Tony Amaradio (1), Conner Stouff (846), Josh Strang (25), Jaryd Porth (923), Robert Lind (865) and Billy Musgrave (orange helmet).
Because the Red Bull X-Fighters will be held on the Glen Helen’s REM track, and workers are busy putting up bleachers for 20,000 spectators and building jumps, REM’s weekly motocross wars moved to the USGP track for this weekend.
Because REM holds 30-minute Pro motos it attracts a good crowd of professional motocross racers looking for a chance to test themselves...and Saturday’s REM races were a real test.
THE 450 PRO CLASS BROKEN DOWN
This was Rookstool's pass on Swede Fredrik Noren.
The class of the field: Nobody knew who would be the star when the day started. It was 85 degrees and sunny and the track was uniquely rough, with what SoCal racers call “squared-edged bumps.” The Swedes are still in-country and Fredrik Noren, Rickard Sandberg and Robert Lind were all gunning for the Americans–and a lone Aussie. Kevin Rookstool, who has been racing offroad events instead of motocross for the last year was back at REM again, he was joined by Motocross Action’s Dennis Stapleton, Aussie offroad hero Josh Strang, Broc Armbruster, Todd Sewell, Jaryd Porth, Conner Stouff, Steven Tokarski and the Swedes.
Kevin Rookstool was an REM regular before going off to the AMA Nationals and then switching to offroad events.
Tokarski, as is the tradition at REM, elected to skip the 250 Pro class on his Vance & Hines YZ250F and signed up for the 450 class. With full knowledge that on the long USGP track a 250 is no match for a 450 on the big hills.
450 Pro class: Fredrik Noren, former Swedish National Champion, won the first moto, but he had to do it under tremendous pressure from Kevin Rookstool. Finally, on the last lap of the first moto, Rookstool fell in the slowest corner on the track. The first 450 Pro moto ended with Noren, Rookstool, Tokarski, Strang, Sandberg, Lind, Stouff, Armbruster, Todd Sewell and Aussie Jaryd Porth filling out the top ten.
Steven Tokarski chases Swede Rickard Sandberg (866).
In moto two it was Noren versus Rookstool, but this time Rookstool had the upper hand and passed Noren, who would later have issues and drop back to 10th. Tokarski, on his YZ250F, finished the second moto in second and took second overall with a 3-2 behind Rookstool’s 2-1.
250 Pro class: With Tokarski foregoing the 250 class, he handed a gift to Canadian Jerry Petruska...who defeated MXA’s Billy Musgrave (still suffering from injuries suffered at the World Two-Stroke Championship..we won’t mention what part of his body that Billy injured). Although one of the highlights of the day was when Vet Pro winner Tony Amaradio (on a YZ250) and Billy Musgrave (on a KTM 250SX) holeshot all the 450 Pros up Glen Helen’s long fast and steeply banked start.
Vet Pro: MXA’s Dennis Stapleton had to run down two-stroke-mounted Tony Amaradio in both motos to go 1-1 to Amaradio’s 2-2.
WHAT ABOUT THE INTERMEDIATES
250 Intermediates: The 250 and 450 Intermediates got to race the 30-minute long Pro motos. Jace Owen took the win with ease. WMX racer Sayaka Kaneshiro raced with the men and got second overall on her Charlie Flippen-tuned CRF250.
450 Intermediates: Jesse Hanna went 1-1 in front of KTM’s factory road racer Chris Fillmore (2-2) with Caleb Best in third.
Aussie Dan Alamangos.
Over-40 Intermediates: Jason Hilton went 1-1 in front of Aussie Dan Alamango’s 2-2. Scott Williams finished third in the first moto, but crashed out of the second moto.
Gene Nardone (6), Darren Lamb (310) and Justin Leeds (360) try to occupy Glen Helen.
Over-50 Intermediates: Although often held up to derision because of the large number of Over-50 Experts who suddenly reevaluated their skill level earlier this year and moved down to the Over-50 Intermediates, the talent has begun to balance out (which promoter Frank Thomason credits to the fact that so many Over-50 Experts moved down that they are still being beat by the same people–just in a different class). Brian Allen went 3-1 to defeated Husky CR144-mounted Mike Monaghan’s 1-3. Russ Brown got third with a 2-4 in front of George Andrews 5-2 and Marc Crosby’s 6-5.
John Atwood (50), Willie Amaradio (7), Randel Fout (46) and Dave Eropkin (811).
Braden O’Neal, Jim O’Neal’s grandson, won the 450 Novice class in front of Garrett Powell and Braden Larson.
Natasha Sant swept both motos of the 250 Beginner class and Braden O’Neal came back to finish second in the 250 Novice class (won by Mark Merlo).
Pete Vetrano on his TM.
Terry Varner won the Over-50 Novice class...and even had time to throw in a crash in moto one. Mitch Evans was second with Scott Panning third.
In the Over-60 Expert class, Jody Weisel holeshot both motos on a MXA Suzuki RM-Z450 test bike, but was caught in moto one by Ray Pisarski. In the second moto, Jody was knocked down in the second turn and got up to finish third, but the end result was Pisarski 1-1, Bill Seifert 3-2, Jody Weisel 2-3 and Feets Minert 4-4.
The Over-50 Expert class was won by Jon Ortner (1-1) over Steve Lawler (2-2), Willie Amaradio (4-3), Fred Nichols (5-5), John Atwood (7-4), Ron Lawson, on a Beta enduro bike, (8-6), Tom Moen (9-7) and Bob Marino (10-8). Randel Fout, who finished third in moto one, and Dave Eropkin, who was sixth in moto one, were involved in a second moto crash. Eropkin fell in front of Fout, who’s footpeg hit Eropkin in the helmet. Eropkin suffered a concussion and the second moto was red flagged. Fout elected not to restart.
Mitch Evans (4), Jody Weisel (25), Angel Montoya (142), Brian Underdahl (606), John Bradley (713) and Ray Pisarski (11).
REM does not race again at Glen Helen until May 19...because of Red Bull X-Fighters prep. They will race on the USGP track on May 19 and hope to return to a totally new REM track on May 26. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Ernie Becker and Dan Alamangos