Click on images to make them larger
Every year REM’s Frank Thomason offers the Pro class (and selected Intermediate classes) the chance to race 30 minute plus 2 lap motos in the month leading up to the start of the AMA National series. Frank does this to help AMA privateers and those factory riders who are interested in testing their outdoor set-ups get a chance to race full-length National motos. Although 30+2 would be a long moto in any arena, at REM its not that much of a stretch since all the other classes already race 20-minute motos.
But, with the bright lights of Las Vegas beckoning all available AMA 250 East, 250 West and 450 riders to bask in its warm glow—this week’s REM field had to rely on WORCS racer Justin Jones, former Vance & Hines rider Preston Tilford, Arizona’s Ed Foedish, Washington’s Kele Russell, Swede Kristoffer Palm, wily National veteran Tony Amaradio and a handful of other aspiring Pros.
Justin Jones, whose father is four-time 250 National Champion and AMA Hall of Famer Gary Jones, waxed the field by healthy margins in both 450 Pro motos. From the drop of the gate Jones was pulling away and the longer the motos wore on the bigger his margin. Tilford was second overall with Foedish third.
Kele Russell went 1-1 in the 250 Pro class with Tanner Taylor second (2-2) and Kris Palm third (3-3).
The real fireworks weren’t in the Pro ranks, but in the 250 Intermediate class, which started in the second gate behind the Pros (and thus had to do 30+2 also). During most of both 250 Intermediate motos it was a five-man freight train with R. J. Wageman (1-1) eventually getting the upper hand on Trevor Stewart (2-2), Tyler Hoeft (3-3), Robbie Wageman (4-4) and Willy Simons, Jr. (5-5). Meanwhile, Deegan Von Lossberg, Cody Brownfield and Nathan Cernicky had their own separate battle adrift from the front five.
THE BIGGEST CLASSES OF THE DAY
No surprises here. The biggest classes of the day were the Over-50 Novices, Over-40 Intermediates, Over-60 Experts, Over-50 Intermediates and Over-50 Experts (in that order). REM has become the refuge for the last remaining Saddleback, Indian Dunes and Escape Country heroes of three decades ago. These are experienced racer with an amazing desire to keep on racing.
Over-50 Novice: Bill Reimer’s 1-1 took the day as Mike Hillion, Robert Pocius and Ty Larson tied on points for second (with the nod going to Hillion over Pocius and Larson). John Caper was fifth with a 5-5.
Over-40 Intermediates: This class was super competitive as several Over-50 Experts decided that racing two long motos on a 100-degree day in their normal class wasn’t taxing enough—so they decided to race a second class. Ron Shuler’s 1-2 took the victory over Scott Lindley’s 2-3 and Jon Lyles’ 6-1. Five-oh racers Will Harper (3-5) and Val Tamietti (4-7) rounded out the top five.
Over-60 Experts: If you have been around long enough, you would recognize most of these riders from Saddleback in the 1970s. Obviously, these aren’t newcomers to the sport, but it seems inconceivable that this many riders born before 1954 could still be racing motocross. And, maybe in the rest of the world there aren’t a lot of these hard men left, but at REM they are the third largest class. Jim Latendresse won both motos. George Kohler, who is moving to Carson City, Nevada, in a couple weeks, was racing his second-to-last REM race (after winning the Glen Helen number one plate three times as a younger man). George went 3-3 for second overall. Carl Gazafy (5-2), Ken Ehlers (2-5), Mike Marion (4-4), Mic Rodgers (6-6), Tom White (8-7), Jody Weisel (9-8), Tony Parsons (13-9) and Dave Rabjohn (12-10) rounded out the top ten.
There was even an Over-60 Novice class which was won by Sal Squeo (1-1) over Nick Costello (2-2), Rich Stuelke (4-3) and Earl Shuler (3-6).
Over-50 Intermediates: Being an Over-50 Intermediate at REM is a touchy thing—because REM has two faster Over-50 classes (Elite and Expert). The significance of this is that any Intermediate who goes on a winning streak can easily be moved up into the Experts in the blink of an eye (it is much harder to get moved up to the Over-50 Elite class because it is populated by former AMA National riders with blazing speed and killer instincts). Robbie Carpenter’s 2-1 took this week’s victory in front of a top ten of Shy Moshe, C.T. Falk, Shawn Heit, Todd Wiseman, Jeff Mason, Terry Varner, Greg Groom, Jeff Scott and Mike Phillips.
Over-50 Experts: Don’t confuse the Over-50 Experts with the Over-50 Elites. This week’s Elite class was a duel between 1980’s Indian Dunes racers Jon Ortner (1-1) and Willy Simon (2-2). The Experts are a notch below the Elite’s speed. Dave Eropkin, no slouch himself as Pro back in the day, used a 1-2 to defeat Indian Dunes’ Will Harper (4-1), New York native Phil Dowell (3-4), Speedway racer Randy Skinner (5-3), former CMC number one Val Tamietti (2-7), former Pro Circuit Husqvarna rider Mike Monaghan (6-5), Scotty Walker (9-6), Lightspeed’s Willie Amaradio (7-8), Mark Hall (8-9) and Joe Pena (10-10).
THE YOUNGER SET
Mitchell Falk easily won the 85 Expert class in front of Jack Ward. The 85 Intermediates fell to Cade Matherly with Jeremy Malirose second. In the 85 Beginner class Alexandra Ruesga used a 1-1 to defeat Cooper Davis (2-2) and Kameryn Kaiser (3-3). The 65 Beginner class saw R.J. Warda’s 2-1 take the prize over the 1-3 of Garrett Briggs, 3-2 of Mikayla Nielson, 4-4 of Zac Roessler and 5-5 of Tyler Warda.
REM races again net Saturday, May 10, for the last of the 30+2 races. After the May 10th race REM will take two weeks off (one week because Glen helen will be closed on the weekend of May 17-18 for National prep and on May 24 for the AMA national). REM returns on May 31. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com