Photos by Dan Alamangos and Ernie Becker
Trent Pugmire went 1-1 in the 450 Pro class in front of Justin Jones, Mitch Van De Mortel, Colton Aeck and Jake Preston.
As the MTA World Vet Championship gets closer more and more older riders are trying to shake off the cobwebs to get ready of the November 3-4 event. Even though the Over-40 and Over-50 classes were packed, the young guys took center stage at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, California. The stars of the day were Trent Pugmire, Mitchell Falk, Braden O'Neal and Cole Zitterkopf.
450 Pro: Trent Pugmire has been missing from the Glen Helen scene for several months dealing with an injury, but you couldn't tell it by his performance at REM. Pugmire started quick and opened up a gap on Justin Jones, who turned Pro after Loretta Lynns. Jones gave everything in a spirited chase to catch Trent in both motos, but had to settle for a 2-2 day. Mitch Van De Mortel went 3-3, while Colton Aeck got fourth with a 4-4. British rider Jake Preston rounded out the top five. Jake wasn't used to the heat, although most of the locals considered it a cool day.
Justin Jones, son of four-time National Champion Gary Jones, ignores the track side sign and keeps going.
Intermediates: Cole Zitterkopf, son of 1990's AMA National rider Greg Zitterkopf, won the 250 Intermediates (to make the long drive from Fruita, Colorado, worth it). Dylan Mroz took the 450 Intermediate victory, while Robin Hall's 2-2 was good enough to win the Over-40 Intermediates when Dan Alamangos went 4-1 for second and Ron Shuler scored a 1-4 for third. CT Falk was equally consistent with a 3-3 for fourth. The Vet Intermediate gold went to South African Alan Julien with a 1-1 in front of Todd Gravitt and Rick Richards. Julien also won the first moto of the Over-40 Expert class–which was won overall by Greg Pierce (2-1).
Over the last two weeks Dennis Stapleton has been in Denmark, then at the MXDN and finally at the Cologne Motorcycle Show–what did he do when he flew back home? He went racing at Glen Helen. Dennis won the Vet Pro class.
THE OVER-50 GUYS TURN OUT IN DROVES
As is the norm at REM, the Over-50 guys represented the biggest classes of the day. Hard to image that all of these dedicated racers were born before 1962.
Over-50 Novice: Jeff Mason and Mike Hillion shared moto wins in the large Over-50 Novice class with Mason's 1-2 besting Hillion's 4-1. Jeff Scott (3-3), Michael Mosca (2-4), Paul Crouch (7-5), Brian Underdahl (6-6), Frank Mierau (5-7), Steve Surber (10-8), Pasha Afshar (9-10) and John Tookey (11-9) rounded out the top ten.
Todd Huegel gives a graphic example of what not to do on a downhill off-camber turn. Todd saved it, but not without some serious tank slapping.
Over-50 Intermediates: Often consider to the "Over-50 Expert Lite" class because so many former Over-50 Experts defected downward at the start of the 2012 season, the racing has remained intense as the pure Intermediates rose to the occasion to fight with the dropping down Experts. Randy Skinner is on a hot streak as of late and took a 1-2 victory over Joe Sutter (3-1). George Kohler elected to race a YZ250F against a pack of 450s and managed to pull out a 2-5 for third overall–coming from the back both times. Greg Groom stayed inside the track barriers to have his best weekend in a long time with 4-4 day. Steve Watson (6-3) was in the mix all day. John Perry, who drove in from Durango, Colorado, had a 5-6 day for sixth overall.
Hunter Falk (128) won the 250 Pro class, while his brother Mitchell took the 85 Expert class.
Pete Murray – Over-50 Expert winner.
Over-50 Experts: Former Over-40 World Champion Pete Murray used a 2-1 to defeat Jon Ortner's 1-2. The two old pros had great races together, Dave Eropkin was third, Willie Amaradio fourth and Mike Monaghan, who parked his trusty KTM 125SX two-stroke for a KTM 250SXF, fifth
The REM staff are very accommodating to their racers, as proven by the next two photos. Alan Julien (11) and Jon Ortner (11) duel in the first moto of the combined Over-40 and Over-50 Expert class, meanwhile......
Willie Amaradio (7) and Pete Murray (7) compete for the top spot among the other number 7s. Mike Monaghan (63) tries to get away from the snake eye duo. How do they score duplicate numbers at REM? That's easy. The score girls know every rider by their riding styles.
Mitchell Falk won the 85 Expert class in front of Agustin Hernandez, Hayden Cole, Dustin Barnes, Ian Smith and Stilez Robertson. Mitchell's older brother, Hunter, took the 250 Pro win and his dad finished fourth in the Over-40 Intermediate class.
Braden O'Neal won the 250 and 450 Novice classes, while his grandfather, Jim O'Neal took the Over-60 Expert win.
Braden O'Neal won both the 250 and 450 Novice classes. In the 250's Braden went 1-1 in front of the 4-2 of Landon Lowell, 3-3 of Brandon Reid, 6-4 of Jeff Penner and 2-8 of Travis Hoffman. Braden also swept both motos of the 450s with Sinjin Lloyd, Mark Taylor and Michael Nunnenkamp in pursuit.
You don't see many riders trying to race 25-year-old Yamaha YZ465s anymore...and now Pasha Afshar knows why.
MXA's Jody Weisel holeshot the Over-60 Expert class and tried to channel the glory days of the 1970s before Jim O'Neal, Ray Pisarski and Swedish rider Bengt Johansson ran him down.
Other winners: Dirk Davidow (Over-40 Novice), Willy Musgrave (Over-40 Pro), Brian Stoner (Vet Novice), Mike Wilson (Vet Beginner), Jared Anderson (125 Beginner), Damon West (250 Beginner ), Craig Cheever (450 Beginner) and Bret Zitterkopf (65 Beginner).
Landen Lowell (224), Jared Anderson (108) and Ian Smith (49) all try to come up with the correct angle to make a pass. It's worth noting that all three are on two-strokes.
REM races again next Saturday (and every weekend leading up to the MTA World Vet Championship...including the Octobercross, which will be held on the new World Vet Track design, on October 27). For more info go to www.remsatmx.com