Nothing against the brand-new and immaculate Circuit of The Americas or the grandiose Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but going to motorcycle races at Laguna Seca always gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s like… well, it’s like going home. To me, Laguna Seca and Grand Prix motorcycle racing in the U.S. go hand in hand. Like calamari and cocktail sauce.
And now it’s gone. Well, at least the Grand Prix is gone.
I spent a little of my childhood there, a lot of my years as a teenager and at least a few trips annually there as an adult. Little known fact: the second to last race of my father’s racing career was at Laguna Seca – during his part-time, semi-retirement season of 1973 when he started to focus his attention to mentoring Kenny Roberts. Dad, though, was never a big fan of racing at Laguna as it was one of those “silly little racetracks” that couldn’t compare to the tracks of Europe.
And he wasn't alone.
Once the place starting playing host to Grand Prix racing in 1988, there was plenty of ridicule of the track in the hills east of the rugged Pacific coastline of Monterey – though it came entirely from the international riders who were already disgruntled by getting their derriere’s beaten on a regular basis by an American group of riders the likes they’d never seen. Or that we’ve seen since.
Though many of the Americans were expecting the criticism, it was harsher than they expected. And the Yanks knew that Laguna was the best they had. It was the facility they grew up thinking was one of the finest in the world. Hell, Roberts himself told them it was.
So what was with all this complaining? It was like Frenchie coming into your family room and bagging on the couch. You don’t do that in ‘Merica.