REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS RACE REPORT: JOSH STRANG TAKES A BREAK FROM THE GNCC TO WIN THE 450 PRO CLASS AT GLEN HELEN
Josh Strang?450 Pro winner.
Team Suzuki’s Josh Strang loves motocross. The Australian rider may be the best in the business at long cross-country races, but when given the opportunity he believes that racing motocross is what keeps him sharp for the GNCC Championship.
With REM holding 30-minute motos for the Pros leading up to the USGP and start of the AMA Nationals, Josh came out on a 93-degree Spring day for a chance to test his mettle on the bumpy and hilly REM circuit at Glen Helen (Glen Helen has two motocross tracks, a Lucas Oil offroad truck track, an endurocross course, Pee-Wee track, a private Supercross track?leased by the Pro Circuit team?and 500 acres of trails). The REM track is historic in that it sits on the exact site of the original Arroyo Cycle Park from the 1970s.
Dennis Stapleton?third in the 450 Pro class.
There is no doubt that Strang was the superior player in the 450 Pro class?although he was helped to some degree by a large number of flat tires that hampered the results of his chasers. MXA‘s Dennis Stapleton flew back from the Philippines (a flight that lasted 34 hours and took him all over Asia because of flight cancellations) where he had won the latest round of the Philippine World Cup series and headed straight to REM. Stapleton was running second overall at REM in the first moto when he suffered a flat tire, but thanks to the 30-minute motos and the quick work of his friends he reentered the race a lap down and, in the remaining 20 minutes, manage to work his way back through the tiring field to get fifth by the end.
Dylan McKee?didn’t have a good day in the 450 Pro class.
In the second moto, Scott Noble, who had finished second to Strang in moto one, got a front flat that ended his day.
It was all Strang?all day. For a rider used to three-hour races, Strang had no issues with a measly 30-minute motos and came very close to lapping the field in the second moto?only the jet-lagged Stapleton stayed on the same lap.
In the final 450 Pro results, it was Josh Strang, Joey Webb, Dennis Stapleton, Elia Zinetti and Charles Whittelsey.
THE MARKETING MEN HAD BETTER COME UP WITH A NEW STRATEGY
In the Over-50 Novice class Ray Glover (414) chases Pat Jeffreys (17) up and over an REM hill. Glover would finish second, Jeffreys ninth.
The ad men had better rethink their hip, youthful and young ad campaigns because motocross is, more than ever, becoming an adult sport. When totally up all the riders at REM, over 55 percent were over the age of 30. And even more amazing, over 40 percent were over the age of 40. Why is motocross so popular with riders of the previous generations?because they are the new elite. They have established lives, solid incomes and the time and energy to devote to their hobbies. It is hard for a parent to justify spending $9000 on a toy for his 16-year-old kid, but he doesn’t blink an eye at spending it on himself. Thus, the new power brokers in motocross are the older riders?not the kids that used to be the jewel of the marketing men’s eyes.
When you think about it, a large percentage of the young riders at local races are also the sons of Vet, Over-40 and Over-50 racers. In the 1970s, the chant was to “never trust anyone over 30,” but in motocross more than half of the riders are over the age of 30?and they cast a suspicious glare at young riders.
George Kohler was assigned to race MXA’s 2011 Husqvarna TC449 this weekend. He makes it look small.
Over-50 Expert: The only class bigger than the Over-50 Experts was the Over-40 Intermediates. These two classes were followed in size by the Over-50 Novices and the Vet Beginners. Steve Lawler won both Over-50 Expert motos with LightSpeed’s Willie Amaradio getting second with a 3-2. Dennis Boulware was third, Randy Skinner fourth and Tim Murphy fifth. The battles throughout the field were intense and no where more interesting than the fight for seventh through tenth. Two Italian bikes, a Husqvarna TC449 ridden by George Kohler and a TM MX450Fi ridden by Pete Vetrano, kept the pack interesting as D.R. Clement (on a Suzuki two-stroke), Kohler, Vetrano and Mark Hall each had their chance to take seventh. In the end Kohler and Clement shared identical scores with a 7-8 and an 8-7. Clement got the nod.
Jody Weisel started racing in 1968 and is still at it. “I’m going to keep trying until I get the hang of it,” he said after finishing second overall in the Over-60 Expert class.
Over-60 Expert: Ray Pisarski took the victory with Jody Weisel, T.V. Holmes, Alan Kent and Bill Seifert rounding out the top five. There was some controversy. Under REM rules, if you are starting in the second gate (behind another class) you cannot move onto REM’s concrete starting pad until the first gate leaves. In the second moto, two Over-60 Expert riders violated this rule (and when the gate dropped for the first gate, they were both sitting on clean concrete, while the other riders in their class rolled on to concrete cover with roost). The two riders were penalized a lap because what they did was in violation of the rules?not only because it gave them an advantage over the rest of their class, but because they stole the two best spots on the gate from riders in the first wave. One of the penalized riders said that he didn’t do it, but a quick review of the tape revealed that he did. REM wants riders in every class to be aware that this rule will be enforced with fervor.
Over-40 intermediate: There were six riders vying for the Over-40 Intermediate win. In moto one Bryan Friday took the win with Scott Lindley second, Jeff Jetton third, Ron Shuler fourth, Scott Williams fifth and Tim Harris sixth. Then, in the second moto, Jetton took the win for a 3-1 overall victory, Lindley strung together a consistent 2-2 for second overall, while Shuler, Williams and Harris rounded out the top five. As for Bryan Friday, his first moto win was ruined by a second moto tenth. His 1-10 left him sixth overall.
OTHER NOTABLE WINS
Former minicycle star and AMA Pro Shawn Wynn got a deal to race for TM at the USGP Vet Cup on May 14-15. Shawn won the Over-40 Pro class at REM.
Shawn Wynne won the Over-40 Experts on a TM MX300 two-stroke, Shawn was at REM getting ready for the Vet Cup race at the USGP?which is open to riders over the age of 40.
Craig Johnston won the large Over-50 Novice class with a 1-3 in front of Ray Glover’s 5-1. Kent Reed was third with a 2-4, while Mitch Evans went 7-2 in front of fifth place rider Steve Sussman (4-5).
Gunnar Johnston swept the 250 Novices in front of Brodie Keefe, Jeff Baker, Braden Larson and Johnny Martinez.
Trevor Bell shares several things in common with his famous father?he’s fast and his legs are very long.
Trevor Bell won the 450 Novice class last week and the son of former Supercross Champion Mike Bell moved to the 450 Intermediate class this week. That meant that he not only went from the Novices to the next fastest class, but he also went from 15-minute motos to 30-minute motos. Trevor held up well and took the class win.
MXA’s John Basher won the 450 Novice class (last week he lost to Trevor Bell). Tim Klimko, Mark Taylor, Jake Deavers and Mark Theis filled out the top five.
Jackson Richardson?250 Pro winner.
REM races again next Saturday, April 23. Practice starts at 9:00 a.m. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos