Glen Helen’s REM motocross track is a continuous ribbon of ups and downs. How big are the hills? Note how the riders at the top are little dots, while the riders at the bottom are much larger. That should give you some perspective. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
PHOTOS BY DAN ALAMANGOS, DEBBI TAMIETTI & JON ORTNER
Justin Hoeft was the 450 winner on a Husqvarna FC450 Rockstar Edition. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
It was 105-degrees at Glen Helen this weekend. We know that sounds hot, but we promise you that the zero humidity of a SoCal 105-degrees is no where near as hot as a sticky, humid, 98 degree day in Texas. But, not every racer at this week’s REM motocross has ever raced in Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida or Tennessee, so they don’t have anything to compare it to. 105-degrees anywhere in the world is hot, especially when you are cocooned in boots, knee braces, long socks, nylon pants, gloves, jersey, chest protector, helmet and goggles.
The hardcore REM racers tell the whiners, “You call this hot? Back in 2007 we raced on a 116-degree day. Now that was hot. Not a lot hotter than a 115 degree day, but hotter than 105.”
Robbie Wageman (17) defied the weather gods by wearing all black on a 105-degree day. Luckily, Robbie went fast enough on his way to second overall in the 450 Pro class to stay cool. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
With the TV weathermen telling everybody to avoid physical exercise during the heat streak, every rider at REM ignored their advice and showed up ready to do battle with the competition and the oppressive heat. Luckily, the riders brought awnings, misters, portable fans and as much white gear as they could scrounge up. The smart ones stayed in the pits until the white flag came out for the race before theirs to avoid sitting on the starting line for 20 minutes in the sun. Yes, they got a bad pick at the gate, but those extra minutes in the shade made a big difference on the last two laps of the moto.
Dominic Desimone (565) needs to get down to where the other rider in this photo is, but that is a 15-second gap. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Justin Hoeft won the 450 Pro class with ease. Robbie Wageman chased, made some valiant efforts to run Hoeft down, but Justin, who is preparing to race the Loretta Lynn National on August 15, appeared to be unfazed by the heat. Of course, at the first AMA National he’ll have to account for the humidity and some guys named Tomac, Barcia, Musquin, Wilson and Osborne.
Todd Sibell went 4-4 in the 450 Pro class, but at no point during the race was he invisible in his gear of many colors. Photo: Dan Alamangos
The biggest class of the day, and becoming a regular thing, was the Over-60 Expert class. Perhaps in most states a local race would have trouble drawing 32 riders over the age of 60 to a local race, but it is no problem at REM. With so many 1970s racers working in the motorcycle industry in SoCal, they have had the opportunity to keep racing over the years and many hot-shots stars from the 1970s and 1980s quit racing to raise families, buy homes and send kids of college, but came back when they fulfilled those goals. Every week, REM’s Over-60 class sees Saddleback, Indian Dunes and Carlsbad guys come back into the fold.
Doug Frankos (710) finally put a notch in his gun when he won his first Over-60 Expert class at REM with a 1-1 over Will Harper’s 3-2. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The top ten in the Over-60 Expert class was Doug Frankos (1-1), Will Harper (3-2), Dave Eropkin (4-3), Randy Skinner (5-5), Mike Monaghan (7-4), Ron Lawson (6-6), Mark Barnes (8-7), Val Tamietti (2-DNF), Greg Groom (9-8) and Pete Vetrano (12-9).
On a triple digit day, the track crew can water all they want, but the riders are bound to find some soft and dusty spots. Here, Will Harper emerges from one. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
It should come as no surprise that the second largest class was for riders over the age of 50. Bryan Friday shook off several years of injury and disappointment to take a popular win with a 2-1 over Chris Palermo’s 1-2. Giovanni Spinali was third with a 3-3, while C.T. Falk, Paul Krause, Val Tamietti, Joe Sutter, Mike Monaghan, Dan Alamangos and Robert Pocius rounded out the top ten.
Dave Eropkin (811) was the REM number one rider in 2019, but that was over a 40-race season. No one knows who will come out on top with 2020’s abbreviated race schedule. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The Over-50 Elite class (for riders considered to be too fast to race with the rest of the Over-50 Experts—even though they are combined on the start with the rest of the Over-50 Experts) was won by Luther French. Jon Ortner went 2-2, but suffered from a horrendous start in the first moto that left him in last place—not the last Elite rider, but last behind all the Elites and the Experts. He went to worked and picked off riders in every corner and finally worked his way up to second overall, but Luther was long gone by then. Ron Shuler went 3-3 . 6D Helmet’s Robert Reisinger was running up front, but he went missing during the first moto and eventually rolled back into sight with a seriously tweaked Husqvarna FC350. His day was done.
