REM GLEN HELEN RACE REPORT: AMA NATIONAL TRACK WARM-UP FOR THE MASSES
Photos by Mark Chilson, Rich Stuelke, Rommel Andrade, Dillon Ziegler and Jon Ortner
Strange things happen at Glen Helen all the time. With famous moto-photographer Debbi Tamietti out of action with bronchitis, every other photographer filled in to help. Regulars Rich Stuelke and Mark Chilson shot extra photos for this race report. Jon Ortner got a new camera that he wanted to try out anyway. Dillon Ziergler is out with an injury and Debbi lent him her camera to shoot some pics. And when Kenny Maddux heard that Debbi was sick, he brought his son Rommel out to shoot some photos—even though Kenny was not racing because of broken leg. We thank them because with Debbi out of action and Dan Alamangos at the Las Vegas Supercross, we might have had to ask Randy Skinner to borrow his mom’s Brownie box camera.
This weekend the popular REM races were moved from their racetrack, situated on the plateau above the Glen Helen National track, to the big track below. Why? To make room for a big Mud Run that wanted to use all of the REM track. No big deal, REM holds several races on the National track every year, most notably the annual Octobercross race the weekend before the World Vet Championship. The Octobercross is considered a warm-up for the World Vet Championship because it is the first time that any rider gets to race on what will be the race track a week later.
Joe Sutter (111) comes through the sand section situated below the Talladega first turn. Glen Helen has more sand stored in the pits to fluff up the depth of the sand by National time. Photo: Rich Stuelke
This week’s track was a warm-up for the upcoming AMA National on May 26. Jody Weisel, who designs the World Vet, World Two-Stroke and AMA 250/450 National track, likes to test new track designs before putting them into the races. Sometimes he does it with a small hand-picked group of riders, typically Josh Grant, Weston Peick and one or two AMA privateers, but he prefers to hold a race to get a better view of what works and what doesn’t.
You can see the bottom of the Mt. Saint Helen downhill in the first photo on this page, but this is the top half. You have to let it roll—even though every corpuscle in your body screams, “Slam on the brakes.” Photo: Mark Chilson
This week, Jody and dirt maestro Karl Scanlon put the footprint of the May 26 AMA National track on the ground. The “footprint” doesn’t mean the big jumps or National touches, just the basic track design. So, with REM coming down from their hillside home to the National track, their riders got to be the first to race on what will be the footprint of the AMA National track.
Mike Monaghan (100), Val Tamietti (31) and Randel Fout (45) crest a hill. The strangest thing about this photo is that Monaghan and Tamietti are on two-strokes, while Fout is on a 2019 twin-pipe TM MX250-FI four-stroke. You would expect the TM to be a two-stroke. Fout was untouchable on the 14,000 rpm Italian bike. Photo: Mark Chilson
It is an imposing track and the layout is very difficult for lots of amateur riders—what with the massive hills, and especially the fast and long downhills. But, the jumps are untouched from the weekly local races and the dirt is super prepped (largely because the new dirt has been added—and it rained at Glen Helen earlier in the week).
But, for a local racer it is cool to be the first to race on the National track, even if it just the footprint—but coolness doesn’t extend to every rider. Many struggle on the big track and for everyone who loves the National track there is someone who hates it. Luckily for them, REM will not be back on the National track until October 27—and the World Vet track design is always much more Vet friendly than the National layout.
This is the peanut gallery. There is nothing like sitting in the shade of trackside trees watching your buddies race. We recognize Mark Crosby, Dennis Stapleton, Sr, Greg Groom, Jody Weisel, Mark Donaldson and Mike Monaghan. Photo: Jon Ortner
Dennis Stapleton (184) plans to race the 125cc two-stroke races at the Hangtown and Washougal Nationals, but is really focused on the 250cc Two-Stroke Invitational at the Glen Helen National (it is the only 250 two-stroke race in the 2018 AMA Nationals). Thus, he has switched to his KTM 250SX full-time. Photo: Rommel Andrade
The racing was intense, as riders traded sections of the track where they were better than the other guys—and, of course, sections where they were worse. The most popular place to pass was on the long downhill, which REM re-graded twice during the race day to help smooth it out. It was amazing to see the riders fan out across the width of the 22-story downhill looking for the perfect line—not only the smoothest one, but the one that allowed them to brake later for the tight turn at the bottom.
THE BIG WINNERS AT REM
Luc Deley rode a YZ125 in the first practice, switched to a KTM 250SXF and eventually chose to race a 2018 Husky TC125 with a 150cc top end kit. He may be picky, but he made the right decision as he won the Over-50 Intermediate class. Photo: Jon Ortner
The big winners of the weekend weren’t all that different than on their ancestoral REM track, but with a lot more room to roam they could afford to take their time.
450 Pro: Sean Lipanovich went an easy 1-1 in front of Matt Hubert (2-2), Cody Johnston (3-3), Brent Rouse (5-4) and Garrick Noble (4-5).
250 Pro: Gage Scheher’s 2-1 took the 250 Pro victory over Tyler Rosa’s 1-2 with Deegan Von Lossberg third with a 4-3 over Swede Kristoffer Palm (3-5) and Mason Wharten (5-4).
The Hawaiians were out in force at Glen Helen (from the left David Dabin, Darrell Dabin, Brian Medeiros and Randell Osakoda). With the exception of Brian Medeiros, who lives in SoCal, the others watch for discount flights from Kaui and when they find cheap round-trip tickets, they fly in to race over the weekend. Photo: Jon Ortner
450 Intermediate: Cole Tompkins, back from months of recovery, came back strong with a 1-1 over Ty Cullins (3-2), Brian Begin (2-4), John Roggero (5-3) and Zack Randolph (4-5).
