REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS REPORT: TROY LEE, GARY JONES, PETE MURRAY, JODY WEISEL, DENNIS STAPLETON, LEE WITT
Lee Witt won the 450 Pro class and remained the only rider to jump the blind step-up double (even though REM shortened the run at it to discourage anyone else from trying). That is not one of the Wharton brothers flagging. Photo: Mark Chilson
As REM motocross continues to experiment with its all-new motocross track, the riders faced different layouts each week. This week was no different as promoter Frank Thomason tried to eliminate the blind step-up double that Northern California rider Lee Witt was jumping last week (Witt was the only rider to do it). With a shorter run to the jump, most riders thought that clearing the long up-and-over jump was impossible this week, but Witt quickly proved them wrong as he jumped it every time he got a clear run at it.
Dennis Stapleton raced the Vet Pro class, but actually beat all of the 250 and 450 Pros. He had to run Lee Witt down in the second moto, but once clear he pulled away. Stapleton and fellow MXA test rider Sean Kranyak are head for the Philippines for an Asian Championship race (plus Stapleton will be doing some motocross schools while he’s there). Photo: Mark Chilson
To replace the big double, the track had a very tricky step-up double that came at a 90-degree angle to the finish line (and the track fence…protected by a big bank). The first few riders who tried the finish line step-up ran up the bank, but with more tries, they managed to jump the step-up and soft land on top so that they could rail the corner that led down the elevated straight. Although mostly limited to the Pro class, there were a few riders in other classes who could also land gingerly on top ? most notably Pete Murray in the Over-50 Expert class.
Brett Hottel violates the rule about keeping the rubber side down in the 450 Pro class. Photo: Mark Chilson
If it’s good enough for a Pro it must be good enough for an Over-40 Novice. Jon Lyles (232) pulls the exact same Pro move on his way to third overall in the Over-40 Novices. Joe Sutter (111) and Mark Lengner (113) admire Lyles’ form. Photo: Mark Chilson
THE PROS AT REM
With a small pro turnout all of the Pros were combined, which was bad news for the young Pros as a Vet Pro would go on to win the overall. MXA‘s Dennis Stapleton won both Pro motos and even managed to run 450 Pro winner Lee Witt down in the second moto from behind. What Witt gained by jumping the blind double, he lost with line choice and his lead was short-lived. Stapleton went 1-1 in the Vet Pros and Witt went 1-1 in the 450 Pros. Willy Musgrave won the Over-40 Pro class…but was not challenging the 450 Pros like the much younger Stapleton was.
Troy Lee (25) and Pete Murray (2) raced like this all-day in the Over-50 Expert class, until Murray, Lee and Randel Fout got to the same corner at the exact same time…only Murray came out. Troy and Randel weren’t hurt in the crash. Photo: Dan Alamangos
THE BATTLE FOR SUPREMACY
Over-50 Intermediates: There was a full gate of Over-50 Intermediates…and all of them were intent on stopping Mike Monaghan’s win streak. Monaghan was won the last four Over-50 Intermediate races in a row…and he has done it on a different 125cc two-stroke each time. This week Monaghan was mounted a KTM 150SX and came from the back to pass most of the major players in the Over-50 Intermediate class (most of whom are escapees from the Over-50 Expert class ? including Monaghan). Monaghan’s victories may seem as predictable as the sun rising, but he typically catches the leader and makes the pass for the win on the last lap.
Four-time 250 National Champion turned 60 years old recently and came to REM to celebrate his birthday by winning the Over-60 Expert class. And, to put an exclamation point on the day, he came back later to finish second overall in the Over-50 Experts. Gary was doing some test riding for the TM team on a 450. Photo: Mark Chilson
Monaghan went 1-1 and will soon find himself back in the Over-50 Expert class…where a 125 two-stroke is not an unknown commodity. Paul Fitz-Gibbon was second with a 4-2 in front of Randy Skinner’s 2-4. George Kohler got fourth by virtue of a last lap pass on Mark Crosby. Other notables in the Over-50 Intermediates included TM importer Pete Vetrano (tenth), Scott Bell (12th) and Tennessee school principal Mike Taylor (14th).
This is the corner that bit Troy Lee, Randel Fout and Pete Murray. It looks like a simple S-turn up a hill, but it is much steeper than it looks and you enter the lower turn at high-speed from a big downhill. Plus, there is a steep drop-off just over the rise. It is an awesome series of corners because it takes all of your concentration. Photo: Mark Chilson
The aftermath. Troy Lee (left) and Randel Fout (right) went down hard, but both got up…although neither finished the moto. Photo: Mark Chilson
Over-50 Experts: It may seem hard to believe, but the most competitive and fun-to-watch class at REM is the Over-50 Expert class. It has taken on folk hero status as the other racers line the fences to see what will happen next. This week’s race didn’t disappoint as a large group of former AMA Pros lined up for a shot at the pot of gold. Pete Murray took the win with a 1-1 (and he did it on a YZ125 two-stroke). It wasn’t easy as Gary Jones, Steve Lawler, Troy Lee, Dave Eropkin, Willie Amaradio and Randel Fout diced.
