Putting in his time on MXA's 2013 Kawasaki KX450F, Dennis Stapleton was the class of the field at REM Glen Helen.
As the weekly REM motocross wars continues, in what is the longest points paying series in American motocross, it is now on the down side of seven months of continuous racing (and still has more races left to go than the complete AMA National Championship series). For the fourth race in a row the REM regulars were treated on a different track layout – and as always rough and rugged ground.
Although many riders have jumped this step-up previously, this week, however, the corner before it was moved so close that only Dennis Stapleton could get the drive to get up and over.
MXA’s Dennis Stapleton came straight home from his “Big Pizza” sponsorship deal at the Zwarte Cross in Holland and went straight to Glen Helen for REM. Dennis easily won both Pro motos and was the only rider to jump the step-up to the finish line (because they moved the corner before it very close to the take-of ramp). Testing MXA’s 2013 KX450F, Stapleton took the lead on the first lap of both motos (and on the red flag start that was recalled) and never faced an serious competition.
Dylan Lemberg won the 250 class, while Swedish rider Kristoffer Palm took the 250 Intermediates. Palm was chased by Luke Galindo (2-2), Cody Brownfield (3-3), Dylan Mroz (5-4) and Adam Russler (4-7).
Billy Mercier (501) won the Over-40 Pro class in front of Matt Tedder and Willy Musgrave.
There was a interesting match-up in the Over-40 Pro class was Billy Mercier, Matt Tedder and Willy Musgrave raced for the gold. Mercier took the win, with Tedder second. Musgrave got a flat tire in moto moto one but managed to salvaged a third overall.
Jim Owens came down from NorCal to race at REM. Jim went 3-3 in the Over-40 Experts and his son Nolan won the 65 Beginner class.
In the Over-40 Expert class, (yes, we know that it seems strange to have an Over-40 Pro class and an Over-40 Expert class) Gary Bowman (1-1), Greg Pierce (2-2) and Jim Owens (3-3) rounded out the podium. Randel Fout had a shot at cracking the top three for the day, but crashed out of the second moto.
Matt Tedder won the Over-50 Expert class and got second in the Over-40 Pro class before hopping on a plane for Loretta Lynn's.
Matt Tedder, the multi-time Loretta Lynn Over-50 Champion, showed up at REM for a quick warm-up before grabbing a late flight to Tennessee. Matt raced both the Over-40 Pro class and the Over-50 Experts. Matt won both motos of the Over-50 Experts in front of Ron Lawson (2-3) , who led the first moto for a long time, Willie Amaradio (6-2), who looked fast by was mired in the back in moto one, Greg Nelson (4-4), Fred Nichols (3-5), Dave Eropkin (5-7) and Dennis Boulware (7-6).
BIGGEST CLASS OF THE DAY
Paul Fitz-Gibbon leads eventual Over-50 Intermediate winner George Kohler early in moto two.
The biggest class of the day was the Over-50 Intermediates. In moto one Randy Skinner had finished first with Paul Fitz-Gibbon second, George Kohler third, Joe Sutter fourth and Jeff Fahy fifth. When he second moto started, the first half of the race looked like a repeat of the first moto. Then, it got interesting, George Kohler passed Fitz-Gibbon and leapt his KTM 350SXF up to the tail of leader Randy Skinner. Joe Sutter made a charge that netted him Fitz-Gibbon also. With a couple laps to go it was Skinenr, Kohler, Sutter and Fitz-Gibbon. Buy, Kohler was on a roll and quickly shot by Skinner to take the lead. Kohler’s 3-1 wouldn’t beat Randy Skinner’s 1-2...until Joe Sutter got Skinner on the last lap...handing the overall victory to George Kohler (3-1), over Randy Skinner (1-3), Joe Sutter (4-2) and Paul Fitz-Gibbon (2-4). The top ten was rounded out by Pete Vetrano (7-5), Mark Hall (6-7), John Perry (8-6), Jeffy Fahy (5-10), Ray Poltack (9-8) and Steve Watson (12-9).
Randel Fout (46), Greg Pierce (416) and Willy Musgrave (73) navigate the crowd skies above Glen Helen.
Mitchell Greene (474) won the 125 Beginner class. Jack Ward (147) was second in the 150cc four-stroke class.
250 Beginner: Alex Cotter (3-2) used a baseball score to take the overall when first moto winner Brandon Sussman didn’t finish moto two and second moto winner Jonathan Traut got a fifth in moto one. Traut’s 5-1 was good enough for second overall, while Teddy Guilliant got third with a 4-3.
250 Novice: Travis Hoffman’s 1-2 bested Brendan Crow’s 4-1, Chris Gibeault’s 6-3 and Matt Pastor’s 5-5.
Vet Beginner: Kelley Gillman (1-1) took the Vet Beginner victory over Jason Burden (2-2).
Pasha Afshar (L7) gets a big bite of terra firma, while Rick Winter gets no bite.
Vet Intermediate: Rick Richards is back from his injury of a few months ago, only this time on a 450. Rick is also back to winning as he went 1-1 to win the Vet Intermediates over Marc Grossman and Adam Russler.
Over-40 Intermediates: Stuntman Bryan Friday swept both motos with Aussie Dan Alamangos in second and Mike Gee third. Todd Huegel was fourth.
Vet Novice: TM-mounted Todd Huegel made up for his fourth in the Over-40s, but going 2-1 in the Vet Novices in front of a top five of Peter Vetrano (also on a TM), John Perry, David O’Connor and Scott Austin.
THE NUMBERS GAME
At most tracks you rarely see an Italian-made TM motorcycle, but at REM you not only see them but TM-Mounted Todd Huegel (163) and Pete Vetrano (37) went one-two in the Vet Novice class.
Of all the full-size bikes on the line at REM this weekend the breakdown of brands was very surprising. 30% of the bike were Hondas, 27% Yamahas, 22% Kawasakis, 17% KTMs, 5% TMs, 5% Suzukis and 1% Husqvarna. The parity between Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and KTM is much closer than in the past, when the vast majority of bikes were Hondas and Yamahas, and KTM had virtually no presence. Additionally, the fact that TM and Suzuki were tied at 5% is an aberration based on the abnormally large number of TM’s in SoCal, but, of course, the small number of Suzukis is equally odd.
Of the 21 full-size classes, Kawasaki won 7 overalls, Honda 6, KTM 4 and Suzuki, Yamaha, TM and Husqvarna 1 apiece.
81-year-old Feets Minert (15) just keeps on ticking. The former BSA factory rider, AMA Hall of Famer and Catalina Grand Prix winner raced his first motorcycle race in 1947 and is still at it 65 years later. On a side note, Brian Martin (65) was back in action after recovering from his accident (a gardening accident).
In one additional bit of demographic info, 44% of all the riders at this week’s were over the age of 40 and, amazing, almost 30% were above the age of 50.
Dr. John Tookey (24) leads REM promoter Frank Thomason (551) over a Glen Helen rise.
REM does not race next weekend because the Lucas Oil Offroad Truck World Championships will be held at Glen Helen and REM didn’t want to deal with the crowds. For more info on REM go to www.remsatmx.com
Photos by Dan Alamangos