REM GLEN HELEN: THE RETURN OF THE CENTURY MARK
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Photos by Rich Stuelke, Dan Alamangos, Mark Chilson & Debbi Tamietti
It would be nice to say that this weekend’s REM motocross at Glen Helen Raceway was the first 100-degree race of the year, especially since it fell just one day before the official start of Summer, but it wouldn’t be true. In what has been a topsy-turvy weather pattern, the REM racers faced a 100-degree day back in February. On the whole, SoCal has had the hottest Winter that most can people remember, the coldest Spring and everyone is now braced for what Summer brings.
But heat is relative for Glen Helen. After a couple 100-degree days, the local crew begins to think that 95-degrees is cool. So, most look forward to next Saturday’s race, where the temperatures are only predicted to be in the 90s.
The best Pro race of the day was between Preston Tilford (2-1), Tallon LaFountaine (1-2) and Aussie Jacob Blomfield (3-3) in the 450 class. There was only one other split moto winner on the day when Dutchman Ralf Schmidt used a 2-1 to defeat David Cincotta’s 1-2 in the Over-40 Intermediates. In the 250 Novice class Jay Morris (2-1) took the win over first moto winner Tyler Nichols who had a 1-3. In a side note, Rowdy Soland got the gold in the Open Novice class with a 1-2 over the same Jay Morris, who this time had a 4-2. In all the other classes, moto sweeps were the order of the day.
THE BEST OF THE DAY
Luther French won the Over-50 Expert class with a 1-1 over Steve Pfaff’s 2-2, Ron Shuler’s 3-3, Val Tamietti’s 5-4, Fred Nicholls’ 6-5 and Dan Alamangos’ 4-7.
Willy Simons Jr. appears to have recovered from the injuries he received at the Glen Helen National Two-Stroke Invitational race. Willy won the 250 Intermediates with spirited rides to beat a top five of Dylan Bollinger, Gordon Keller, Rachel Combs and Brayton Walker. Meanwhile in the 450 Intermediates, Hawaiian Kai Mukai ‘s 1-1 defeated Brazilian Vinnie Angelini (2-2) and Michael French (3-3).
In the Over-50 Elite class (reserved for very special riders over the age of 50), Jon Ortner came from bad starts to race his way through the complete Over-50 Expert class and catch and pass 6D helmet founder Bob Weber in both motos.
In the Over-50 Intermediate class Scott Williams was untouchable as he powered his YZ250F by, through and around a pack of 450s to sweep both motos with ease. Williams was followed home in both motos by Mike Phillips, who fought hard to hold Williams at bay. Robert Pocius went 3-4 for third in front of Bill Reimer’s 7-3 and Pete Vetrano’s 5-6.
1970’s Baja hero Bob Rutten managed to throw in the first crash for his two knee replacements, but got up off the deck to win both motos of the Over-60 Experts. Mike Marion looked liked he was going to be the winner when Rutten fell, but he succumbed to the former desert ace in the desert-like conditions. Mitch Evans was third, John Fitz fourth, Kent Reed fifth, Jody Weisel sixth, Tom Holmes seventh and Tony Parsons eighth.
The MXA race team has been testing the 2016 KTM 450SXF for the last two weekends. Here, Dennis Stapleton (62) puts it through its paces on the way to the Vet Pro win. This was Stapleton’s first race back since having wrist and knee surgery (at the same time). Photo by Dan Alamangos
Jon Ortner (62) was the third rider to race the KTM 450SXF. He won the Over-50 Elite class on it. In fact, the test bike was raced back-to-back-to-back without a break and didn’t give out a whimper — unlike the test riders. Photo by Mark Chilson
THE REM STATS
Dan Alamangos was 6th in the Over-50 Experts and then raced his Honda CRF150 for fun. He was looking for shade from the sun and relief from the bumps. He said the CRF150 wasn’t as much fun as the KTM 350SXF he raced in the other motos. Photo by Debbi Tamietti
At the midway point through 2015, this was the 19th REM race of the year. REM keeps points at every race to determine class winners and the overall Glen Helen top ten. By the time the final points are tallied, REM will host 40 races…and a surprising number of locals will have raced every single event.
The biggest classes at REM this weekend in size place were: 1. Over-50 Novices; 2. Over-50 Experts; 3. Over-50 Intermediates; 4. 250 Novices; 5. Over-60 Experts. In total, 53% of the racers this weekend were over the age of 40. The vast number of older riders at Glen Helen is a function of the SoCal motorcycle industry, where riders from the 1970s and 1980s have still been able to keep racing because they work at the manufacturers, gear companies, shops or aftermarket distributors. They never had to quit racing because it was the business they are in or grew up in.
Of all the riders racing at REM this weekend 34% were on Yamahas, 22% on Hondas, 18% on KTMs, 14% on Suzukis, 10% on Kawasaki’s and 2% on TMs.
An amazing 61% of the class winners raced Yamahas, 16% Suzukis, 14% KTMs, 4% Hondas, 4% Kawasaki and 1% TMs.
REM races again next weekend, Saturday, June 27 (and on the National track on Saturday, July 4th). For more info go to www.remsatmx.com