Mounted on Yamaha YZ125s Dan Alamangos (33) and Ron Lawson (74) raced their regular age classes, plus Alamangos came back to win the 125 “A” Adult class with 1-2. Lawson had a 2-3, but backed it up with a sixth in the Over-50 Experts. Photo: Mark Chilson
The victory was sealed for Murray when Murray, Troy Lee and Randel Fout rocketed down Mt. Whitney side by side and wedged themselves into the steeply banked 180-degree bowl turn at the bottom. They didn’t all fit, but managed to give each other a little room…until they started out of the hole. Because that had given each other room on the entrance, each rider had a different exit strategy. And those strategies eventually collided about ten feet up the hill. Troy Lee and Randel Fout went down…Pete Murray rode past the mayhem to victory. Gary Jones would go 3-3 for second overall (at 60 years old), while Steve Lawler got a gift as his 7-2 was good enough for third overall.
While Mike Alessi was thanking him on the podium at Mt. Morris, Terry Varner (34) was busy racing at Glen Helen. Varner is leading Ray Glover (414), Brian Underdahl (606), Steve Sussman (127) and Brian Martin (65) in the Over-50 Novice class. Glover would end up fourth, Varner fifth, Underdahl sixth, Martin tenth and Sussman 13th. Photo: Mark Chilson
Over-60 Expert: Third place finisher Jody Weisel summed up what happened in the Over-60 Expert class when he said, “I couldn’t beat Gary Jones when we were 20. I couldn’t beat him when we were 30, or 40 or 50. My plan was to stay on the same lap.” And he did, as Gary Jones went 1-1 in front of Ray Pisarski’s 2-2 and Jody Weisel’s 3-3.
If they had a Krahenbuhl class, these two guys would win. Riding a pair of identical Honda CRF450X’s Brock Krahenbuhl (46) and Boe Krahenbuhl (46) were never more than 20 feet apart. Photo: Dan Alamangos
85 Intermediate: C.J. Hernds went 1-1 to beat Dane McCants, Zach Boskovich, Max Lee and Trevor Stewart. In the 85 Expert class, Tyler Weyman swept both motos with Hayden Cole and Brandon Sussman filing out the podium.
Former Pro Circuit Husqvarna rider Mike Monaghan came from the back on a KTM 150SX two-stroke to win the Over-50 Intermediate class. In some kind of record, Monaghan won four weeks in a row on a different two-stroke each time. He has won a KTM 150SX, Yamaha YZ125, Husky CR144 and KTM 125SX. Here he chases Paul Fitz-Gibbon (38) and George Kohler (orange helmet). Photo: Mark Chilson
250 Beginner: The consistency of a 1-2, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 day was what the 250 Beginners were all about as Daryl Tarpey won both motos and was followed home in both motos by Joe Valencia, Garrett Cirocco, Chris Kennedy and Corey Pennington.
Andreas Rasmussen won the 450 Novice class and the 250 Novice class. Photo: Mark Chilson
Vet Novice: After first place, where Phil Hunt went 1-1, the Vet Novices were an interesting battle. Adam Waheed came back from a long break to go 4-2 for second. John Ortiz used a 5-3 for third with Pat Hodges (8-4) and Pete Vetrano (9-5) filling out the top five.
Up on the elevated straight, Robby Gilbert (726) leads Braden Larson (21), Andreas Rasmussen (24), Mark Taylor (129) and Bradley Cirocco in the 450 Novice class. Gilbert was leading here, but ended up fourth overall with a 3-5. Photo: Mark Chilson
Elementary school principal Mike Taylor (317) drove all the way from Tennessee to race at REM. Mike finished 14th in the Over-50 Intermediate class with a 12-14 day. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Nick Cirocco (Over-40 Novice), Jeff Scott (Over-50 Novice), Brian Davis (Vet Intermediate), Gary Bowman (Over-40 Intermediate), Andreas Rasmussen (450 Novice), Clarence Henderson (Vet Beginner), Nic Garvin (125 Novice) and Dan Alamangos (125 “A” Adult).
John Tookey (24) was eighth in the Over-50 Novice class with a 9-10. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Willy Musgrave won the Over-40 Pro class, but not on his normal KTM 250SX two-stroke. Instead, Willy has been spending some time on a KX250F four-stroke. Photo: Mark Chilson
REM does not race next weekend (June 16) because of the Last Dawg Standing Grand Prix, but they return to action on June 23. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com