“SATURDAY AT THE GLEN” MOTOCROSS RACE REPORT: MEET THE DEDICATED & DETERMINED (UPDATED)
Luc De Ley (82) got the holeshot on a GasGas MC250F in the combined Over-60 and Over-65 Expert class. Robert Reisinger (96) would win both motos of the Over-60 Experts with Luc De Ley second.
PHOTOS BY DEBBI TAMIETTI
The last three “Saturday at the Glen” motocross races were threatened by dire forecasts of massive rain storms, and yet on all three occasions Glen Helen managed to hold the races under threatening skies. This week’s “Saturday at the Glen” seem doomed to be canceled as every weather reporter in SoCal was predicting flooding, wild rivers, dangerous roads, high surf and every other calamity that can be blamed on rain. And, they had very good reason. All the weather forecasters had to do was look to the North to see the path of the atmospheric river headed straight for Glen Helen (and some other small towns like Los Angeles, Riverside, Laguna Beach and San Bernardino).
Last week Brian Medeiros was in Hawaii enjoying the warm weather and home cooking. This week he was winning the 250 Pro class in 50-degree weather.
Every Glen Helen regular assumed that “Saturday at the Glen,” and Sunday’s American Retrocross Vintage race and Old Timer’s Motocross club race would be canceled. But, the “Saturday at the Glen” racers are a hardy breed, they reminded Glen Helen’s track manager Lori Wilson that she didn’t cancel the last two races that were threatened by rain, and they both were successes. Lori agreed to wait until Friday morning before she pulled the plug. It looked grim, but on Friday she decided to hold the Saturday races—regardless of the weather forecast. Everybody knew it was going to rain, after all it had been raining in SoCal almost non-stop for weeks—the question was would the riders show up.
Josh Fout shows Luc De Ley (82) how big his lead is in the second rainy moto, but what’s unique about this photo is that Debbi’s shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the rain in motion.
Under very gray skies, the rider’s trucks pulled into the pits on Saturday morning. At first just the early arrivers, who are always in the pits an hour before practice, then another bunch, and other one and finally the late arrivers, who had called their friends at the track to see if it was raining. When they got the okay, they raced to the races. The track not only looked great, but it needed to be watered with the fire hoses before practice. Glen Helen wasn’t messing around. They knew that they had to start on time, combine as many classes as possible into the least number of gate drops and keep the program moving if they wanted to beat the storm.
Over-65 Expert winner Val Tamietti (31) was in such a rush to get to the starting line for moto two that he didn’t noticed that he put his jersey on backwards. Don’t be surprised if this starts a fashion trend.
Val post-race. Look in the background and you will see the longest distance photo bomb ever, courtesy of Mic Rodgers.
Jody Weisel (71) staying warm with three shirts, an underprotector and an insulating layer of fat.
Jody wasn’t upset when the rains finally came for the second set of motos, but he obviously wasn’t over-joyed either. However, he was well prepared.
Every rider had his own personal weather report. Some felt that it would start raining right after practice and that would be the end of it. A second group believed that it wouldn’t rain until 1:00 p.m. and, finally, the last group was sure that the races would get through the first set of motos before the rain started. The last guess was the correct one—one moment after the last rider pulled off the track from the first round of motos, it started to drizzle. Not enough to worry anyone—just enough of the warning about what was coming. Glen Helen shortened the motos by two laps to try to save five minutes with each race. The second motos went off on time. At first it was just a drizzle, but with each moto it got a little stronger. As the motos clicked off, it seemed to be working pretty well and it wasn’t until the final moto of the day that it started to rain, not hard, but persistent.
Joe Wilson (46) won the Over-50 Novice class with a 1-2, while Gary Taylor went 3-1 and Howard Tresville went 2-3. There are two unique things about this photo: (1) Joe’s numbers look like he got them off his mailbox and (2) see the photo below.
Swede Gustav Gustafsson (46) finished second in the Over-30 Novice class, but must have driven by in the night and stole the numbers off the other side Joe Wilson’s mailbox. Actually, Joe lent his spare bike to the Gustav, who is from Avesta, Sweden (about 110 miles northwest of Stockholm).
The racers were thrilled. They had gotten to race, when no one else in SoCal could (in fact, Sunday’s American Retrocross Vintage race and the Old Timers Motocross were both canceled. The happy riders loaded up their trucks, and forgot about the normal bull sessions after he races and pulled out of the pits, remembering at the last second to turn right at the front gate, because the normal road into Glen Helen had been closed two weeks ago after it was flooded out. Glen Helen had been using a narrow back road through the prison grounds to stay open. By the time the trucks hit the freeway it was raining for real.
Randel Fout (34) only made it through practice before he realized that a shoulder injury he sustained on the job the day before was not motocross friendly.
How much did it rain on Saturday after the races? 2.41 inches (plus another 1.37 inches on Sunday). That rain pushed the total for this official rain season to 17.33 inches. Given that Glen Helen only averages 15 inches of rain per year, and it had already exceeded that amount by January 14, this looks like a very rainy year. But, no worries, the “Saturday at the Glen” racers seem to be able to out-predict the weathermen.
Japanese motocross coach Kenjiro Tsuji with his two students, who he hopes to train to race Loretta Lynns later this year. The kids got awards for their wins and the coach got a bag of oranges.
Aoki Takagi (55) won the 85cc class with a 1-1. The Japanese riders are staying at Jim Holley’s house.
Shoma Nagasawa (66) made it a double win for Japan by winning the 65cc class and finishing just behind 85 winner Aoki Takagi.