Over-40 Expert; James Lavender went 1-1 with Dutch rider Ralf Schmidt on his tail for the whole length of the second moto. Ralf’s 3-2 was good enough to hold off Robert Kuhry’s 2-3 for second.
Over-50 Expert: What a weird race. 6D’s Robert Reisinger won the first moto in front of last week’s winner Chris Radzinski, ESR Suspensions’ Ron Shuler, Joe Sutter and John Begin. Then, in the second moto, Pasha Afshar took the win, but he had suffered issues with his rear brake in the first moto and was scored as a 7th. His 7-1 left him out of the running for the win. Radzinski led Robert Reisinger for almost the whole second moto, which would have been good enough for the overall, but somewhere on the last lap Reisinger ended up in front of Radzinski. Robert Reisinger’s 1-2 beat Radzninski’s 2-3, while Pasha’s 7-1 nipped Joe Sutter’s 4-4 for third.
The 125cc Two-Stroke Adult win came down to this pass at the end of the sand section. Ralf Schmidt (73) was able to put his TM MX125 in front of Alan Jullien’s YZ125 for the victory. Photo: Rommel Andrade
Kenny Maddux broke his tib/fib and dislocated his ankle last week. He had surgery on Monday, but is looking at a future of being a “cat lady” for a couple months. Oops, that’s a dog. Photo: Rommel Andrade
When Zach Randolph (214) moved up to the 450 Intermediate class he knew it meant starting in the second gate behind the Pros—and racing the longer Pro motos. He’s getting better every week and will know he’s made it when he doesn’t get lapped by the 450 Pro winner (in this case Sean Lipanovich on 505). Photo: Mark Chilson
Over-50 Intermediate: The biggest class of the day was the Over-50 Intermediates, just edging out the Over-50 Novices. There was no way that Luc Deley looked like he was going to win anything after poor starts on his Husqvarna TC125 (with a 150cc top-end kit). But, the little bike was easier to handle on the rough straights and could be hauled to a stop at the bottom of the downhill much better than the heavier four-strokes. Deley went 1-1 to take the win, even though Johnny Benskin looked faster for most of both motos, but he couldn’t keep the two-stroke behind him. Benskin’s 2-2, Robbie Carpenter’s 4-4, Eddie Jaramillo’s 8-3 and Gary Sewell’s 6-5 rounded out the top five. All of these guys are former winners of this class (as are 7th place Lonnie Pashcal, 8th place Robert Pocius and Arizona’s Scott Boek in 9th place).
James Lavender raced the World Two-Stroke Championship on a borrowed TM MX300, and immediately went out and bought himself a brand-new Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke. It must be working as he swept both motos of the Over-40 Expert class in front of TM importer Ralf Schmidt (who lent him a TM for the World Two-Stroke race). Photo: Mark Chilson
The bottom of the Mt. Saint Helen downhill was a popular place to pass. If you pressured the guy in front of you, the odds were pretty good that he would overcooked the hairpin at the bottom and run off the track. Photo: Mark Chilson
Vet Novice class: The top three in the Over-30 Vet Novice class were refugees from older age groups (which is legal under Vet rules—in that a rider can drop one skill division for every ten years of age. Thus, an Over-40 Intermediate can race the Over-30 Novices). Scott Lindley, who won the Over-40 Intermediates, dropped down and won the Over-30 Novices. Second place went to Over-50 Intermediate second-place finisher Johnny Benskin. Third place in the Vet Novices fell to Over-50 Expert Pasha Afshar. Remember his 7-1 in that class, Pasha went 6-1 in the Vet class.
Joe Landis (347) got a third in the first moto of the Over-60 Intermediates, but clipped the rear wheel of the guy in front of him in the second moto and landed on his head. He wanted to finish the moto, but the ambulance guys told him no. Photo: Mark Chilson
REM will return to its traditional REM track, which sits on the exact spot that Arroyo Cycle Park was on in the early 1970s, for next week’s race. This will make a lot of REM racers happy—as the majority favor racing on the REM track instead of the National track..
UPCOMING 2018 REM RACES
May 12…….Spring Series #5
May 19…….Spring Series #6
June 2………Glen Helen, CA
June 16…….Glen Helen, CA
June 30…….Glen Helen, CA
For more info about racing with REM Motocross, go to www.remsatmx.com
DO YOU WANT TO RACE THE MTA-SPONSORED PRO TWO-STROKE CHALLENGE?
The 125 Pro and 250 Pro racers who finished the 2018 World Two-Stroke Championship in April are given priority when in comes to being accepted to the 250/Open two-stroke class at the Glen Helen National on May 26. After those riders, Glen Helen is looking for Pro riders, former AMA National riders and Loretta Lynn-speed Intermediates to fill out the available spots. The Glen Helen race is not related to the 125cc series being conducted at other Nationals—this is the only two-stroke National class for 250cc and larger machines.
Although lots of riders might think that they want to ride at an AMA National—think again. You need Pro speed and lots of two-stroke talent. This is not a track where you can roll the jumps or fail to clear the jumps. It will not be smooth, it will have big bumps, long ruts and factory rider-size whoops. So think before you contact John Perry about entering the MTA-sponsored Pro Two-Stroke Challenge at (970) 759-0641 or email at [email protected]