Honda Motorcycle tests
Brett Hottel won the 450 Pro class with a solid ride. He won the first moto by passing Bryce Stewart on the last lap and recovered from a collision with Stewart in moto two to get second for a 1-2 victory.
The 450 Pro race was a slam-bam affair as Bryce Stewart, Brett Hottel, John Van Den Henvel and British rider Jake Preston traded places and paint in a skirmish that would see Brett Hottel take the victory with a 1-2. The Brit, Preston, took advantage of a collision that saw Hottel and Stewart bumped out of the way to win the second moto and take second with a 3-1. Bryce Stewart had great speed, but bad luck as he ended the day with a 2-4.
Great Britain's Jake Preston's 3-1 was good enough for second overall in the 450 Pro class.
In an equally intense battle, 250 Intermediates James Gardiner and Dean Spangler engaged in hand-to-hand combat all day long. It not only raged for four moto, but started in practice. It was Spangler’s two-stroke against Gardiner’s four-stroke and the two were never more than a few bike lengths apart. At the end of the day, Gardiner won the war in 250 Intermediates and Spangler got his revenge in the Open Intermediates.
Bryce Stewart looked like he had the speed to win the day in the 450 Pros, but he let his guard down late in moto oneand got passed by Brett Hottel and in moto two he fell. Bryce came back to 4th. Stewart's 2-4 was good enough for third overall.
The Vet Intermediate race was equally exciting as Todd Gravitt, Rick Richards, Brian Stoner and John Basher found themselves mixed in with the Pros and Intermediates. They fought among themselves and with riders in other classes in a spirited battle. Todd Gravitt was the eventual winner among the four.
MXA's Dennis Stapleton chases Italian Lorenzo Brogi early in moto one. Stapleton was doing test duties on the 2013 Honda CRF450 and Yoshimura RS-9 pipes. Stapleton would win the Vet Pro class and finish in the top four in the 450 Pros.
In the feel good story of the day, four Over-50 Novices made a pact to all move up to the much faster Over-50 Intermediate class on the same day – and this was the day!
And they earned their stripes with solid rides, but none of them cracked the top six. Jeff Mason was the best of the transplants with a 8-7 day in front of fellow Novice-turned-Intermediate Jeff Scott (11-8). Greg Groom, who's reputation at REM is based on creative, if slightly illegal, line choices, cleared up his act this week. Surprise, he was unbeatable when he put his mind to it. Groom went 1-1 in front of Randy Skinner’s 3-2, Joe Sutter’s 2-3, Jeff Fahy’s 4-4 and Steve Watson’s 6-5.
Kuwaiti racer Khaled Ansane came to REM to get his first American racing experience. One of only 35 motocrossers in Kuwait, Khaled had never ridden on hills before–because Kuwait is flat and sandy. He had a few falls, but acquitted himself well in the 450 Novice class.
With so many escapees from the Over-50 Novice class, Brian Underdahl had an easy 1-1 day in front of Brian Martin (2-2), on his brand new Yamaha YZ250F, and Westly Peterson (4-3).
In other news, George Kohler, a former Over-30 Expert, Over-40 Expert and Over-50 Expert, turned 60-years-old on Thursday and immediately moved out of the 50 class. Kohler made his Over-60 Expert debut with an easy victory over a top three of Tom Holmes and Jody Weisel. Swedish rider Bengt Johansson had a 5-4 day for fourth and Ray Pisarski rounded out the top five with a 4-7.
Jon Orther (52), Dave Eropkin (811) and Steve Lawler (4) may be over the age of 50, but they flat out haul. Ortner went 1-1, Eropkin 4-3 and Lawler 6-2.
