“SATURDAY AT THE GLEN” RACE REPORT: WAITING FOR A BUS THAT NEVER CAME!

Sean Lipanovich (505) won the 450 class, but it wasn’t easy as he had to come from behind in the first moto and get the win on a tie-breaker with his 2-1 score besting Preston Tilford’s 1-2.

PHOTOS BY DEBBI TAMIETTI & RICH STUELKE

Racers and fans outside of SoCal always ask how Glen Helen can afford to refuse to hold AMA Nationals, while other tracks are depending on the National to help balance their books. The truth is that Glen Helen loves to hold AMA Nationals, but not if the deal put in front of them is less than favorable. How can they give up such a big payday? That’s easy, if the deal isn’t structured right, holding a National can be a big money loser.  Plus, not everybody understands how big Glen Helen’s profile is in the California racing circle.

Preston Tilford (491) has been steadily improving in hopes to racing the Nationals next season.

Take this past weekend as an example. On Saturday there was a “Saturday at the Glen” motocross on the former REM track, an Over-The-Hill-Gang race on the National track and a GBC UTV/Quad/Trophy Kart race on the truck track. Then on Sunday, the SoCal Old Timers were on the National track and American Retrocross held a vintage race on the back track. That is five races at Glen Helen on one weekend in September. Add that up for 12 months and that is over 200 events a year—not counting the World Vet Championship, Day in the Dirt, Travis Pastrana’s Rallycross, Great American short course races, Tough Mudder, 6 Hour of Glen Helen, 24-Hours of Glen Helen, Old School Scrambles and the Wiseco World Two-Stroke Championship.

Casey Casper (280) rolls the throttle off to get the front wheel of his 2023 Kawasaki KX450 back on the ground on his way to third overall in the 450 Pro class.

Add in the fact that Pro Circuit has two Supercross tracks at Glen Helen or that the factory teams and/or R&D departments rent it on open weekdays and you have one busy place. This week the racers were told that the Glen Helen Pavillion was going to hold a concert and they wanted to drive through the upper pits in shuttle buses to get the concert staff, support personnel, roadies, vendors and sponsors in the back way. So, they asked the “Saturday at the Glen” racers to not block the road that goes from the upper pit, across the Triple Step-Up landing  and up a one-mile paved road to what used to be called Blockbuster Pavillion. Every rider graciously made room for the shuttle buses, but they never came. It turns out that Glen Helen Pavillion was hosting a rave with Kid Rock and it didn’t start until dark.

Max Groom’s 4-4 got him, you guessed it, fourth overall in the 450 Pros. Here, he is under attack by Vet Pro winner Dennis Stapleton (184).

As always “Saturday at the Glen” went off without hitch. They gave everyone long motos on a well prepped track, with challenging terrain (and for the fourth straight race there were new sections added to the track layout—but because of the possible appearance of shuttle buses, the track couldn’t cross the paved road to get to the sand section, so that was eliminated). What follows is Debbi Tamietti’s photos of the notable riders at this past weekend’s “Saturday at the Glen” motocross

MXA’s Dennis Stapleton switched to a GasGas MC450F as he readies himself to race the Over-40 Pro class at the World Vet Championships in November

A BRIEF PHOTO HISTORY OF SEAN LIPANOVICH’S FIRST 450 PRO MOTO

Take a quick trip with us through the first two minutes of Sean Lipanovich’s first 450 Pro moto. Here, Sean (505) has a big jump out of the gate. Photo: Rich Stuelke

Of course, with a such a big holeshot and a Dunlop MX14 scoop rear tire, Sean got to the banked first turn in the lead. Behind Sean are Preston Tilford (491), Casey Casper (280), 250 Pro Broc Loftus (24), Dennis Stapleton (184) and 250 Pro winner Brian Medeiros (934) Photo: Rich Stuelke

However, two turns later, in the steeply banked Mini-Talladega turn, the flaw of the MX14 rear tire rears it’s head, as the tall knobs of the sand tire broke loose on the hard- packed banking and sent Sean down. Photo: Rich Stuelke

