REM GLEN HELEN “UN-RACE” REPORT: THE UNOFFICIAL 41ST EVENT
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Hollywood stuntman Will Harper had time to squeeze in a couple hours of riding before getting back to the studio for a night shoot. Will has missed a lot of REM motocross races this past year while working on “Guardians of the Galaxy II” in Atlanta and has a new movie starting in Hawaii next month. You gotta ride when you can.
No local motocross racers anywhere in the world race as often as SoCal’s REM regulars. They start their yearly motocross season the first week of January and race straight through until Christmas. All told, there are 40 REM races a year. There are breaks in the REM schedule for the AMA National, USGP, WORCS series, 24 Hours of Glen Helen, Tough Mudder, Day in the World, World Vet Championship, Last Dog Standing, King of the Hammers and Lucas Offroad Truck Championship. Imagine that your local track raced continuously, every weekend with only one weekend off a month (on average) for 12 straight months—before staring next year’s motocross series right after New Year’s.
Would you want to take a break from motocross after 40 races? Well, if you did, you wouldn’t be REM material. This weekend was a scheduled break in the REM race series, not because there was anything big happening at Glen Helen, but because summer temps in August near Devore, California, are always over 100-degrees. REM felt that taking some time off for the dog days of summer would be a good idea.
Tom White has had a storied career. He had an AMA Grand National dirt track number. He raced AMA National road races on a Triumph. He started the White Brothers and built it into one of the countries largest distributing companies before selling it. He won the 1990 World Vet Championship. He owns one of the world’s best motocross museums. He is a member of the AMA Hall of Fame. He announces some of the biggest races in the world. And, he is still racing today.
Randy Skinner showed up on crutches with a knee he tweaked at work. Two questions arise from this: (1) How dedicated are you to show up at a casual ride day when you neeed crutches just to walk? (2) Who has a job where you can get hurt so bad that you have to miss days of riding? Isn’t that suppose to be the other way around?
Greg Preston may not be as famous as his son, 2001 AMA 125 East and 2002 125 West Supercross Champion Travis Preston, but Greg races almost every week, while Travis is busy working as Yamaha’s full-time test rider.
But, since the track was sitting there, and Glen Helen General manager Lori Wilson mentioned Jody Weisel that she would have it prepped if any REM racers wanted to come out and ride. Jody told Lori that if she had heavy equipment operator John Allen rip the track and water the flat parts with the water truck, that the REM guys would man the fire hoses for the rest of the day to do the hilly parts and keep the track in good working order. Then, Jody called Dan Alamangos, Dan told his brother, his brother told Brian Martin, Brian told Kent Reed, Kent Reed told Will Harper, and so on and so — and pretty soon 50 REM racers converged on the upper pits on their weekend off.
Before Jon Orter became REM Number 1 for three straight year, he raced the AMA Nationals and all around the globe—Now Jon focuses his attentions on the weekly REM wars, his art career, playing some obscure instrument in a Santa Barbara band and collecting Mexican somberos.
It wasn’t a race—just a ride day for racers. Yet there were cases where every rider in a class showed up—so they could ride together without having to kill each other for a trophy. Some used the day to test suspension setting, break-in new bikes or try out some trick new gizmo. No pressure, just fun. It was just a day for guys who race against each other 40 times a year to spend a 41st day hanging out without each other one more time.
How many motocrossers does it take to change a lightbulb? Let’s hope it takes less than it took to put one one bike into the back of a box van. Did you see the “Indian Dunes 126” T-Shirt on Will Harper? The 126 refers to the road that Indian Dunes was on.
Jody Weisel (52) watered the back portion of the track, while Dan Alamangos, Marc Crosby, Josh Fout, Kent Reed, Gary Taylor and friends kept the front part moist. Then, they all rode to their hearts content.
Pete Vetrano is perhaps the most eccentric motorcycle importer in America. Pete has been the importer for everything from TM (twice) to LEM to Vertemati to Falcon to VOR. He is now the new American importer for SWM, but while he’s waiting for the 2017 SWM bikes to hit the docks, he’s racing a Husqvarna.
For more info on REM Motocross and their full race schedule go to www.remsatmx.com