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REM Glen Helen MX Report: TLD / Moto Brew Press Day

Motocross Action Magazine Report

Motocross Action Magazine / Photos by Dan Alamangos

With the AMA Nationals just around the corner, the lucky happenstance of REM Motocross’ 15th Anniversary at Glen Helen and the fact that Troy Lee races at REM Glen Helen every weekend, the stars aligned to hold a big down home motocross race that would do three things:

1. It would allow Troy Lee to get his race team of Cole Seely, Christian Craig and Jessy Nelson a true-to-life warm-up race (with 35 minute long motos) against some tough competition on a big, long and rough track.

2. With a Pro purse, barbecue and Moto Brew sponsorship, it was a way for Troy to hang out with the people he races with every week, bring out his complete team (plus semi truck and mechanics) and give his local racer friends something back. Plus, with it being the 15th Anniversary of Frank and Myra Thomason coming from Carlsbad Raceway to Glen Helen—it was a nice present.

3. With the World Two-Stroke Championship being held on the USGP track the next day, it shoehorned two special races together at Glen Helen.

The Pros

Troy brought 250 riders Cole Seely and Jessy Nelson along with 450 rider Christian Craig to race. He wanted to give his team a stress test and with the agreement of the 250 riders in the field it was decided to combine both classes into one big Pro free-for-all. That way Troy could see his 250 riders work harder against the 450s—and work they did.

In the end Christian Craig took the overall victory with a 1-1 on his CRF450 National bike, but he didn’t get the victory without a major fight from the local Pros and his teammates. With issues on the first lap of moto one, Craig had to work his way up to catch Cole Seely, who was leading on a 250. Once Craig got to Seely and made the pass, Cole latched himself to Christian's rear fender and wouldn’t let go. At the end of moto one, Christian Craig held on to win, but if had been a 30 minute plus three lap moto, the outcome might have been different.

The first Pro moto ended with a trio of white-clad Troy Lee riders on the podium, with Christian Craig first, Cole Seely Second and Jessy Nelson third. Swedish Champion Fredrik Noren was fourth, Brandon Brady fifth, Justin Jones sixth, Kyle Wolack seventh, Preston Tilford eighth, Jake Baumert ninth and Colton Aeck (on a YZ250 two-stroke) tenth.

In moto two, it was the Craig and Seely show all over again The two Troy Lee riders ran nose-to-tail for the first half of the moto before Christian Craig found some extra energy and opened up a safe gap. At day’s end, it was Craig, Seely and Jessy Nelson going 1-1, 2-2 and 3-3. Noren kept the duplicate number string alive with a 4-4, while Brandon Brady went 5-5. Back in the field were two more Swedes, with Marcus Ovegaard (15-15) and Robert Lind (14-7) not making the top ten.

The Over-50 Experts

No one really understands the fascination that the Over-50 Experts produce at REM, but it is a big class and since it is filled with former Pro riders from the 1980s—it gets people to line the fences when the old dudes are on the track.

Gary Bowman, a former 125 National rider who finished 9th overall in the 1984 AMA 125 National Championships (including a podium at the 1984 Saddleback 125 National), got the victory this weekend—but Gary didn’t win any motos. His 3-2 got the overall because of crashes by Willy Simons (1-8) and Kevin Foley (8-1). Going into the final few laps of the Over-50 Expert race, Bowman, Ed Foedish and Andy Jefferson were all vying for the win. One pass, one way of the other would have shaken up the podium places. In the end Bowman’s 3-2 beat out Foedish’s 2-4 and Jefferson’s 5-3.

Foley was fourth, Jon Ortner (another unlucky crasher) fifth and Willy Simons sixth. 6D helmet design Bob Weber ran at the front in both motos, but has been spending too much time in the office and not enough at the track as he faded back to a 6-6 day for seventh overall. Former AMA National Champion and MXDN winner Chuck Sun raced a Husqvarna CR125 two-stroke, in preparation for Sunday’s Two-Stroke World Championship race, to an amazing 7-7 day against a field of big bikes. Another notable in the Over-50 Expert race was Troy Lee. The man who sponsored the race wanted to win it, but crashes and a stall stopped his run at the front in both motos. Gary Jones, a four-time AMA National Champion (1971-1974), thought he had the energy to race both the Over-60 Experts and the Over-50 Experts. He didn’t.

The Over-60 Experts

Last week Gary Jones tried to win the Over-60 Expert class on a 1974 Yamaha YZ250. His bike was 39 years old, but he managed to get a second overall on it. This week he showed up with a 2006 Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke and easily won both motos. Lyle Sweeter went 2-2 for second, with Hollywood stuntman Mic Rodgers’ 3-3 giving him third. Behind the front three was a battle between AMA Hall of Famer Lars Larsson, MXA’s Jody Weisel and Ray Pisarski. Whatever move Jody made on Lars he was subject to the same move from behind by Pisarski. In the end, the three crossed the finish line in both motos with Larsson 4-4, Weisel 5-5 and Pisarski 6-6.

The Biggest Class of the Day

This week the most riders in any single class were the Over-50 Novices. It was so big that a couple riders had to start behind the full gate. Bill Reimer’s 1-1 was untouchable as Roy Krull went 3-2 and Ty Larson 4-3. John Estes looked like a potential winner, but backed up his first moto second with a second moto fifth. Some of the moto scores in this class were off the chart. For example Tim Rohan made the top ten overall with a 13-8, while Mitch Evan’s 7-21 relegated him to 12th. Greg Robertson scored a 2-10 day for 14th, while Chuck Freeman went 10-22 for 18th.

Another big class was the 250 Novice class that was highlighted by an all-out war between Trevor Stewart and Willy Simons Jr. In the end, Stewart’s 2-1 took the win over Simon’s 1-2. Jake Martineau was third with a 4-3 in front of Ryusei Otsuka’s 3-4. Johnny Dezendorf came from Durango, Colorado, for the two-stroke race, but raced to a 5-6 day at REM for fifth.

See more photos in our "Moto Brew REM Glen Helen Press Day" Gallery.
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