REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS: SUMMER RACING IN THE WINTER
Luther French’s arch-rival in the Over-50 Elite class, Jon Ortner, was trapped at is home in Santa Barbara after a mud slide in Montecito closed the Pacific Coast Highway (and sadly killed many people). The only way out of Santa Barbara would have been a 400-mile round-trip for Ortner. Luther easily won his class. Photo: Mark Chilson (Click on images to enlarge)
No one races as much of the REM motocross folks. In 2018 REM will hold 34 races—and would hold more but they have to give up weekends for the WORCs Series, Lucas Oil Offroad Truck Series, World Two-Stroke Championship, Prairie Dawgs GP, 6 Hours/10 hours/ 24 Hours of Glen Helen, World Vet Championship, Day in the Dirt and AMA 250/450 National.
It had rained very hard during the days leading up this week’s REM race, as you can tell by the volcanic looking mud piled into berms on the track. South African Alan Jullien (70) never noticed them. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
This week was round 1 of 34—and already the REM regulars are Jonesing because there are only 33 races left in the year. They want more. This week’s race came on the heels of a giant rainstorm that wreaked havoc all across the fire-scorched mountains above the SoCal landscape. With all of the brush and trees burned away, the 3 inches of rain cause massive mud slides from Santa Barbara to Corona. It was a terrible tragedy for people who’s houses, and lives, were washed away by a 2:00 a.m. wall of mud that swept into Montecito (a hilly town just south of Santa Barabra) as they slept.
The battle between Australian Dan Alamangos (192) and Pasha Afshar (L7) was awe inspiring as the Aussie never gave Pasha any breathing room in the Over-50 Expert class. Pasha blocked every attempt until Alamangos took a line through the mud that every other rider had avoided. It worked. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
But the rain, which was a disaster, was tempered by the fact that the parched, drought-ridden SoCal earth needed water. And that included the local racetracks, that hadn’t seen measurable rain in months. So, as the REM motocross racers pulled into Glen Helen, they were greeted with dirt conditions that didn’t need much tractor work to make them perfect. Plus. the temperatures were a warm 80 degrees—which were made a little chillier by a persistent breeze that blew out of the north. All in all, a perfect day for racing.
What follows is a photo essay of what REM Glen Helen looked like this past weekend.
Val Tamietti is the new REM number one rider for 2018. Some prankster taped over the 31 on his jersey to make it a 1. Traditionally, over the 25 years that REM number ones have been awarded, the winners rarely drop their old number to race with the “1.” Photo: Rick Stuelke
Swedish Grand Prix pioneer Lars Larsson (62) won the first moto of the Over-65 Intermediate class by making a last corner pass on overall winner Tony Parsons. Parsons went 2-1 to beat the 77-year-old AMA Hall of Famer’s 1-2 moto scores. That is Eric Carr (38) behind Lars. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Hollywood Stuntman Mark Donaldson’s rear wheel gently kisses the ground on his way to 7th in the Over-60 Expert class (there were 23 racers over 60 years old on the gate at REM on Saturday). Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Randy Skinner was moved back up to the Over-50 Expert class this week—he had moved down after suffering a terrible crash two years ago. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee getting ready for this race and settled for an 8-8 day. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
SPECIAL SEAN LIPANOVICH PHOTO GALLERY
FACES AT THE RACES PHOTO GALLERY
Jody Weisel is working his way back into racing after breaking his arm in two places by wearing his goggles this week, next week he’ll wear his gloves, then in two weeks his boots. If all goes well he’ll be fully dressed in a month. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
REM races every Saturday in January and on February 3rd. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
THE NEXT REM RACE
Click on images to enlarge
Photos by Mark Chilson, Rich Stuelke and Debbi Tamietti