BIG CROWD, LONG LAPS, HIGH SPEEDS & BIG BUMPS AT THE 2019 FXR-SPONSORED REM OCTOBERCROSS
In the art world this photo of R.J. Wagemen racing to second overall in the Open Pro class at the 2019 Octobercross would be called “Chiaroscuro.” Whatever you call it, it is a beautiful photo (click on it to make it bigger). Photo: Debbi Tamietti
PHOTOS BY DEBBI TAMIETTI, JODY WEISEL & DAN ALAMANGOS
As Glen Helen began building an all-new racetrack for the 2019 FXR Octobercross, which would be the first test of the 2019 Dubya USA World Vet Motocross Championship layout, there were lots of challenges—not the least of which was the Santa Ana winds. These winds blow from the East, off the desert, over the mountains and down into the Los Angeles Basin. They can blow as high as 75 mph. They typically range between 25 to 40 mph and push 95 degree heat all the way to the Pacific Ocean. During major Santa Ana conditions the temperature at the beach is actually hotter than the temperature inland.
This section of hillside has never been used as part of the track. MXA’s Dennis Stapleton (84) can attest to how rough it got. Dennis was 6th overall in the Pro class and won the Vet Pro class with a 1-1. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Worst of all, the Santa Ana winds bring out the fire bugs, arsonist and, mostly egregiously, an inept electric company. Between the arsonists, careless homeless encampments and poorly maintained electric lines, the Santa Ana’s have the possibility of burning all of SoCal to the ground. And that is what it looked like in the days leading up to the FXR Octobercross.
You can’t appreciate how steep Mount St. Helen is until you come down it at speed. Here, Trevor Stewart (75) leads with Jeff Loop (29), Justin Muscutt (X) and Josh Mosiman (96) heading for the three different lines at the bottom. Photo: Dan Alamangos
First, the power company turned off the electricity to large portion of the state of California this past week, including Glen Helen. They left hundreds of thousands of people without electrical power—because if you don’t generate power you can’t be blamed for starting fires. Second, Riverside County asked Glen Helen not to use any water, because they wanted to save the water in all of the giant water tanks to fight any possible flare up. Third, because Glen Helen is at the base of a 2000-foot high canyon, the wind blows especially hard there. No electricity, no water and winds gusting up to 50 mph made track prep difficult. The power and water were turn off on Wednesday night and stayed off until the wind calmed down on Friday night.
With the heat, dry conditions, 2% humidity and high winds, the soil was bone dry, but as soon as the water was turned on, the track crew began watering. They watered enough to get the track good before Saturday’s first practice and much better as the day went on. If you wonder what the track would have looked like if the electric company had not turned the power on or the County not released the water, take a look at MXA’s 2020 450 Shootout video on YouTube because the same restrictions applied when that video was shot (Click Here to watch it). The track looked like Saddleback Park late on a Sunday afternoon in July of 1984.
MXA’s Josh Mosiman (96) fell in the first moto. He got up in 19th place and passed 14 riders to get to 5th at the flag. After taking over the lead from MXA teammate Dennis Stapleton in moto two, he battled with Trevor Stewart for the win. Josh’s 5-2 gave him third overall, a piece of the purse and one of those cool Octobercross trophies. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
But all is good with the world. The winds stopped, the electric company’s neglect of their equipment was forgotten in the name of public safety and the all-new track was classic Glen Helen—big, tall, rough and fast. Did we say rough? Well, we should say it again, along with a mention of lap times at the three-minute mark. You had to be there…just not there on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday before the race.
Hawaiian Pro Brian Medeiros (934) wants to race the 450 Nationals in 2020, but after spending a couple months on MXA’s 2020 Husqvarna FC450, Husqvarna’s Andy Jefferson suggested that the 130-pound rider switch to a Husky FC350—Brian went 9-9 in his first outing. Photo: Jody Weisel
This corner is called the “Velodrome” because this 180-degree corner is insanely banked like a bicycle racing track. There is room to pass for the brave and one of the two number 58s, perhaps both of them, are just about to make a pass. Photo: Jody Weisel
Pete Murray was the 2000 Over-40 World Vet Champion. Twelve years later, he won the 2012 Over-50 World Championship. Guess what? Pete just turned 60 and has his sights set on being the Over-60 World Champion. At the Octobercross, Pete won every moto in the Over-50 Elite and Over-60 Expert classes. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
1986 Japanese 125 National Champion Isao Ida wants to win the World Vet Championship. He has been trying for years, only to come painfully close, but no cigar. He was 3rd in the Over-60 Expert class at the Octobercross behind Pete Murray and Will Harper. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Swedish Grand Prix racer Lars Larsson (45) flew in from Sweden for the Octobercross this past week and the World Vet Championship next week. Lars was mounted on MXA’s 2020 Husqvarna TX300i fuel-injected two-stroke. Lars was the first factory Husqvarna rider to move to America in 1967 to demonstrate the brand to American teenagers. Oh yeah, he’s still racing at 78 years old. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Team Spain’s World Cup rider Kim Sunol came to California a week early to get in some practice before the World Vet Championship. He went 4-2 for second overall in the Over-50 Intermediates. Note the red Jett boots — everything else he borrowed from MXA’s Jody Weisel including the 2020 KTM 350SXF. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Rich Truchinski (95) might have won the Over-50 Expert class if he hadn’t suffered a transponder failure. What happened to it? He forgot to put it on his bike for the first moto (he was docked a few places for his mistake). His 7-2 was good enough for 5th. That’s Greg Pierce (416) chasing Rich. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Josh Fout (91) blasts MXA’s 2020 KX450 out of the sandy turn. Josh raced two classes on Saturday, went to the hospital after his last moto to check on his dad Randel, who crashed in practice, then drove back to Glen Helen to sleep in his van so he could race the SRA GP on Sunday, before going back to the hospital to see if he could break his dad out (from a broken wrist and pelvic fracture). Photo: Debbi Tamietti
REMAINING 2019 REM RACE SCHEDULE
Nov.1-3 …Glen Helen (World Vet Championship)
Nov. 16…Glen Helen
Nov. 23…Glen Helen
Dec. 14…Glen Helen
Dec. 21…Glen Helen