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Photos by Dan Alamangos, Mark Chilson, Rich Stuelke and Debbi Tamietti
Every group of motocross racers needs to track to call their own. In SoCal, this is made a harder by the fact that there are ten different tracks to choose from. But, for a large chunk of the hardcore motocross racers in Southern California, REM is their number one pick.
There are lots of reasons for this—not the least of which is that REM has a unique clientele. Here are some facts:
(1) It is down-home motocross that is very much like the sport was back in the good old days. There are very few rules, a casual atmosphere in the pits, an amazing number of racers who have history going back 10, 20, 30 or more years and a racetrack that is challenging without being a clone of a Supercross track.
(2) Glen Helen has two motocross track (it also has two Supercross tracks, a Lucas Oil Offroad Truck track, minicycle track and hundreds of acres for cross-country races). The REM track is isolated above the much more famous USGP/AMA racetrack, but it actually historic in its own right. The REM track is the old Arroyo Cycle Park track from 45 years ago. It was the site of the first-ever 125 National Championship event. The AMA did not have a 125 Championship, so in 1973 Arroyo held one. It was won by Ray Lopez on a Penton with Marty Smith second on a Monark.
(3) Every week at REM is like holding an extra round of the World Vet Championships (instead of just one in November). At this week’s REM races there were 10 riders who finished in the top ten of their classes at the 2016 World Vet Championships.
NOT THE SONS OF GUNS — BUT INDUSTRY GUYS
(4) An amazing 55% of the racers at REM this weekend were over the age of 50 (and 35% of those riders were on KTMs). Overall (in all the classes), 42% of the riders were on KTMs, 28% on Yamahas, 11% on Hondas, 9% on Suzukis, 8% on Huskys and 4% on Kawasakis.
(5) 20 percent of the racers at REM work in the SoCal’s motorcycle industry. They come from the personnel ranks of the motorcycle companies, aftermarket businesses, suspension tuners, distributors, importers and hop-up shops. If you have a problem with your bike at REM, there is always someone there who can fix it or point you to some else who can.
(6) REM has been holding races for 30 years (first at Carlsbad and then Glen Helen), they know everyone on a first-name basis. And while the scorekeepers are friendly, they don’t suffer fools easily. Most REM riders try to toe the straight line — on and off the track. At least if they want to keep racing at Glen Helen.
(7) The best thing about REM is that they don’t dawdle around. They fill the gates, and start every race with two waves. Even though the motos are long, they get done with the race program by 2:00 p.m. every Saturday. They know that their racers want to get home and work on their bikes for the next day, or maybe spend some quality weekend time with their families. REM moves fast, but doesn’t cut laps.
(8) REM has a strong following with foreign riders and its not unusual to find the gates filled with Swedes, Australians or Brits during their vacation time. It is also where lots of factory riders come after healing up from an injury to get a tuned up before heading back to the Supercross or National series. This week there were racers from Sweden, Australia, South Africa, England and Holland on the starting lines.
THE RACES & RACERS
(9) You probably have a bigger chance of having your photo run at REM than any other track in SoCal. Why? Photographers Dan Alamangos, Mark Chilson, Rich Stuelke and Debbi Tamietti love to shoot photos, and when they aren’t shooting (because their race is on the track), they aren’t afraid to hand their camera to a friend (with 2 minutes of instructions) and have them shoot additional photos. MXA’s website gets 50,000 page views a day—so having your photo in this race report is seen world-wide.
(10) The next time you get the itch to race—without spending 14 hours at the track waiting for the 85 Novice class (division 2) to get done, think about coming to REM. They don’t race every Saturday of the year, but historically have gotten in between 30 to 40 races every year for the last 30 years.
REM races again at Glen Helen next Saturday, March 18. For more information go to www.remsatmx.com