_dsc5659-60plus-intermediateThis chicane was the result of running the REM track backwards and upside down.

By Kyoshi Becker

All rise…REM is back in session. Second gate your honor? Indeed. We returned from the two week break to a completely new track. The direction was reversed and many of the obstacles dramatically changed. REM is one of the few (if not only) tracks to undergo wild adjustments between most weekends. One could argue the regulars get more variety in track layouts than a traveling series. While this track didn’t take you to the top of the hill, it was technical and twisted. It also seemed rockier. That was the result of moving as much dirt as they did. Often the surface gets painstakingly cleaned only for buried boulders to surface once ripped. California dirt is still hardpacked, however. Areas that aren’t watered or watered poorly, may as well be rocks.

_dsc5297-crashSandwich crash in aisle eight. That’s Jim O’Neal trapped under two bikes.

There was plenty of action on the track and the flaggers couldn’t keep on top of it all. Suzuki’s Tim Olson was among the industry pros to make it out and bang bars. The worst crash of the day happened off the track though. There is a fire access road at Glen Helen that runs from the track entrance to the amphitheater on the north end of the park. Near the end there is an S curve. The rider who crashed was goofing around on a CR250 and lost control of his bike. Based on where the skidmark was to where he landed, he probably went 50 feet out and 30 feet down. The races were halted as we went out to help him out of an embankment he had flown into. Luckily there were ambulances within a stone’s throw distance away. The concert at the amphitheater featured a freestyle event, so we summoned one of their ambulances to whisk him to a hospital. We also witnessed an event rarer than a comet appearance. Jody took a tumble and acquired some scrapes and bruises in the process.

Were we at Glen Helen Thursday? Nein! Ja! Daryl Ecklund left for Italy to get his paws on a custom set of boots at Alpinestars. Afterwards, he went to MXDN. He is still on the trip making a few more stops in the process. John Basher will be joining him on the last leg. As for the rest of the wrecking crew? Jody was at Glen Helen on Thursday, but he just came out to talk to the Husky and KTM tech guys and bring a bike out for clothing magnate Jim O’Neal to try. Dennis Stapleton has been preparing for a race this coming weekend that will be South of the Border (way South of the Border).

_dsc5473-dalton-shirleyDesert and GNCC Pro Dalton Shirley isn’t afraid to moto.

_dsc5507-braden-onealBraden O’Neal is the grandson of Jim O’Neal. He wouldn’t be caught dead in any other brand of gear.

_dsc5575-eugene-boereEugene Boere (62v) and Tony Parsons (68) are a small part of REM’s massive KTM contingent. How serious are they? They both have $3400 Cone Valve forks.

_dsc5641Jody always jokes that he crashed once in 1976 and didn’t like it—so he didn’t do it anymore. That wasn’t true on Saturday, when he had a big get-off on the back straight. “I still don’t like it,” he said.

_dsc5380-dalton-shirleyDalton Shirley attempts a pass on Brent Rouse.
_dsc5981-willy-simonds-1We haven’t seen Willy Simons, Jr. in a while. The last time we saw him at REM he was a 250 Intermediate. Now he’s a 250 Pro and walked away with the win.

_dsc5981-willy-simonds-2KTM’s David O’Connor and Gary Scott inspect a brake lever design by ARC’s Bob Barnett.

_dsc6186-brian-pinepple-medeirosBrian Medeiros raced his YZ250 smoker hard.

_dsc6186-dennis-stapletonDennis Stapleton wasn’t feeling up to par. He raced anyway as he is preparing for a Pro race next week in the Dominican Republic this coming weekend.

_dsc6267-kent-reedKent Reed kept his holeshot record alive.

_dsc6317-jon-ortnerJon Ortner always finds someone to battle with.


_dsc4727Supercross privateer and MXA test rider Johnny Jelderda tests out one of his painted helmets while qualifying for the mayor’s race.

What do motocrossers occupy themselves with when they aren’t racing or riding? We can’t kid anyone, we are always on dirt bikes. Extra curricular activities do exist, however. We ride road bikes, mountain bikes and race go-karts. If you’ve followed my column, you probably have figured out I like karting and race the local indoor MB2 course. Far above that is the premiere “Superkarts! USA Pro Tour” a series which puts top talent in the fastest karts possible. Powerful engines, 70 miles an hour speeds and soft sticky tires are just some of the perks these pro machines feature. Did I mention that all of these are smokers? Music to the ears and lots of premix smoke mark each event; nary a rumble from a single thumper.