Preston Tilford has no where to go, but over Sean’s KTM. Sean beats a hasty retreat towards the safety of the infield. Photo: Rich Stuelke

With the pack gone, Sean remounts his KTM 450SXF and starts out after them. He couldn’t catch Tilford, but in the next 20 minutes he passed his way up to second overall — which made the overall win possible. Photo: Rich Stuelke

AN ODE TO THE OLD GUYS..WHO WERE ONCE YOUNG AND STUPID

Like almost everyone else in the older classes at “Saturday at the Glen,” Pete Murray was another rider putting in the time before the World Vet. Pete raced both the Over-50 and Over-60 Expert classes—and won all four motos. Here, he is being chased by Luther French.

Pasha Afshar (L7) has been busy building three KTM 150SX two-strokes for the $10,000 Over-30 and Over-50 “Pasha 125 Open” classes at the World Vet. Pasha is even sponsoring a special World Vet 125 two-stroke warm-up race on October 1 at “Saturday at the Glen.” It pays a $5000 purse to the 125 Pros.

Ernie Becker (81) can’t be at the 2022 World Vet Championship because he has to be at a Trans-Am sport’s car race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) that weekend. Ernie won the Over-50 Intermediate class.

While Pete Murray was long gone on his way to victory in the Over-60 Expert class, Ed Guajardo (27) and Robert Reisinger (96) engage in another all-out war for second place. It does appear that Ed has jumped out of the rut he was in to block Robert’s attempt to go around the outside. In the end, Guajardo’s 3-2  took the runner-up spot with Luc DeLey third with a 4-3. Reisinger crashed a couple times in the second moto and went 2-6 for fourth.

Luc De Ley (82), on a 2023 GasGas MC250F, had a good day and beat Dave Eropkin’s 5-4 with a 4-3. It was the first time that De Ley managed to defeat Dave since Luc made his return to racing after a multi-year lay-off from his Saddleback Pro days.

After Mike Monaghan (L7) blew a head gasket on his YZ125, for the second race in a row, Pasha lent Mike one of this KTM 150SXs for the second moto of the Over-60 Experts. Mike got a 5th in that moto to go with the 7th he got in the first moto on the 2023 Honda CRF450 that he borrowed.

The best thing about the Over-60 Intermediate class is that they stay together and fight for their place. Here, Bill Reimer (71), Arnie Davis (119) and Randy Skinner go three-wide, with Jim Hanson (83) looking for an opening.  Randy Skinner would take the win with a 2-1 score. Photo: Rich Stuelke

Bruce Ashmore (111) had a good start in the first Over-60 Intermediate moto and scored a 5th. In the second moto, Bruce got a bad start and finished 9th.

This is the battle in the middle of the Over-60 Intermediate pack. Luckily, there are enough possible lines on the track to support the rider’s willingness to go where they ain’t.

Over-60 Intermediate action sees Jim Hanson (83) in front of Marc Crosby (42) on the inside part of the double-lane section, while Russel Brown (61) takes the outside line.

Val Tamietti took the Over-65 Expert win on his Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke. Here, Val sets up Will Harper (7) by cutting under him as they head out back. When they came back into view, Val was in front.

Bob Rutten (83) went 2-2, but said that he couldn’t match the pace of Tamietti. However, he has many times in the past.

Bryan Roberts (4) swept both motos of the Over-50 Novice class in front of a top five of Scott Murphy (2-3), Don Myron (4-2), Joe Wilson (3-4) and Rodrigo Luna (5-5).

Robert Kuhry (1) took the 125 Expert class win on his YZ125, but was beaten by 125 Intermediate Brennen Watson on a KTM 85SX.

Jet Bushnell (31) leads the 125 Beginner class, while his mother Alison Bushnell goes down behind him. This was Alison’s first race back since breaking her leg and separating her shoulder two months ago. She is fast enough to win the Over-40 Intermediate class, but elected to race the Women’s class so she could take it easy in her first race back. She was not injured in this crash and won her class.

