23 racers over 60 years old on the gate at REM on Saturday). Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Glenn Pietronico (262) and Andy Stix (22) jockey for position in the Over-50 Intermediate class. Pietronico ended up 5th, while Stix was 11th. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Chris Gibeault (391) sails by the scoring tower on his way to second in the 250 Beginner class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Josh Fout (33) was assigned to test the 2018 Yamaha YZ250 and the 2018 KTM 250SX. It was an all two-stroke day for the Big Bear rider. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

D.R. Clement (7D) and Marc Crosby (42) come flying back into the stadium section of the REM motocross track. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Randy Skinner was moved back up to the Over-50 Expert class this week—he had moved down after suffering a terrible crash two years ago. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee getting ready for this race and settled for an 8-8 day. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

MXA’s Randel Fout raced one moto with Ohlins suspension and one moto with stock suspension. Guess which one he preferred on the Husqvarna FC450? Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Zach Randolph won the 450 Novice class with a 1-1. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Bill Seifert has had two shoulders operations—amazingly caused by separate crashes in the exact same corner. To say that he took that corner easy this week is an understatement. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Willy Simons, Jr. is back after a few month off with a serious ACL injury Photo: Debbi Tamietti


Sean Lipanovich styled for awhile out front in the 450 Pro race. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

There is no need to sit down in a corner with a three-foot-high berm. Photo: Mark Chilson

And if there isn’t a berm to work with, just pitch your bike in and let it slide. Photo: Debbi Tamietti


Dave Eropkin and wife Jenny trying to make Glen Helen look cold on a sunny, but windy, 80-degree day. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Val Tamietti and Marc Crosby during their track walk. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

In what must have been a practical joke, someone replaced Willy Simons, Jr’s dog with a pig while he was walking to the riders meeting. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Jody Weisel is working his way back into racing after breaking his arm in two places by wearing his goggles this week, next week he’ll wear his gloves, then in two weeks his boots. If all goes well he’ll be fully dressed in a month. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

Joe Sutter, Pasha Afshar and Gene Boere share the accumulated wisdom of 150 years—but none of it is about motocross. Photo: Denni Tamietti

Former AMA Pro Willy Simon, Sr. gets a hug from Val Tamietti. Photo: Debbi Tamietti

REM races every Saturday in January and on February 3rd. For more info go to


Click on images to enlarge

Photos by Mark Chilson, Rich Stuelke and Debbi Tamietti

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