With the World Vet Motocross Championship only three weeks away, the Over-50 Expert class has started to heat up as of late. Jon Ortner and Steve Lawler were the class of the field, but Lawler’s big crash late in the first moto relegated him to a 6-2 day to Ortner’s 1-1. Dave Eropkin and LightSpeed’s Willie Amaradio are engaging in a friendly grudge match... and they seemed evenly matched as Eropkin went 4-3 and Amaradio 3-4. Ken Alpanalp was solid in fifth with Bob Rutten sixth (behind Ortner, Eropkin, Amaradio and Lawler). After Baja Champion Bob Rutten there was a bunch of confusion as several mainstays of the class traded bikes between motos, without telling the score girls that they had done so, and two MXA riders actually switched bikes in mid-moto for testing. They all got disqualified.
Dave Eropkin crests a small rise, while Ken Aplanalp (94) gives chase. Eropkin ended up second in the Over-50 Experts and Aplanalp was fifth.
In what has to be the most impressive performance of the day, Australian Dan Alamangos pushed his little Husqvarna TC250 into a battle for the win in the Over-40 Intermediates. Underpowered compared to the CRF450s of Dirk Davidow and Kelly Gelhaus, the Aussie was like a pesky bee buzzing around the two other riders. Alamangos would pass either Davidow or Gelhaus on the downhills and they would pass him back on the uphills. In the first moto, Alamangos finally made a mistake and stalled in a berm to drop back to third behind Gelhaus and Davidow. However, in the second moto, he was right back nipping on their heels and in the end, got to the front for a 1-3 day – which took the win over Davidow’s 2-2 and Gelhaus’ 1-3. Lyle Raymond was fourth.
John Basher (65) blasts through what looks like a tapicoa berm. It was really just tacky sand.
Noah Hickerson’s 1-2 took the 250 Novice gold over Tanner Connor’s inconsistent 5-1 and Matt Bynum’s consistent 3-3. In the 450 Novices Sinjin Lloyd scored a 2-1 victory when first moto winner Ian Andre finished fifth in the second moto. The Over-40 Novice class was swept by Gavin Antil’s -1 with Joe Sutter going 2-2 and Dave O’Sullivan 3-3.
Aryton Ward (797), son of Jeff Ward, won the 85 Expert class and had a terrific duel with 125 Two-Stroke winner Tommy Connors for bragging rights in the combined class. Ward got the nod.
THE SAD NEWS
In what was one the best racing days of late summer, with a new track design, mild 78 degree temperatures and intense racing, the REM locals were shocked when Over-50 Novice Joe Hammer of Huntington Beach, California, rode his Kawasaki slowly along the side of the track in the middle of his race and then collapsed off his bike with an apparent heart attack. He was immediately attended to by fellow competitors, who stopped in mid-race to render aid. The EMT’s administered CPR on site, and in their urgency actually drove the ambulance directly up the race track to get to Joe. Hammer was Medivaced by helicopter to the hospital, but he could not be resuscitated. Our prayers go out to the friends and family of the 53-year-old racer.
Australian Dan Alamangos won the Over-40 Intermediate class on MXA's Husqvarna TC250. It wasn't easy as Dirk Davidow and Kirk Gelhaus used 450 power to get back by Alamangos every time he passed them...they just didn't get back by the Aussie when it counted.
This is wrong on so many levels. Brian Stoner (749) is sliding, wheelying and dragging his leg at an awkward angle all at the same time. And, no, he didn't save it.
Jeff Scott (452) spotted the Over-50 Intermediate pack a big headstart...and never managed to make up the difference. Scott finished 8th overall.
James Gardiner (521) spent all day dueling with Dean Spangler. Gardiner took the 250 Intermediate win with a 2-1 over Spangler's 1-2, but Spangler came back to win the Open Intermediate class (Open as in open to any intermediate on any size bike) over Gardiner with a 1-1.
Rick Richards (45), Todd Gravitt (10) and Alan Julien (70) peel off in search of the best line. We are pretty sure that letting his rear wheel go over the berm wasn't planned by Richards.
Steve Watson (75) has put himself in a big hole at the start of the Over-50 Intermediate race, but managed a fifth overall with a 6-5 day.
REM races again next Saturday, November 20, and will host its annual Octobercross, on the still under construction World Vet track, on November 27. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos – excpet for the photo of Dan Alamangos