REM RACE REPORT: EVER WISH YOU COULD GO BACK TO THE SADDLEBACK DAYS? THIS IS THE PLACE
PHOTOS BY DEBBI TAMIETTI & DAN ALAMANGOS
REM Saturday motocross racers are the most laid-back racers in the sport. They hang out before and after the races, check on each other after a crash (even if they caused it) and know virtually everyone in the pits by name. There are REM racers who have parked next to the same guys for ten years; REM racers who sell their old race bikes to the same friend who bought their last olds one when they bought the new one they are selling to him now; REM racers who will lend their bike to a riders whose bike broke in practice; REM racers who are roofers, mechanics, plumbers, doctors and painters, and cut other REM racers unbelievable deals on their services; REM racers who try to kill each other on the track, only to laugh about as they pull off the track. They are, we hope, just like racers at tracks all across the country.
Best of all, REM promoters, Frank and Myra Thomason, run a super organized race program. They double-wave every start to avoid having to hold 12 different motos (times two). They run long motos and build a track that, although it has a few big jumps, none of them are dangerous. They normally get their complete race program done by 2:00 p.m. without shorting anyone on riding time.
The REM track is build on the exact site of the original Arroyo Cycle Park. It sits on a plateau above the Glen Helen National track, with it’s own pits, scoring tower, sign-up booth and concrete start line. It has fire hoses in most corners and the lower portion can be water by both water truck and fire hoses. All scoring is by transponder and you can sign up online to avoid having to wait in line in the morning. From the upper pits, you can see both the REM track and the National track, by walking 75 feet in either direction. On Saturday’s when REM is the only scheduled race at Glen Helen, you can race at REM, and ride the Glen Helen National track or Stadiumcross track between motos. There is even a Pee-Wee track attached to the REM track so that you can bring your 50cc kids out to ride on a safe and fun entry-level play track.
Don’t expect a big production at an REM race. They have rules and they enforce them, but since most REM have been racing with them for a decades, all of the scofflaws and rule breakers are known to everyone in the pits. It is a low-key motocross race, on a safe track, with intense competition from some really fast guys—and lots of slow guys. They give away lots of swag at every riders meeting and Rich Stuelke from Motophoto (www.motophotollc.com) gives a framed photo away at every race to a lucky rider. Plus, famous moto-photographer Debbi Tamietti has a smug mug page (debbitamietti.smugmug.com), where she posts all the photos she shoots for MXA and where you can order hi-res digital images or prints of you or your buddies for around $1.50 (and Debbi gives all the money to charity at the end of each year).
REM is as close as you can get to the the way motocross was before it became big business. You should try it some time. But, until then, enjoy the photos of Saturday’s race that Debbi and Dan Alamangos shot for MXA.
This in the top three in the Over-60 Expert class: Robert Reisinger, a former Saddleback Specialist, (1-2) was second, Ed Guajardo (2-1) was first and Fred Nichols (3-4) was third. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Lars Larsson (58), a former Grand Prix, ISDT, Trans-AMA and Saddleback Specialist, is heading back to Sweden on Wednesday, so this was his last REM race until he returns in October to get ready for the World Vet Championship. You gotta love Lars’ black Super Victory leather boots. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Jody Weisel (92), a former Saddleback Specialist, one fingers the front brake on MXA’s GasGas EX 350, but uses a completely different finger to pull the clutch. You gotta love Jody’s white Super Victory leather boots. Photo: Debbi Tamietti