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Photos by Dan Alamangos

The Yamaha test crew spent the last two weekends at the “Un-Races” riding and testing the 2018 Yamaha YZ450F, but here Travis Preston airs out a YZ125 two-stroke.

When the weekly REM races at Glen Helen are on a break, the MXA guys, along with a handful of hardcore REM racers, commandeer the REM Track, which is situated on the hill above the Glen Helen AMA National track (on the spot where the original Arroyo Cycle Park track was located 45 years ago), and guarantee that REM racers will show up to ride on it. Not only that, but they say that if Glen Helen’s John Allen rips and preps the track, they will handle all of the watering during the day.

AMA 250 West rider Kordel Caro, on MXA’s 2018 Yamaha YZ450F, chases Kurt Nicoll down into the stadium section of the REM track. The 2018 YZ450F’s aren’t in the showrooms yet, but will be soon.

Thus, an REM “Un-Race” is born. Actually, the original Un-Race idea was spawned because the MXA wrecking crew had lots of testing to do and they convinced Glen Helen to let them test on days when the REM track was closed. The first few years were very limited as only the MXA guys knew that the REM track would be prepped—and again, the test riders handled all of the watering and maintenance on the track during the day. With only ten riders it was a small group, but more REM racers heard that MXA was going to have the track prepped—so the crowd grew to 15, then 20. Un-Races don’t happen every off weekend from racing, but only when there were bikes to test and the need for speed.

Mike Mongahan, also on MXA’s 2018 YZ450F, does his best speed blur on his way up an REM hill. On this day MXA had Pros, Intermediates, Vets and Over-50 test riders  run through the YZ450F program. Monaghan is a former Pro Circuit Husqvarna rider from the 1980s.

Although never a race, the Un-Races began to draw lots of REM motocross racers, who would normally be sitting at home. It was a win-win for them. They get a day of practicing, testing and hanging out with their buddies—on the track they normally race on. Of course, the Glen Helen National track, just a couple hundred feet down the hill, is open for practice also, but the attraction of the REM track is that it is more fun to ride, has safer jumps, has equally challenging hills and, it goes without saying, has a built-in clientele who choose REM over the National track.

Kurt Nicoll is not only the current Over-50 World Champion, but he was a previous Over-40 World Champion and a four-time runner-up in the FIM 500 World Championships.

And guess what? During REM’s recent two week hiatus from racing, the unofficial REM Un-Races (3.0 and 4.0) have outdrawn the crowd on the National track by tenfold. It just proves that there is an underserved market of motorcycle racers, Vets and riders who aren’t getting what they want from the jump-strewn tracks that dominate the SoCal track orbit (and there is no shortage of SoCal tracks that are nothing but shorts straights connected by a jump every 100 feet). The REM track is unique and that is why when the Un-Race, with its promise that the track will be well-prepped and taken care of by the men who ride on it, is a popular place to ride.


No one runs a bigger test program than the MXA wrecking crew. MXA races it’s tests bikes every week and runs them through the complete gamut of skill levels. We don’t know how that 2017 Husqvarna FC450 managed to get in line with MXA’s current crop of 2018 test bikes.

This weekend’s Un-Race 4.0 will be the last Un-Race for awhile, because REM Motocross returns to action on August 12th and August 19th. So, this week’s Un-Race was the last for a couple weeks (and only the fourth Un-Race of 2017). It was bigger than last week’s Un-Race 3.0, which was bigger than Un-Race 2.0 and 1.0.

Joe Melton is prepping for the Vet MXDN at Farleigh Castle next month. Note offroad racer Brad Goolsby standing by with the fire house to water that section of track as soon as Melton gets out of the way.

If you ‘d like to race the REM track, as opposed to Un-Racing it, go to or show up next Saturday morning to see what all the hubbub about safe, simple and fun race track is all about. REM caters to young families, old Pros and the largest Over-40, Over-50 and Over-60s weekly turnouts in the world.

Josh Fout lies up MXA’s 2017 Husqvarna FC450 and pulls the trigger. Yes, we do have a 2018 FC450, but were are using our 2017 to test new Metzeler tires and different triple clamps.


You’re never too young to learn proper selfie technique. Anna holds the camera, while Logan tries out some new poses.

Dirt Bike Magazine’s Ron Lawson on a 2018 Honda CRF450.

Yamaha’s Steve Butler spots his next prey at the far end of the canyon. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we can see that the former mechanic for Jeff Emig, Yamaha team manager and current Yamaha test department head is not on a Yamaha, but we won’t tell if you don’t.

Tim Olson has been coming out to the “Un-Races” to teach his oldest son Aiden how to ride, while spinning laps on the latest 2018 models himself. This week it was the 2018 Kawasaki KX450F.


Dirt Bike’s Pete Murray is another YZ125 two-stroke aficianado.

Kurt Nicoll has started Champion MX Vacations. Kurt had a group of foreign riders at the “Un-Race” on six new KTMs. You can reach him at for more info.

Former 1970’s 125 Pro Dave Eropkin looks radioactive in orange.

Randel Fout, on MXA’s 2018 Yamaha YZ450F, was assigned to find the best maps, suspension settings and gearing for riders under 140 pounds. We spend Thursday testing with rider from 180 to 200 pounds


Sports car racer and AMG Mercedes driving instructor Ernie Becker leans into MXA’s 2018 KTM 350SXF.

Rafael Rivera (129) floats across the sky on his way to the next section.

This is early in the morning because we can still see Ron Shuler’s hubs in this tight 180-degree hairpin.


Jody Weisel adjusts the booster air pressure in NK’s all-new, coil-spring, SFS suspended triple clamp. With coil springs in both bar mounts (and air pressure on one side), the new clamps are half the price of the current SFS twin air shock model. Yes, that is MXA’s 2017 Husky FC450 that Jody and Josh Fout used for testing.

This is one of Kurt Niceoll’s Champion MX riders. He’s from Sweden and that’s all we know. Oh yeah, his last name is Holder.

No day at the track is complete with the requisite photo of Ken Reed sleeping in his lawn chair. Kent is the Rip Van Winkle of SoCal motocross. Photo: Ernie Becker



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