By Ernie Becker
If you grew up racing motocross in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s… that’s what you did, you raced every weekend as a teenager. There were no professional practice riders back then, just guys who raced and guys who rode trails.
For the Saddleback, Mosier Valley, Washougal, Indian Dunes crowd–you raced every weekend and you became a racer because you wanted to be the best, you wanted to win, you wanted to hang with your friends and you wanted to be challenged.
A lot of the racing spirit of the old days is gone. But it lives on at Glen Helen’s REM races. It is a unique mix of young and old; aspiring AMA Pros, former stars, 50-year-olds reliving their childhoods; old school tracks that put the focus on riding skill versus jumping every 50 feet; And the roughest track West of the Pecos. You may think your track has bumps, but the REM Octobercross track was AMA National rough.
Frank and Myra Thomason run the weekly REM motocross races and hold the Octobercross every year. It is held the week before the Dubya World Vet Championship as a way to test the track one week before 1000 riders show up from around the globe. The Octobercross race is special and it is packed with full gates, a long line to get in and lots of star talent –many from the glorious Saddleback, Mosier Valley, Washougal, Indian Dunes. Plus, many riders come from Europe, South America, Asia, Canada and the 50 states to sneak in one practice race before the big Vet weekend.
The REM Octobercross track was brutal, and as it goes in the world of test races, it will be toned down for this coming weekend. But for those who were at Octobercross, they will always be able to say the raced one of the roughest tracks ever used at the local level.
WHO WAS RACING AT THE OCOTOBERCROSS RACE?
Ex-Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki factory rider and now Maxima Oils very own, Ron Lechien was there to get some seat time before the Dubya World Vet MX Championships.
Former 1880’s AMA National Pro riders Pete Murray, Kevin Foley and Jon Ortner were also out dialing in their bikes for next weekend’s big race. Murray a die-hard YZ250F rider is switching to a YS450F for the big race,
80’s CMC #1 plate holder Val Tamietti was getting in some throttle time in the 60 Expert Class.
Japan’s Isao Ida, AMA National Champ Chuck Sun, New Zealand’s Tony Cooksey, Sweden’s Jan Oxelmark, Baja star Bob Rutten, AMA Hall of Fame Lars Larsson and an amazing band of men in their 60’s and even 70’s took to the track.
Young AMA Pro riders always show up at the Octobercross because it is the best possible chance to test themselves before the AMA National series rolls into Glen Helen in May.
Industry heavy hitters Robert Reisinger (6D Helmets) and Bob Rutten (AME Grips) were also out there pounding laps getting ready for the Dubya World Vet MX Championships. Also in attendance was Rich Taylor and his son Zac (EKS Brand Goggles). Both were out there to support the brand at the Octobercross event.
Spain’s Doctor to the Stars, Joaquim Sunol was also out testing his moto skills in the Over-50 class. While on a Southern California vacation (well that’s what his wife thinks they are doing). Sunol got to flex his plastic surgeon credentials by playing doctor at the race. He removed stitches from Dennis Stapleton’s ankle (when he saw Dennis show up with fingernail clippers and needle nose pliers to do it himself).
And later, after the biggest pileup in a REM history, “The Real Doctor” spent the night at the hospital keeping Jody Weisel’s broken left arm company. After 12 hours in the Loma Linda hospital waiting room, Jody, the doctor and his broken arm went to another hospital, where the fracture got cast 23 hours after it was broken. Oh yeah, Jody wants to apologize to the 16 riders behind him who got knocked down when he ran out of talent on the top of Mt. Saint Helen. And of course, he wants to thank Dr. Sunol for spending over 16 hours in waiting rooms with him over two days.
Next weekend is the 2017 Dubya World Vet Motocross Championships.
Photos by Debbi Tamietti, Dan Alamangos, Rich Stuelke and Jon Ortner.