If you don’t think you can race because your CRF450 is five years old, take a look at David Cincotta (861). There are no vintage classes at “Saturday at the Glen.” David won the Over-50 Intermediate class on his 43-year-old 1980 Yamaha YZ465.
Weston Wondolleck (125) braved the rains in a flannel shirt and won the 7-t0-8 year old Pee Wee class.
Axell Middleton (135) was the lone Pee-Wee rider on a Yamaha PW50, but what it lacked in speed, Axell more than made up for in determination.
Bob Rutten (83) travels from his home in New Harmony, Utah, to his job at Ame Grips in Las Vegas and then on to SoCal to race with his buddies in the Over-65 Expert class. Bob went 2-3, but ended up third overall when Will Harper (7) went 3-2. Val Tamietti won with a 1-1 (backwards jersey and all).
Believe it or not, Steven Chandler (306) was fourth in the Over-65 Experts, but that’s not the hard part to believe. What is? Steven also drives in from New Harmony, Utah.
“Dentist to the Stars” Marc Crosby won the first moto of the Over-65 Intermediates, but at the start of the second moto a rider fell in front of him, taking Marc down. He charged through the field to get to third at the checkers, but his 1-3 not only lost to Mic Rodger’s 3-1, but also to Frank Emerson’s 2-2.
Randy Skinner (72) took the win in the Over-60 Intermediate class with a 3-1. Note the decomposed granite cliffs in the background as Randy jumps through the sand section.
Josh Fout (32) switched to a GasGas MC250 two-stroke this week. He won the Over-30 Expert class. Note the rock buried in the sand.
Polish rider Arek Kruk (79) must have loved the cool wet weather as he streaked away to win the Over-50 Expert class with ease.
Ian Fitz-Gibbon (21x) went 3-4 for fourth in the Over-50 Experts, while his brother Paul went 4-5 for fifth in the Over-60 Intermediates.
Leum Oehloff is the son of former AMA Pro Joe Oehloff. He was blazing fast on his way to the win in the 250 Intermediate class.
The Over-60 Experts were the last race of the day and the track was starting to get a little soupy. Robert Reisinger rails his 2023 Husky FC350 around the outside berm in the big 180-degree turn out back.
This may look like Robert Reisinger, but kids grow up fast. This is Nick Reisinger on his dad’s back-up 2023 Husqvarna FC350
Stephen Moore (45) sends a rock spinning off his rear wheel as he jumps through the sand in the Bud’s Creek section of Glen Helen. Bud’s Creek is not used as part of the National track any more, but has been incorporated in the Arroyo Saturday track. Moore won the Over-40 Intermediate class.
Hollywood stunt coordinator Mic Rodgers notched a win in the Over-65 Intermediates with a 3-1.
Denver Ethridge went 1-1 in the 250 Novices on what appears to be a brand-new Honda CRF250.
Over-40 Expert winner Jason Klements (911) and Over-50 Intermediate winner David Cincotta (861) both have legs flying.
Lamont Dusseau (217) took the Over-40 Novice victory.
Hayden Herman (413) swept both moto of the Over-30 Novice class in front of Gustav Gustafsson and David Kennedy.
Bill Reimer (71) went 5-4 in the Over-60 Intermediate class. Here, he passes David Kennedy (13).
Kent Reed (491) came back from a long lay-off and showed competitive speed on his KTM 300SX two-stroke, but faded late in the both motos.
Bill Seifert (37) on an amazingly clean 2023 GasGas MC350F in the Over-65 class.
Parker Trunnell (388) grabs some air on his way to third in the 7-to-8 year old Pee-Wee class.
Dylan Hyde (522) took his Marty-Smith-inspired Honda CR125 to second in the 125 Beginner class.
When the race was over and the pits were empty, the rains came and cut big ruts in the hills and even generated a few running streams of water. But, by then, the racers had completed what they came to do.
“Saturday at the Glen” motocross will race again January 21 and three weekends in February. 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 (or just show up in person on race day). For more info go to www.glenhelen.com
2023 “SATURDAY AT THE GLEN” SCHEDULE
Jan. 14…Winter Series #1 (Arroyo Vet track)
Jan. 21…Winter Series #2 (Arroyo Vet track)
Feb. 4…Winter Series #3 (Arroyo Vet track)
Feb. 11…Winter Series #4 (Arroyo Vet track)
Feb. 25…Winter Series #5 (National track)
Mar. 18…Spring Series #1 & Pasha 125 Open (National track)
Mar. 25…Spring Series #2 (Arroyo Vet track)
Apr. 15…Spring Series #3 (Arroyo Vet track)
Apr. 22…Spring Series #4 (Arroyo Vet track)
May 13…Spring Series #5 (National track)
June 3…Summer Series #1 (Arroyo Vet track)
June 17…Summer Series #2 (Arroyo Vet track)
June 24…Summer Series #3 (Arroyo Vet track)
July 15…Summer Series #4 (Arroyo Vet track)
July 29….Summer Series #5 (National track)
Aug. 19…Fall Series #1 (Arroyo Vet track)
Aug. 26…Fall Series #2 (Arroyo Vet track)
Sept. 16…Fall Series #3 (Arroyo Vet track)
Sept. 23…Fall Series #4 (Arroyo Vet track)
Sept. 30…Fall Series #5 (National track)
Oct. 21…Winter Series #1 (Arroyo Vet track)
Oct. 28…Winter Series #2 (National track)
Nov.3-5…World Vet Championship (National track)
Nov. 18..Winter Series #3 (Arroyo Vet track)
Dec. 9…Winter Series #4 (Arroyo Vet track)
Dec. 16..Winter Series #5 (National track)