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Photos by Jon Ortner and Dan Alamangos
REM motocross racers are different from the modern breed of motocross racers in three ways: (1) They are incredibly loyal to their race organization and to each other. The typical REM race is more like a Love-In than a dog-eat-dog competiton (until they are on the track). (2) As a group, they race more motocross races per year than anyone in the country. When you count the 40 REM races a year, plus World Vet, World Two-Stroke and the Un-Races, REM motocrossers only have about 10 weekends off a year. (3) Only REM motocross racers would show up at a race that was canceled, water the track themselves, talk the Cat guy into fixing a few things and hold their own impromptu races. They called it the “Un-Race,” because it was just a typical practice day, but held on days when REM thinks the weather is too bad to hold a race.
SoCal weather over the short winter season has been disastrous. Week after week it has rained so much that REM has been forced to cancel all but one race in December and one race in January—when it would normally have held four or five races. This weekend, it didn’t rain! So, you would think that there would be an REM motocross at Glen Helen Raceway Park. Not so! High winds, predicted to be gusting at 50 mph, forced REM to err on the side of caution and cancel this week’s race also—given the hilly nature of the REM track and the negative effects of a crosswind on a bike teetering on the edge of a cliff, it was probably a wise decision.
But, immediately after REM canceled the race, the jungle drums started beating about holding an “Un-Race.” The track had been prepped and the consensus was “How bad could the wind really be?” Six MXA test riders volunteered to get to Glen Helen early and start dragging fire hoses around to water the complete track. By 9:00 a.m., they had finished putting the finishing touches on a pretty sweet track. Yes, the wind was blowing, but the gusts were only about 25 mph—and the prevailing wind on the REM track is straight from the front or directly from behind. Thus, the wind was not a major factor, other than shortening the distance you could jump going into it and lengthening the distance with the wind.
How do you organize an “Un-Race?” By word of mouth over the course of about two hours. On the night before the Un-Race, Randel Fout called Jody Weisel and said, “Let’s go anyway.” Jody emailed the rest of MXA guys, who called their friends and the rest is history. Obviously there were more than a few REM motocrossers who were left out of the loop because nobody emailed them, they had made other plans or were afraid that the weather reports were 100% accurate. The prize rarely goes to the timid. The riders that scoffed at the Channel 7 weatherman, were the ones that got to ride.
REM racers who came to the Un-Race owe thanks to Randy Skinner, Bob Rutten, Dan Alamangos, Josh Fout, Marc Crosby, Robert Pocius, Randel Fout, Chris Alamangos, Jody Weisel and others for manning the fire hoses during the day. These hard-working racers made it possible for others to be able to ride on a day when it wasn’t considered possible. It should be noted that the Un-Race was not affiliated with REM in anyway, apart from the fact that it was on their track and every rider was an REM racer. Glen Helen’s General Manager, Lori Wilson, was gracious enough to let this merry band of pranksters have the track and even sent Cat operator John Allen over to make sure that everything was good to go. Everyone hopes that there won’t be any more Un-Races in the future. We want the rain and wind to stop, at least on races days, and for REM to get back to its regular schedule—which includes a race every weekend in February
For more info about REM motocross go to www.remsatmx.com