Suzuki Motorcycle tests
Photos by Dan Alamangos
Brandon Brady wad the fastest man on the track at REM.
One thing about a motocross racing organization that holds 40 races a season is that all the riders know each other. Some of them have been racing against each other for decades. And they know that they will see the same faces next weekend. This close-knit community helps keep riders egos in check and avoid lots of the complaining, whining and takeout moves. It also helps that REM’s Frank Thomason doesn’t pussyfoot around when it comes to dirty riding, cheating or fighting. He cracks down...and many riders have been suspended or even banished for bad behavior.
It was a windy day at Glen Helen, which dried out the track, but it was still possible to grab a big handful.
There are still spirited battles and friends have been known to race harder against their buddy than against a stranger. Here are this week’s REM results.
THE FAST GUYS
Even though this week's REM layout eliminated most of the big hills, because of the gusting winds, but Brandon Reid (271) could still look down the track and see the man he was chasing.
250 Pro: Finnish rider Erki Kahro is in the USA prepping for a shot at the AMA 250 Nationals in May and rode well to take the overall win.
450 Pro: Brandon Brady was untouchable as he went 1-1 in front of Drew Weaver and Ray Obermeyer.
Vet Pro: William Hendershot, out of Kansas, had a good race with Tony Amaradio for the Vet Pro victory.
Randall Fout airs it out before he realized that he was too hurt from a previous crash to keep this up all day long.
Over-50 Experts: Jon Ortner has been on a roll ever since he switched from a CRF450 to a YZ250F. He credited the switch to a smaller bike with bringing a lot of the fun of riding – but riders always say this when they are working on a three-race win streak. But, this week it came to an end. In the first moto, Ortner worked his way to the front and stayed there as Steve Lawler, Dave Eropkin and Willie Amaradio dueled over second. The first moto tally was Ortner, Lawler, Eropkin and Amaradio.
In the second moto, Ortner got to the front quick and opened up a little lead until Steve Lawler appeared on his tail. They dueled for half the moto until Lawler made the pass, and then the dueled for the second half with Ortner trying to find a way to get by Lawler. The interplay of Lawler’s 450 versus Ortner’s 250 favored Lawler. And, in the end, the overall went to Steve Lawler (2-1) over Jon Ortner (1-2), Dave Eropkin (3-3), Willie Amaradio (4-4), Dave Fontes (7-5), Mike Monaghan (5-7), Greg Nelson (8-6) and Bryon Friday (6-8).
Preston Campbell's dad Johnny was racing in the Dakar Rally, but his mom brought him out to REM to win the CRF150 class.
Over-60 Experts: Injuries have decimated the field of Over-60 Experts, removing Ray Pisarski, Alan Olson, Lars Larsson, Tom White, Bill Maxim, Bill Seifert and George Kohler from the field. The two fastest old guys this weekend were MXA’s Jody Weisel and Swedish rider Bengt Johansson. And, it was expected that Jody would win against his rival of 30 years because Bengt hadn’t beaten Jody in over a year. Surprise! Jody holeshot both motos, but the Swede was inspired and took both moto wins. Earl Shuler was third with a 3-3.
Dave Eropkin (811) goes around Pete Vetrano (519). Of course if Dave hadn't passed Pete he would have taken a lot of ribbing as Pete was on a special TM 100. It is a full-size bike with a 100cc two-stroke engine in it. Amazingly, it held its own.
250 Intermediates: John Milner and Zac Commans split motos wins, but Milner took the second moto and the overall.
450 Intermediates: R.J. Wageman was the class of the field, but he crashed and looked like he hurt his knee. We hope R.J. is okay.
Vet Intermediate: Aaron Collins swept both motos.
Over-40 Intermediates: Ron Shuler’s 1-1 beat Dan Alamangos' 2-2.
Jody Weisel (33) and Bengt Johansson (55) were never farther apart than this as long as Jody stayed in front of the Swede. Once Bengt got by, he pulled away.
Over-50 Intermediates: The Over-50 Intermediates were the biggest class of the day. Kirk Waymire’s 2-1 took the victory over a top ten of Scott Fichter 1-4, Mark Hall 5-3, Joe Sutter 4-5, Jeff Fahy 3-8, Randy Skinner 10-2, Mike Phillips 7-6, Mike Hillion 8-10, Owen Fitzsimon 6-12 and Todd Wiseman 15-7.
Jon Ortner's win streak was snapped by Steve Lawler.
THE NOVICE CLASSES
125 Novices: Robbie Wagemen would win the 85
Experts and the 125 Novices. In the 125 class Dane McCant was second and
Ford Heit third.
Mark Hall leads an angry pack of Over-50 Intermediates.
250 Novices: Gio Martini swept both motos with Noah Hickerson second and Matt Bynum third.
Novices: Aaron Collins, who won the Vet Intermediates, came back later
in the day to win both moto of the 450 Novices in front of a top five
of Ian Andre, Bill Nagy, Mark Taylor and Andrew Shade.
Vet Novices: Vance Freeman held off the efforts of Kirk Waymire (who won
the Over-50 Intermediates). Freeman and Waymire split moto wins. Brett
Freeman was third with a 3-4 in front of a top ten that included Kelley
Gilman (6-5), Kris Petrat (9-3), Scott Austin (7-6), Pete Vetrano (8-8), Sam Ramirez (4-12), Mark Hall (5-13) and Gary Taylor (14-14).
Robbie Wagemen (108) won two classes, but his older brother R.J. crashed out.
Novices: Scott Fichter went 1-2 to beat Owen Fitzsimon’s 5-1 and Todd
Wilson’s 2-4. Joe Sutter was fourth with Cory Clark fifth and Gary
Over-50 Novices: Roy Krull won the Over-50 Novices
with a 3-1. Last week’s winner, Terry Varner was second with 2-3. Paul
Doebereiner was third, Brian Underdahl fourth and John Tookey fifth.
The older generation loves to race. Bengt Johansson may not be as stylish as he was back in the day, but he's still racing at 70 years old. Will you be able to say that in 2043?
REM races again next Saturday, January 26. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com