REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS RACE REPORT: GARETH SWANEPOEL BREAKS JOSH STRANG’S WIN STREAK
Gareth Swanepoel took his Star Racing Yamaha to the front of the 450 Pro class in both motos…he won the 450 class on a YZ250F.
GNCC Champion Josh Strang has run rampant over the 450 Pro class at Glen Helen’s REM motocross for the last month. With long 30-minute motos, Strang’s cross-country experience has put him in good stead on REM’s square-edge bumps.
Not anymore! South African Star Yamaha rider Gareth Swanepoel was able to stop the Strang-lehold at Glen Helen with two brilliant rides. Choosing to race his Star Yamaha YZ250F in the 450 Pro class, Swanepoel got decent starts and ran down the faster starting Josh Strang and Swedish National Champion Fredrik Noren. Swanepoel even had time for his exhaust pipe to break in the first moto and still hold on for the win.
Josh Strang has been racing at REM to get his speed and quickness up for the GNCC title chase, so he wasn’t upset when Swanepoel and the two Swedes gave him all he could asked for in terms of competition.
Swanepoel was the class of the field, but the two Swedish riders, Fredrik Noren and Calle Aspegren, finally showed that their hard work over the winter was paying off. Noren led the second moto for the majority of the way before Swanepoel and Strang got him. He held on for a 4-3 day for third overall. Aspegren got fourth overall with a 3-5 (and came from the back of the pack to get his second moto fifth).
Kyle Chisholm deserves credit for choosing to race to get in shape to race?most AMA Pros duck local competition (preferring to practice instead of race). Chisholm is just getting over his Supercross injuries and showed that he has heart.
The REM crowd was impressed with the ride of Kyle Chisholm. Chisholm was seriously injured during the Supercross season and has only been riding for a week. He made a brave decision to come to REM?because it is not an easy track to master and has a fast group of 450 Pros. Chisholm didn’t win?he went 5-4 for fifth overall, but a lesser man would have gone to a practice track to spin less brutal laps rather than submit himself to two 30-minute motos at a breakneck pace.
MXA’s Dennis Stapleton didn’t have time to stop and smell the flowers.
After Chisholm came a top ten of Joey Webb, Broc Armbruster, T.J. Caldwell, MXA‘s Dennis Stapleton and Travis Coy.
Bryce Valle won the 250 Pro class. Here, he passes 250 Intermediate winner Donald Alford (101). The 250 intermediates were the lucky group that was paired with the Pro classes for the 30-minute motos.
The 250 Pro class was easy picking for Bryce Vallee, who went 1-1. With only four riders in the 250 Pro class, second and third went to Sara Price (3-2) and Mariana Balbi (2-3). They were helped when Billy Musgrave’s KTM 150SX blew up, while in front of them. Price, Balbi and Kaci Martinez came to test themselves in the 30-minute motos?they did as Price and Balbi were still gunning it on the last lap as they ran together in close formation.
THE BIGGEST CLASS OF THE DAY
Dirt Bike Magazine editor Ron Lawson leads Brian Allen in the Over-50 Expert class. Lawson would go 6-4 for fourth, while Allen was eighth.
No one knows what drives Over-50 Expert riders to come to REM, but they flock there in large numbers. Not only is the Over-50 Expert class the biggest class every weekend at REM, but it is also the hardest class to win. Rarely does an Over-50 Expert winner repeat the next week…or sometimes not for the rest of the of REM’s 40-race-long season.
And this week..there was a first-time winner in the class. Greg Fountain made his maiden voyage in the Over-50 Expert class a success by going 2-1 to beat Dave Eropkin (1-2) for the laurels. Eropkin was the winner from two weeks ago. Randy Skinner (3-3) was third, Ron Lawson (6-4) was fourth and Mike Monaghan (9-5) was fifth.
Willie Amaradio (5-9) was sixth (Amaradio thought that the second moto start was going to be called back when last week’s winner Greg Nelson jumped the gate, so he sat on the line?until he realized that the race had started without him. In the end, Nelson was penalized a lap for his misdeed). Dennis Boulware (10-6) was seventh, Brian Allen (8-8) eighth, former Baja Champion Bob Rutten (11-7) ninth and George Kohler (12-10) tenth.
THE NOVICES & INTERMEDIATES
This is a weird juxtaposition of riders and generations. Sports car racer Ernie Becker (96), AMA Hall of Famer Feets Minert (45) and industry exec Mitch Evans (4) represent riders born in the 1970s (Becker), 1960s (Evans) and, dare we say it, 1930s (Minert).
250 Novice: Cameron Bongers went 1-1 to defeat Braden Larson and Leigh Bongers.
450 Novice: Dylan Anderson was perfect in front of a top three of Cory Aguilar and Ryan Edwards.
Rick Richards banks it off the wall.
Vet Novice: Rick Richards went 1-1 to take the Vet Novice class with Tim Warden second and Pete Vetrano third.
85 Novice: Dane McCants used a 1-1 to defeat Matt Maroney (2-2), Carley Pena (3-3) and Clay Kirksey (4-4).
Over-40 Novice: Mark Romero’s perfect moto scores makes him next in line to become a member in good standing of the Over-40 Intermediate class. Ernie Becker was second with a 3-2, while Mike Hillion was third.
Tom White (80) and Jim O’Neal split moto wins in the Over-60 Expert class (with the victory going to O’Neal’s second moto win). Tom was the founder of the White Brothers, while Jim owns O’Neal Racing.
Over-50 Novice: Mitch Evans and Craig Johnston traded moto wins, but Evans’ 2-1 beat Johnston’s 1-4. Kent Reed was third with a 5-2.
250 Intermediate: Donald Alford’s 2-1 took the prize from Clint Cravens’ 1-2.
450 Intermediate: Donald Alford came back to win the 450 class over a top five of Brandon Peterson, Alistar Lewis, Cody Brownfield and John Minert.
Over-40 Intermediate: Ron Shuler’s 3-1 best Bryan Friday’s 2-2 and Dan Alamangos 4-3.
Over-50 Intermediate: Rob Collins and Mark Donaldson might as well have driven home together after two motos of side-by-side racing. They stuck to each other like glue, but Collins second moto pass for the lead was enough to break their 1-2 and 2-1 tie.
Willy Musgrave was one of several MXA test riders to race the 2011 TM MX300 two-stroke this weekend.
REM is off for two weeks for the USGP break, but will be back on Saturday May 21 (when they will race on the USGP track…instead of the REM track). May 21 is a big day at Glen Helen. There will be a Lucas Offroad Truck Championship race on Glen Helen’s offroad truck track (which will take up most of the Pro pits). There will be a Pro Hillclimb up the hills next to the REM starting line. And, REM will race on the USGP track. Take note: REM riders will have to enter the track off of Glen Helen Parkway and drive through the Regional Park (Blockbuster Pavilion, US Festival and Hyundai Pavilion) to get to the racetrack?since the front gate will be clogged with offroad truck and hillclimb fans.
For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos