10 Questions With Gill Campbell
The following is from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca…Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has a rich and varied pedigree of motorcycle racing starting off in 1972 with Cal Rayborn riding a Harley Davidson and winning the first AMA national race run at the track. Fast-forward and the most talented and fastest riders in the world are racing at the 2009 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Here are a few of the questions about the race with answers from Gill Campbell, CEO/General Manager, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca:Q. How is Wayne Rainey involved with Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix?A. Without Wayne this event would never have happened and he is instrumental on a regular basis. Ten years ago, a very good friend introduced me to Wayne over the phone; we talked about the idea of bringing the MotoGP back to the U.S. At that time, I had no idea what MotoGP was or how significant Wayne Rainey was – I had a lot to learn.Wayne was the one who got me connected with Carmelo Ezpeleta, (Dorna) and worked with us on overcoming all of the challenges of bringing such a major series to the U.S. and to this facility. Wayne continues to be our advisor and is an Honorary SCRAMP (Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula) Director.Q. Yamaha has played a major role in this event – how does that work?A. Yamaha gets all the credit for getting this track to reach the safety requirements that are specified by the FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme). Bob Starr and Dennis McNeal so believed in the product and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca that they were intent that the fans should have MotoGP – so they literally put their money where their mouth was and invested in making it happen.Yamaha is the most fan-oriented company that I have ever met.Q. Americans in the MotoGP series – how important is that?A. Extremely, especially when we see an American win here, I will never forget watching Nicky Hayden ride his victory lap with the American Flag – how cool is that and now the 4th of July weekend – that would be so sweet to have an American on the podium.Q. Talking about American Riders, what about Colin Edwards?A. Colin has been great for this track, a combination of Yamaha, American and a rider who has raced here for many years; he has greatly contributed to this sport. He is very open with me about how he feels the track is, what I need to do to continually improve the event, plus he has that great Southern drawl – he’s hard to ignore!Q. Ben Bostrom is competing in the AMA Pro Racing Series, what affect does Ben have on the event?A. Let me see, well if you call into our office line, Ben actually answers the phone! Well, at least will keep you entertained while you are on hold!Ben is a great fan-friendly rider, a great Red Bull representative and has been a great favorite at this track.Q. What makes the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix so special?A. Definitely the fans. We have a very loyal and enthusiastic group of fans who understand the importance of this series and of course – location, location, location! The Monterey Peninsula is paradiseQ. Who won the first Grand Prix at the track?A. The race was won by Eddie Lawson who was riding against Kevin Schwantz, Wayne Rainey, Mike Baldwin and Randy Mamola in 1988. The following year, Wayne Rainey won from pole in his first of three USGP wins in a row for him at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.Q. What was the most interesting support race for the USGP?A. It was the World Championship for sidecars in 1990.Q. How does the track get ready for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix?A. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca literally builds a city for the 150,000 fans – everything from installing electrical, sanitary facilities (over 600), food centers, more than 300 tents and thousands of tables chairs, linens, stocking the hospital, transporting hundreds of golf carts, audio visual, miles of cabling, not to mention the 1,000s of cases of water needed to quench thirsty fans and riders.Q. Who was the most famous Grand Marshall for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix?A. Brad Pitt. He was the Grand Marshal in 2005.Race tickets for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix are available by calling (800) 327-SECA or logging onto www.MazdaRaceway.com.