A pack of rider heads up one of REM's hills. George Kohler (192), Mike Monaghan, Mitch Evans (4), Pete Vetrano (37) and Mark Crosby (95) lead the charge.
Some days are just made for hardcore motocross and this week at REM motocross the stars were aligned. Better yet, the wind wasn’t blowing and it was 84 degrees (not bad for February). Whatever the combination, almost every class evolved into all-out war between the competitors on the track. Everyone seem up for a fight—at least the wheel-to-wheel kind (since the physical kind gets you banned from REM).
Hello Mr. Crosby let me introduce myself.
My name is Jeff Fahy and I think you have my place.
Sean Collier rode brilliantly in the 450 Pro class. He has an effortless and flawless style. Sean keeps the rpm in the middle of the powerband and rides fast lines—without ever getting anxious or aggressive. Sean had lots of competition, but he motored to the front of both motos and took easy wins—besting all of the 250 and 450 Pros.
Behind Sean it was all-out war between Swedish rider Viktor Bjorkland, Troy Lee Design’s Travis Baker, MXA’s Billy Musgrave, LightSpeed’s Tony Amaradio and Broc Shoemaker.
Travis Baker can chalk his day at REM up as a learning experience.
When both wheels were pointed in the right direction Travis was fast.
Collier took the 450 Pro gold, while Bjorklund got the 250 cash.
THE SWEDES HAVE ARRIVED
After Viktor Bjorklund took the 250 Pro win, he was follow to the trophy presentation by fellow Swedes—Vet Intermediate winner Pierre Oxelmark, 125 Intermediate winner Carl Bengtsson, Over-60 Expert winner Jan Oxelmark and 85 Intermediate winner Jeff Oxelmark. Additionally, Lars Larsson was third in the Over-60 Experts and Andreas Ovgard was third in the 450 Pros.
Billy Musgrave raced MXA's Husqvarna CR144 test bike in the 250 Pro class.
MEANWHILE THROUGHOUT THE FIELD
250 Novices: Braden O’Neal, son of Keith O’Neal (and grandson of Jim O’Neal) went 1-1 in front of Gavin Tadora, Tyler Nichols, Steve Watson, Willy Simons, Jr. and Noah Hickerson.
125 Adult “A”: Dirt Bike’s Ron Lawson has kept his win streak alive in the two-stroke class for three weeks—but each week brings new competitors...this week Scott Williams dogged Lawson the whole way home. Dan Alamangos was third.
Jace Owen won the 250 Intermediate class and mixed it up with the 250 Pros.
Vet Novice: What a race! Todd Heagstedt ended up winning with an unlikely 4-2 score. The first moto winner, Mark Theis, ended up 14th in moto two, while the second moto winner, Pete Vetrano, was seventh in moto one. In the end Heagstedt’s 6 points beat Vetrano’s 8 points, Kris Petrat’s 11 points and Tom Hinz’s 11 points, Billy Seifert got fifth with a 9-5 day in front of Ernie Becker’s 13-4.
Broc Shoemaker had lots of speed in the 450 Pro class, but couldn't hold off Sean Collier.
Over-50 Novice: Mike Hillion returned to the winner’s circle after a long time with a 2-1 that bested Kevin Sleeth’s 1-3. Brian Underdahl, Angel Montoya, Dennis Smith, Bob Boldt, Brian Martin, John Tookey, Greg Whitfield and Bob Barnett rounded out the top ten
WHAT ABOUT THE BIG OVER-50 DUELS?
Jon Ortner has owned the Over-50 Expert class for the past couple months, but this week a guy who owned it for a few weeks back in 2011, Willy Simons, showed up ready to regain King of REM crown.
Willy Simons (M1) probes for weaknesses in Jon Ortner's defense in the Over-50 Exoert class. These guys did this to each other a few times back in the '80s at Indian Dunes.
At the start of moto one, Willy Simons got the holeshot and looked like he was set to win the first go-around. But, half way around the first lap he had to stop to check his front tire (which he thought was flat). It wasn’t, but by the time he got going nine riders had passed him. And Jon Ortner had taken the lead. Simons went to work. Slowly but surely he picked off each of the men in front of him to finish second behind Ortner–who was surprised to see Simons in second after the flag. Dave Eropkin was third, Randel Fout fourth, Dennis Boulware fifth and Fred Nicholls sixth.
At REM even the promoter races. Frank Thomason was debuting his new black & white ensemble on his black and white YZ450F. Sadly, the goggle strap was a fashion faux pas.
In the second moto, Ortner and Simons were locked in mortal combat for the whole race. There wasn’t a lot of difference between them as they raced ahead of the rest of the Over-50 Experts. Eventually, through trial and error, Simons made the pass—and immediately Ortner began looking for a way back to the front. In the end, Willy Simons’ 2-1 beat Jon Ortner’s 1-2. Dave Eropkin went 3-4 for third with Eric Coffin fourth with a 7-3.
Travis Fant laid down his MXA video camera to lay down some laps at REM. Travis went 4-4 in the 450 Novice class.
The Over-50 Intermediates continues to grow in size (and it was the largest class of the day). When a bunch of Over-50 Experts moved down to the Intermediate class a couple weeks ago it opened up the competition. The only downside is that if any one riders starts winning consistently, he will have punched himself a ticket back to the Expert class. So far, getting a win streak started is hard. This week former Saddleback Pro Bob Marino used a 2-1 to take the win over Mark Hall (6-3). Kevin McCarthy was third with a 5-4 and first moto winner Randy Skinner, who managed to win last week despite a big crash (courtesy of Mike Monaghan) threw in another crash this week (unaided) to go 1-8 for fourth.
John Basher (86) takes a bead on his best friend, Scott Williams (20).
Notable in the Over-50 Intermediates were Mark Crosby (9-7), TM importer Pete Vetrano (11-9), Ken Ehlers (14-10) and Mitch Evans 15-11. Mike Monaghan raced a stock YZ125 up to third in the first moto, but had the banjo bolt come loose on the rear brake in moto two—he went sailing off the track at the end of the back straight when his brakes failed and had to retire with a 3-DNF.
Swede Jan Oxelmark won the Over-60 Expert class. Ray Pisarski was second, lars Lars third, Jody Weisel fourth and Bill Seifert fifth.
REM does not race next weekend, because of the Prairie Dawgs GP, but will be back in action on March 10 for eight straight weeks of racing. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
The view from Glen Helen's Mt. Whitney.
Photos by Dan Alamangos and Ernie Becker