Ron Lawson holeshot the first Over-60 Expert moto. He gave it all he had and hung on for a 6-6 day. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Nothing comes easy at Glen Helen’s REM races. You gotta wear your race face throughout the long motos and never let your guard down. Marc Crosby (15) strikes the pose. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Mike Monaghan (36) says he’s not giving up on the trying to win the Over-60 Experts and Over-50 Experts on a KTM 125SX. Mike had to come from behind in all four motos, but managed a 5th in the Over-60s and and 8th in the Over-50 s. It didn’t help that his motos were back-to back. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Mic Rodgers (115) went 2-2 in the Over-65 Expert class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Mitch Evans swept both motos of the Over-65 Intermediate class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Mark Barnes went 8-7 in the Over-60 Expert class for 7th overall. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Chris Hyden (11) won the 450 Novice class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Bryan Friday (43) is on his way to his first win a several years. Bryan has had more surgeries than he can remember—many from his Hollywood stunt work. Bryan had a tough battle with Chris Palermo (77) and Val Tamietti (31), but came out on top od the Over-50 Experts. Ignore Jon Ortner (10), he is an Over-50 Elite rider blasting his way through the slower Over-50 Experts. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Ron Shuler (33) ended the day with a third in the Over-50 Elite class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Pasha Afshar was resplendent in his all-white gear. Even his number plates got caught up in the all-white motif—making him unpopular with the score girls. That is Robert Reisinger (96) closing in. Pasha plans to hold a third “Pasha 125 Open” two-stroke race on September 5 at Glen Helen. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Dan Alamangos (55) was another all-white rider, but he paired it with an all-white Husqvarna for greater effect. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Australian Dan Alamangos raced both of his motos, changed clothes and came out to shoot Mark Taylor navigating a rutted corner. Photo: Jon Ortner
Greg Groom couldn’t find a single place where he could cut the track, so he stayed on course and went 9-8 for ninth overall in the Over-60 Expert class. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Lars Larsson (192) and Jody Weisel engaged in a moto-long duel in the second moto of the Over-65 Expert class. With a combined age of 153 years, these two motocross pioneers are still racing while their high school classmates are sitting in rocking chairs. Photo: Jon Ortner
Val Tamietti (31) was on his way to second overall in the Over-60 Experts when his YZ250 ran out of gas with two laps to go. This is the motocross version of the “walk of shame.” Photo: Jon Ortner
This is not Debbi Tamietti shooting an atomic bomb test at White Sands, New Mexico. Instead it is a California wild fire that broke out in Cherry Valley about 20 miles east of Glen Helen. Photo: Jon Ortner
Pete Vetrano (37) takes a moment to glance at the column of smoke billowing into the air from the Cherry Valley wild fire. Look at the difference in size of the fire from when Pete saw it and and Debbi shot it. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Josh Fout (top) won the Vet Intermediate class on MXA’s 2021 Husqvarna FC450 (last week he raced MXA’s 2021 KX450). Dad Randel (center) is recovering from a broken wrist, that had to be re-broken by his doctors, while young Logan is learning the family trade on a Honda XR50. Photo: Jon Ortner
Preston O’Neal (17) won the 250 Novice class at REM. Preston comes from a long line of racers in the O’Neal clan that include his brother, uncle, father and grandfather. Photo: Jon Ortner
Nick Reisinger (60) has hit a growth spurt that will soon see him switching to bigger bikes. He’s riding more and more like his dad every race—minus the crashing of course. Photo: Jon Ortner
This right-hand uphill corner was a lot steeper than it looks. What made it harder to climb is that the rear wheel of Ralf Schmidt’s TM is buried up to the sprocket. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Mike Carter (50) took the Over-40 Expert win. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Lonnie Paschal went 3-3 for third overall in the Over-50 Intermediate class. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
NEAR MISSES! THE LUCKY DOG CATEGORY
We are pretty sure that this is not the best way to clear a tabletop, but it didn’t stop Stephen Braseny (27) from winning the Over-60 Intermediate class over Phil Cruz and the long-lost Randy Blevins. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Steve Chandler (306) does the rare crossed-up power-slide wheelie — while landing from a jump. Even rarer, Steven managed to get it straight before recording a 3.2 on the Richter Scale. Photo: Jon Ortner
450 Pro Dominic Desimone over-cooked it into the left-hand drop-off at the bottom of Mt. Whitney. He saved it, but it took him 100 feet to stop his Honda from swapping. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Here is a fuzzy photo of Dominic one second later. He is at the bottom of the drop-off with his feet flying off and his bike headed for the infield. Photo: Dan Alamangos
REM will not be racing this coming Saturday, August 8, because of the Glen Helen 10-Hour Endurance race but will return on August 15. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com or Click Here for REM’s Facebook page.
DO YOU RACE AT REM? WANT A PHOTO OF YOU IN ACTION? DEBBI HAS THEM
Last week’s race is up now, but give Debbi a day or two to process this weekend’s REM race photos to her SmugMug account and then browse to your hearts content. You can order digital photos of yourself or friends from her page—for as little a $1.50. To look at this week’s REM race (posted in a couple days) and Debbi’s favorites photos go to www.debbitamietti.smugmug.com