THE LAST HURRAH! LONGSHOTS, SURPRISE APPEARANCES & A NEW #1 AT REM GLEN HELEN
PHOTOS BY DAN ALAMANGOS, JON ORTNER, ERNIE BECKER & JODY WEISEL
After a long, but abbreviated, 2020 season the REM racers gathered on their hillside track, just above the Glen Helen National track for one final get-together before they put on period on the end of the 2020 REM Motocross season. For most of the riders it was just a footnote on a season that had been interrupted by the pandemic in the Spring only to spring back to life by Summer. But for two riders, former AME number one Pro Will Harper at Indian Dunes and former AMA Pro and Kawasaki test rider Robert Reisinger, it was the final showdown of a series-long battle to earn the most points of any rider at Glen Helen Raceway in 2020. They raced in one of the toughest classes at REM—the Over-60 Expert class. That may not sound all the tough to riders outside of SoCal, but the Over-60 Expert class at Glen Helen is full of former AMA Pros and is often the most jam-packed class of the day—and the big points come from winning the largest and toughest classes. Being the Number One rider comes with perks and prizes, but most of all it comes with a sense of satisfaction (and a little regret over races they may have missed when real life got in the way in 2020).
At the final race of the year, the two old Pros were not interested in being remembered for what they accomplished in life after their professional racing days. Will Harper was and is a successful Hollywood stuntman from one of Tinsel Town’s elite stuntman families, while Robert Reisinger went on to design his own full suspension mountain bike, the Mountain Cycle San Andreas, that put him in the “Mountain Bike Hall of Fame” (he also works at 6D helmets where he helped pioneer the ground-breaking and industry changing 6D ATR-1 and ATR-2 helmets). Like little kids, they wanted to win the REM Number One plate, and the points race had come down to this one final showdown.
Will Harper played it safe at the final race to secure the Number One plate (which no REM Number One rider in the 31-year history of the series has every worn on his bike). See the pavement in the background? This week’s REM track actually crossed over it halfway though each lap.
But there were surprises in store for Will and Robert on the big day. First of all, the arrival of Pete Murray at the final race meant that gathering points had suddenly become tougher. Pete Murray is a four-time World Vet Champion with the Over-40 Pro title in 2000, Over-50 Pro crown in 2012 and the Over-60 Expert Championship in both 2019 and 2020. Even though Murray showed up with a YZ125 two-stroke, he was definitely going to take points away from Harper and Reisinger. And he did! Coming from the kind of start that 125’s get against 450s, Murray sliced his way from 10th to first in both motos—winning easily. Robert Reisinger, who needed every available point, led until Murray showed up in second place, and even when Murray went by, Reisinger hung with him for as long as he could, but eventually had to let Pete go. Reisinger’s second, followed by Zaca Station’s Ed Guajardo in third, was also dampened by Will Harper’s safe and sane fourth place in both motos.
Harper knew that as long as he didn’t fall out of the top eight, the the crown would be his. And with a 4-4 day, Will Harper won the Number One plate that he had set out of win back in January. Pete Murray, of course, won both motos with Ed Guajardo second with a 3-2 to Reisinger’s disappointing third with a 2-3.
Will Harper (7) does his title hopes good with a second moto holeshot, but he would be passed by Ed Guajardo (27), Robert Reisinger (96) and eventual class winner Pete Murray (7) before the moto was over. But, Harper was counting points in his head.
All of the classes rose to the occasion. In the Over-60 Intermediate class, former Saddleback Pro Luc DeLey went 1-1, but behind him three riders tied on points for second. They all had 6 points, with John Bosanko’s 4-2 beating out Stephen Braseny’s 3-3 and Marc Crosby’s 2-4.
MXA test riders Brian Medeiros (934) and Josh Fout (64) fly in tandem early in the 450 Pro race. It has to be a thrill for Josh Fout, who started 2020 in the Novice class, to be able to keep the Pros in sight 12 months later.
The Pro class was an interesting battle between Kurt Nicoll, Brian Medeiros and Todd Sibell. Nicol was giving up 25 years to his younger competitors, but the former Grand Prix star and KTM team manager gave them no quarter. Todd Sibell was on fire and would not be denied. He took the 450 Pro win with a 1-1 over MXA’s Brian Mederios’ 2-2 (Brian is just coming back from a broken finger that amazingly enough the doctor had plated with what looked like tiny master links).
Following in the wake of the three fast Pros was MXA’s Josh Fout, who was put in the the Pro class even though he was signed up in the Vet Intermediate class. Fout, who’s speed has doubled in 2020 (which he started in the 450 Novice class), drafted his way up to fourth overall in the combined 450 Pro, Vet Pro and 250 Intermediate class. He would come back later in the program to win the 450 Open class on MXA’s 2021 KTM 450XCF cross-country model (the class is called the Open class because it is open to all skill levels from Novice to Pro as an extra class).
THE WINNERS AND THEIR MINION
Over-50 Expert: John Griffin has had the hot hand as of late in the Over-50 Expert class. His 1-1 bested Johnny Benskin’s 2-2, Bryan Friday’s 3-4, Joe Sutter’s 6-3, Mike Davis’ 4-7, Dan Alamangos’ 8-5, Robert Pocius’ 7-6 and Pasha Afshar’s 5-8.
Over-50 Intermediate: Bill Reimer used a 2-1 to beat Lonnie Paschal’s 1-4, Chris Cole’s 4-2 and Pete Anagnos’ 3-3.
Over-50 Novice: Russell Brown went 1-1 in front of Eric Barr (2-2) and Bob Morales (3-3).
Over-40 Novice: Robin Hall had a perfect score in front of Lamont Dusseau and Gary Taylor.
450 Novice: Geremy Patterson took the win in front of Chris Hyden and Ryan Ogan.
250 Novice: Draven Lamb went 1-1 to James Bentuccini’s 2-2 and Isaiah Wilson’s 3-3.
Over-65 Intermediate: REM does not have an Over-70 class, but half of the Over-65 Intermediate class is made up of riders born before 1950. Gene Boere took the win with a 1-1.
Women: Samantha Ogan took both motos of the Women’s class with Gabiella Sanchez second and Sonya Seale third.
Vet Novice: Bo Williams swept both motos in front of a top three of Dennis Feeney and Mark Taylor.
REM GLEN HELEN NUMBER ONE RIDERS (1989-2020)
(Active riders in bold)
1989 …Curtis Jablonski
1990 …Robert Failing
1991 …Robert Failing
1992 …Jeff Van Camp
1993 …Todd McKay
1994 …George Kohler
1995 …Alan Olson
1996 …George Kohler
1997 …Alan Olson
1998 …Jody Weisel
1999 …Dennis Boulware
2000 …Rich Eierstedt
2001 …Randy Skinner
2002 …Bengt Johansson
2003 …George Kohler
2004 …Billy Musgrave
2005 …Mark Crosby
2006 …Tim Murphy
2007 …Dennis McAdam
2008 …Dennis Boulware
2009 …Dennis Boulware
2010 …Dennis Boulware
2011 …Ray Pisarski
2012 …Randy Skinner
2013 …Jon Ortner
2014 …Jon Ortner
2015 …Jon Ortner
2016 …Tom Holmes
2017 …Val Tamietti
2018 …Val Tamietti
2019 …Dave Eropkin
2020 …Will Harper