REM GLEN HELEN RACE REPORT: JUSTIN COOPER GETS READY FOR THE AMA NATIONALS
Star Yamaha’s Justin Cooper was injured in timed qualifying at the Houston 250 West Supercross back in January. He suffered a concussion, nine broken ribs, three cracked extensions on the side of his vertabra and a shoulder injury. He was expected to be out for six weeks, but instead Justin has been out of action for 12 weeks. And just like Blake Wharton from a couple weeks ago, Justin Cooper came to REM Glen Helen to get some seat time to gauge his fitness for racing. He looked good in going 1-1 to defeat a top five of Brian Medeiros (3-2), Noah Hickerson (2-3), Craig Mullett (5-4) and Billy Lea (4-5).
The 250 Intermediates were won by Ford Heit with a 2-1, while Kurt Nicoll took the Vet Pro win with ease. In the Novice class the winners were: Taylor Gutterud (450 Novice), Noah Farley (250 Novice), Braden Larson (Vet Novice), Jason Holub (Over-40 Novice) and Robbie Carpenter (Over-50 Novice).
Kent Reed used a 3-1 to take the Over-60 Intermediates (which was the biggest class of the weekend, even after the most of the older riders in the class made an exodus to the Over-65 Intermediate class). Kenny Maddux took the Over-50 Intermediate win, while Aaron Mattson was the Over-40 Intermediate winner.
The best races of the weekend were:
Val Tamietti versus Dave Eropkin. These two SoCal icons from the 1970-80s have been dueling for dominance in the Over-60 Expert class for two years, but Val Tamietti always manages to win. This week Dave Eropkin led the second moto all the way to the last lap—only to get zapped by Tamietti within sight of the flag. You would think that Dave would be depressed, but it sees it as a sign of improvement–and something to build on for next week.
Jon Ortner versus Luther Luther French. The Over-50 Elite class is for riders, mostly former AMA Pros from the 1980s, who are too fast for the regular Over-50 Expert class. With Doug Dubach, Pete Murray and Andy Jefferson not racing this weekend, the battle fell into the hands of Jon Ortner and Luther French. In the first moto Ortner got the lead by pushing all-out on lap one and holding off Luther by the skin of his teeth. Jon went to the starting line for the second moto ready for another epic battle, only to discover that Luther had to go to a wedding and didn’t have time to make the call for the second moto.
Robert Resigner versus Pasha Afshar. 6D Helmet’s Robert Reisinger has been a consistent winner in the Over-50 Expert class and, well let’s just say that Pasha Afshar has been consistent in that he runs up front, then suffers arm pump at virtually every race this season. But, not this weekend. When the Over-50 Experts came down to the last two laps of the second moto, Pasha was still with Robert at the end of the second moto. With no arm pump, Pasha could finally push at the end of the race—and because he hadn’t been in this position since moving up an age group—he really wanted to win. He made a banzai pass on Reisinger in the steep uphill bend before the finish line. His inside to outside line cut Reisinger off, which gave Pasha the lead with a lap to go, but made Reisinger angry. Robert turned it wide open and got Pasha back on the even steeper uphill hairpin, Pasha tried a bump-and-run as they came down from the hairpin, but it didn’t work. As the two riders came back into the stadium section of REM, Pasha was closing the gap. He had one chance left, and it was in the steep uphill bend where he blocked Reisinger a lap earlier. Reisinger defended his line, but Pasha got under him as they swept up into the steep turn. It looked like Pasha had position on Reisinger‚ but his rear wheel lost traction for a split second and Reisinger rolled on by to the checkers. Much like Dave Eropkin, Pasha took his defeat philosophically, because he’d never been that close before.
Kenny Maddux versus Lonnie Paschal. Kenny Maddux and Lonnie Paschal were evenly matched in the Over-50 Intermediates, although bad starts played a role in the first moto as Maddux had to come from pretty far back to get second behind Paschal, but that second turned out to be the deal maker. Maddux won the second moto and his 2-1 beat Paschal’s 1-2.
Randell Fout raced MXA’s Chad Reed Replica. It has Kayaba works suspension, Pro Circuit engine (with a works cam and ignition), Xtrig clamps, engraved ignition and clutch covers, Pro Circuit exhaust and every aftermarket part that Chad runs on his Husqvarna FC450. Although Chad has switched to WP forks, they reportedly have a Kayaba conversion kit in them. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Brit Alan Bott came the USA for the World Two-Stroke Championship (where he was second in the Over-50 Intermediates) and to race at REM (where he was third in the Over-50 Intermediates) on a 1981 Maico 490 that once belonged to Herbert Schmitz. Photo: Dan Alamangos
AMA Hall of Famer Lars Larsson is headed back to Sweden for the summer. He’ll be back in California one week before the 2018 World Vet Championship in November. Lars was second in the Over-65 Intermediates and was one to two riders over 70-years-old in the that class. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Todd Gravitt (4) joined the long list of Suzuki ex-pats who switched to KTM. A few years ago REM had a solid bastion of RM-Z450 riders, but on Saturday there were only 5 yellow bikes at REM (and Greg Groom wasn’t one of them). Photo: Dan Alamangos
MXA’s Jody Weisel wanted to come back earlier, but his surgeon said no. In his return, Jody raced to a safe and sane fourth overall, but said it felt like he broke his lungs instead of his arm. Photo: Rommel Andrade
Meanwhile, down on REM’s Kid’s Track, Simon Hahn’s 1-2, edged out Ryder Friday’s 3-1 and Kale Bucher’s 2-3 in the 50cc Pee-Wee class. AJ Gould and Zach Anderson rounded out the top five. Photo: Rich Stuelke
UPCOMING REM RACES AT GLEN HELEN
April 14…………………..20th Anniversary (125 purse)
April 28…………………..Spring Series #3
May 5…………………….Spring Series #4 (National track)
May 12……………………Spring Series #5
May 19……………………Spring Series #6
For more info about REM go to www.remsatmx.com
MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR NEXT SATURDAY’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY RACE (AND 125 TWO-STROKE PURSE RACE)
REM will celebrate its 20th year at Glen Helen next Saturday. REM raced at Carlsbad Raceway for a decade before coming to Glen Helen to take over the old Arroyo Cycle Park track that had been abandoned years earlier. There will be special events, plus an STI Tires-sponsored 125cc purse race (that isn’t limited to Pros, but to anyone who wants to race there 125/150 smoker against other one-two-fives).