REM GLEN HELEN RACE REPORT: BONFIRE OF THE SANITY
Photos by Debbi Tamietti
Glen Helen was a busy place this weekend. The park was packed with thousands of people. It was total insanity. Not only was REM racing on the upper track, but there a Lucas Oil Offroad Truck race, a “40 Years of Women’s Motocross” race, a vintage race and the empty parts of the park were used for as parking lots for a two-day “Insomnia Rave” at the Glen Helen Pavilion.
With people, bikes, trucks and buses everywhere, Glen Helen was jam-packed with action in every direction. Luckily, the REM race track is located high on a hill above the rest of the excitement — with only shuttle buses loaded with hipsters heading up to the rave breaking the calm at REM. The crowded park was the most noticeable aspect of Glen Helen this weekend, but there were ten interesting story lines at REM.
(1) KTM’s Justin Jones continues his rampage through the 450 Pro class with easy wins in both motos. Jones is working on his speed before heading to the International Six-Day Enduro (ISDE) in Argentina next month.
(2) With the British Veteran’s Motocross des Nations next week, Doug Dubach showed up to get in some laps — splitting motos wins with MXA’s Dennis Stapleton — in the Vet Pro class. While Doug is in England, Dennis will be in Bulgaria. Those guys get around.
(3) The three-man Kuwaiti team showed marked improvement over their summer foray to SoCal — with Barak Aljasmi and Mishary Bushaiba finishing second and third in the 450 Novice class this weekend. Motocross is a young sport in the Middle East and these riders are spending the time to learn the ropes.
(4) A bunch of former World Vet Champions were at REM this week. The 2014 Dubya-sponsored World Vet is only eight weeks away and with the vast majority of REM racers being over 30 years old, most of them are preparing for the big race. The most notable Vet riders this week were Doug Dubach (the winningest rider in World Vet history), Alan Olson (nine-time World Vet Champion), Gary Jones (the only rider to have won titles in every class — 30, 40, 50 and 60)), Bill Maxim (three-time Over-60 World Vet Champion) and Tom White (1990 Over-40 World Champion).
(5) Some dominant riders have emerged in the past few weeks; Robbie Wagemen has a stranglehold on the 250 intermediate class. Mitchell Falk was been winning the 125 Two-Stroke class with ease. Robert Pocius had never won the Over-50 Novice class until six weeks ago—now he has won it six times in a row. Greg Preston, father of current Over-30 World Vet Champion Travis Preston, has a win streak going in the Over-60 Novice class (although we haven’t seen Travis as of yet). Gary Jones continues his reign in the Over-60 Expert class.
(6) Fathers and sons, or just the sons, continue to play a big role in REM’s fabric of life. Jeff Ward’s son Aryton was second in the 125 two-stroke class and fourth in the 85 Experts. Brian Deegan’s son Haiden raced the 85 class. Doug Dubach’s son carter won the 85 Novice class. Shawn Heit’s son Ford was third in the 85 Experts. And, in the faster classes Justin Jones (Gary Jones), Willy Simons Jr, (Willy Simons), Robbie Wageman (Russ Wageman). Mitchell Falk (C.E. Falk) and Tyler Hoeft (Darrin Hoeft) upheld the family honor.
The MXA test riders switched back and forth between a 2015 RM-Z450, KTM 450SXF, Yamaha YZ450F and Husqvarna FC450. Here, Jody Weisel takes the RM-Z450 to fourth in the Over-60 Expert class in front of sixth place Tony Parsons.
(7) The age breakdown this week fell this way: 47% of the riders at REM were over 30 years old. Even more surprisingly was that 30% were over the age of 50. There was a tie for the biggest class of the day between the 250 Novices and the Over-50 Experts. The third biggest class of the day was a tie between the Over-50 Novices, Over-50 Intermediates and Over-60 class.
The fast guys don’t leave you much room. Jon Ortner, on MXA’s 2015 YZ450F, blasts by Pete Vetrano on his way to the Over-50 Elite class win. Vetrano, in his first race back since his big crash, settled for a safe and sane ninth.
Former CMC Number One Val Tamietti (31) leads Willy Simons Sr. (46) in the combined Over-50 Expert and Over-50 Elite race. They aren’t called “Elite” for nothing, as Simons didn’t waste any extra time behind Tamietti. Val was second in the Experts and Simons was second in the Elites.
(8) The brand breakdown was as follows: Yamaha 30%, Honda 22%, KTM 20%, Kawasaki 14%, Suzuki 12%, Others (Husky, TM, Beta) 2%.
MXA’s Dennis Stapleton (47) is chased by 250 Pro winner Jared Hicks (30). Stapleton raced each moto on a different bike for testing. Dennis is headed to Bulgaria, Holland and Latvia in the next couple weeks.
(9) 450 Pro results: Justin Jones swept both motos in front of Colton Aeck (3-2), Preston Tilford (2-3) and Shawn Hillion (4-4).
(10) 250 Pro Results: Jared Hicks went 1-2 to take the win over Ryan Surratt (3-1), John Pauk (2-3) and Brett Hottel (4-4).
REM does not race next weekend because of the two-day WORCS race at Glen Helen, but they return on Saturday, September 20. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com