Every year the series makes a stop in Lancaster, California. This is the last race before the championship final in Las Vegas. Hosted by the City of Lancaster, “Streets of Lancaster” literally takes over the city streets for three days of racing mayhem. Along with the pro races, the City of Lancaster puts on a few races where sponsors and key players in the event come out to ride. MXA test rider Johnny Jelderda works for Trinity, the company that makes the event banners. He put his racing skills to good use as he represented his company in the Mayors Race. He couldn’t win it, however. He painted the helmets for the winners to take home. Jelderda made his cake, but couldn’t eat it too.

An observation: flaggers in road racing are performers. Flagging is a complete art form with highly choreographed waves, bunts and snaps. The checkered flag dance is wild and animated. You don’t miss a yellow flag. Or a black one. Or a blue one. In motocross we barely can tell if the flag is up no matter the size of the event. In a weird twist of irony, many riders misinterpreted the flags at the REM race this weekend. A few riders pulled off thinking the checkers were flying when they weren’t.

_dsc6417-1These karts corner much faster than you would believe they could.

_dsc6335Premix smoke makes the air thick.

_dsc6364The leader has a big target on his back.

_dsc7029Working man Jelderda cornering in the Mayors Race.

_dsc7549Former MXA test rider and now professional kart racer Billy Musgraves wasn’t willing to lose a point and pushed his dead kart to a photo finish. He started the race on the pole, but the loss ended his championship hopes, putting him 24 points behind the leader. A little backstory, he used to be an up-and-coming motocross pro, but in a twist of fate a karting injury ended his moto career. He switched to kart full-time when he healed up.

_dsc7593Attempting to put the disappointing X30 Senior main behind him, Billy Musgrave thought he would have better luck in the S1 class. His spindle bearing wouldn’t let him have it.

_dsc8126My racing buddy, Luke Duncan, smoked the heat race but was caught up in a crash at the Mayors Race. He would settle for fourth.

_dsc8378Remember where I mentioned these were two-strokes?

_dsc8386Another massive pipe. They actually block off the power valve assembly because shifter kart engines have no need for low-end power.

_dsc8932The rush of winning a main.

_dsc9642Every man for himself in the combined champagne celebration.



El Hombre can now relate to Trey Canard. When he was least expecting it, he got landed on after winning the second moto of the MXDN. Luckily, Anderson was later cleared from the Italian hospital with no major injuries. His comments on the weekend and ordeal stated “I was really excited coming to this race to represent the US. After posting the fastest time in free practice I had a bit of bad luck in qualifying. I got hit from behind in the first turn and ended up hurting my leg. I decided to race on Sunday despite this injury. My first race went pretty well from the get go. I got the holeshot and started pulling away from the field. Midway through the race Herlings caught up and we had a pretty good battle for a couple of laps before he went down. After that I was just coasting to the finish to get the win. I was really excited to cross the line first but right after that I felt another bike landing on me. We’ve got everything checked out and I’m going to be OK. It’s just a bit of a bummer I couldn’t get out there in the last moto to help Team USA battle for the win.”



_dsc0207_usgp_antonio-tony-cairoli_glen-helen-2016Few riders can claim eight championships in any series, let alone the FIM World Championships. Tony Cairoli can. The Red Bull KTM rider is one of the few to dominate year after year and is two championships short of catching up to Stefan Everts’ record of 10 titles. While new talent has crept in to take the 2015 and 2016 championship, Cairoli still is fighting near the top and has no plans of retiring soon. This year he finished second in the championship, still proving he has the fire to contend for another title…or two.

Total Starts: 36 (18 Races, two motos per race)
Total Overall Podiums: 8
Total Overall Wins: 2
Total Moto Wins: 4
Total GP Points Earned: 647


de__4091The Frenchmen celebrated their win in the shortest professional championship of 2016.

MXDN: Team France. (Romain Fevbre, Gautier Paulin and Benoit Paturel).
MXDN 450 Class: Tony Cairoli.
MXDN 250 Class: Jeremy Van Horebeek.
MXDN Open Class: Jeffrey Herlings.




IMG_0004-1Old-style leather boots are simple and functional.


_d200031Who will get the holeshot?

When photographing a race it is easy to get caught in the rush of things. Get photos out. Get scores up. When I was on the receiving end, I was hungry for results. What happened? Who crashed? Did Cole Seely get a podium? Blame it on not having a television and the terrible TV schedule, but even in the era of live streaming some people have to wait for the recap videos. Working the event is different. The mad rush to get good content out often has a lot of good content overlooked. That was the case with the above photo. I was going through my bag and found an extra memory card. Curious as to what was on it, I downloaded it to discover even more pictures from the Glen Helen National.


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