REM GLEN HELEN RACE REPORT: THE “STRAIGHT EIGHT” HEATS UP
Photos by Dan Alamangos, Rich Stuelke, Debbi Tamietti and Jody Weisel
Click on images to enlarge
The vast majority of REM motocross racers take what they have for granted. They never lived in North Dakota, where summer is a short-lived thing. They never been more than a 90-minute drive from 10 different race tracks (which allows them to ride every day of the week). They never had to go more than a week or two without a race on the schedule (because REM race more races in a year than many tracks race in five years). They have never lived under the rule and regulations of of the AMA, because REM doesn’t have very many rules and absolutely no regulations. They would be shocked if they showed up at the race that had 15 races and their first moto was at 11:00 a.m. and their second moto at 4:30 p.m. (they are used to being done by 1:30 p.m. after two long motos).
What they don’t take for granted is the camraderie of racing against the same racers as the week before, the year before, decade before and, in many cases, 30 years before. They like the fact that the track is changed every month (this week’s track went in the opposite direction to last week’s). They like that factory and former factory riders show up to race on a weekly basis (normally with a pickup truck and their bike). They love that the guy they are lining up next to on the starting line is a big wig at one of the multitude of SoCal aftermarket companies (it proves that they actually test their products on regular racers). And they like Frank and Myra Thomason—because they treat everybody like family.
There is nothing usual about racing at REM—if you raced back in the down-home era of the 1970s. It is a laid-back, fun day in the sun, which is probably why it is populated by the largest turnout of racers from the 1980s and 1970s this side of the World Vet Championship. This week 53% of the racers at REM were over the age of 50.
The biggest class: The Over-50 Experts were the biggest class of the day and Dave Eropkin used a 1-2 to take the victory. Ron Shuler, son of ESR suspension tuner Earl Shuler, got second with an unlikely 7-1. Hollywood actor Bryan Friday was third with a 6-5. Desert and ISDE ace Paul Krause was fourth and Fred Nichols fifth.
Second biggest class: Dan Paulson used an unbeatable 1-1 to take the Over-50 Novice class. Lonnie Paschal was second with a 3-2 in front of Mike Hillion (4-3), Gary Stoltenberg (5-5), Glen Pietronico (7-4), Jeff Greene (6-8) and Frank Emerson, on his twin-shock, air-cooled Husky(10-6). Syd Woods was second in the first moto, but DNFe’d the second moto and Mechanix Wear’s John Caper didn’t make it two laps before aggravating an old injury.
Third biggest class. The Over-50 Intermediates were won by Paul Fitz-Gibbon (1-1). The top five were rounded out by Robert Pocius. Jeff Mason, Pete Vetrano and Terry Varner. Last week’s winner, Ginger Hill, went 3-11.
Kent Reed (491) holeshots the Over-60 Expert class. Carl Gazafy (176) was second and Ken Ehlers (103) third. By day’s end Reed would go 6-6, Gazafy 4-4 and Ehlers 3-3. Will Harper, who didn’t get the holeshot, took the win. Photo: Dan Alamangos
The fourth biggest class: The Over-60 racers had a full gate as will harper went 1-1 in front of a top ten of Jim Latendrese (2-2), Ken Ehlers (3-3), Carl Gazafy (4-4), Mike Marion (5-5), Kent Reed (6-6), Gene Boere (8-7, Bill Seifert (7-9), Jody Weisel (9-8) and Tony Parsons (10-10). Brian Martin won thr Over-60 Intermediates and says that he will move tot he Expert class next Saturday. Nick Costello won th Over-60 Novices and will probably move to the Intermediates in the future.
Dan Alamangos raced MXA’s 2016 KTM 150SX two-stroke. He was competitive in the Over-50 Expert class, but broke the spring inside the shifter tip and struggled in the second moto. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Fred Nichols (56), Jerry Black (11), Robert Reisinger (52), Jon Ortner (67) and Ian Fitz-Gibbon (21) careen up and down Glen Helen’s hills in the biggest class of the day—the Over-50 Experts. Photo: Jody Weisel
For more info about REM (which races again next Saturday at Glen Helen), go to www.remsatmx.com