Jesse Sorenson (it looks like a 14, but it’s actually a 19) came to “Saturday at the Glen” for his first race in 30 years. His son, Gavin Sorenson, was so excited that his dad came out to race with him. Jesse was second in the Over-60 Novice class, while Gavin was second in the 250 Novice class.

Rich Rutigliano used to race at REM before he moved to the East Coast 20 years ago. He’s back in SoCal and came to “Saturday at the Glen” to pick up where he left off. Don’t let this little miscue fool you. Rich got up and finished the day with a 4-4 in the Over-40 Novices. 

THE YOUNGER SET: MINIS, PEE-WEES & PW50S

Kasey Shelton (34) flew to victory in the 85cc class on a KTM.

Max Cooper (89) churns up some roost and rocks on his way to fifth in the 85cc class.

Easton Grant (33) finished third in the 65cc class, while his brother Wyatt (27) was second in the 85cc class. They have identical styles over this drop-off.

Carson Stevenson (133) took the overall victory in the 4-t0-6 year old 50cc Pee-Wee class.

Connor Berglin (77) went 8-4 for fifth overall in the PW50 Pee-Wee class. “Saturday at the Glen” has a separate class for PWs and small XRs.

FAREWELL TO A FRIEND..AT LEAST UNTIL THE WORLD VET CHAMPIONSHIP

Robbie Carpenter took over the flagging duties at Glen Helen and has been a more than worthy successor to the late Monte Lee. Now, Robbie is moving to North Carolina, so this “Saturday at the Glen” was his last time waving the checkered flag—although Glen Helen has asked him to come back in November for the World Vet to handle the starting line duties.

THIS WEEK’S SELECTED WINNERS

450 Experts…Sean Lipanovich (KTM)
250 Experts…Brian Medeiors (Suz)
Over-40 Experts: Shawn Bushnell (Hus)
Over-50 Experts: Pete Murray (Yam)
Over-60 Experts: Pete Murray (Yam)
Over-65 Experts: Val Tamietti (Yam)
450 Intermediates: Geza Simon (Hon)
Over-30 Intermediates: Caleb Rice (Hus)
Over-40 Intermediates: Stephen Moore (KTM)
Over-50 Intermediates: Ernie Becker (Gas)
Over-60 Intermediates: Randy Skinner (Gas)
Over-65 Intermediates: Phil Cruz (Hus)
Over-30 Novices: Mark Taylor (Yam)
Over-40 Novices: Casey Musick (Hon)
Over-50 Novices: Bryan Roberts (Hon)
Over-60 Novices: Chuck Peterson (Hon)
250 Novices: Justin Giordano (Yam)
250 Beginner: Mathieu Erwich(Hus)
450 Beginner…Jed Luna (Yam)
125 Expert…Robert Kuhrey (Yam)
125 Novice…Farzam Marzi (KTM)
125 Beginner…Angel Vargas (KTM)
Women… Alison Bushnell (Hus)
85 Beginner: Adrian Canela (Yam)
85 Class: Brennen Watson (KTM)
65 Class: Kasey Shelton (KTM)
65 Beginner: Josh Tamayo (KTM)
Pee-Wee (4 to 6)…Carson Stevenson (Hus)
Pee-Wee (7-to-8)…Bryson Rowney (KTM)
Pee-Wee (PW/XR)…Benjamin Bojorquez (Yam)

“Saturday at the Glen” motocross will race again on October 1, October 15, October 22, October 29, November 12, November 19, December 3 and December 10. Pre-entry is only $30 ($25 for minis). Post entry is $40 ($30 for minis) on the day of the race. The Gate fee is $10 (per person). You can sign up for the next “Saturday at the Glen” motocross as late as the Friday before the next race. For more info go to www.glenhelen.com

“SATURDAY AT THE GLEN” PLUS—PASHA 125 OPEN TWO-STROKE RACE ON OCTOBER 1

“SATURDAY AT THE GLEN” WORLD VET WARM-UP RACE ON OCTOBER 29

 

 

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