By Marissa Baecker
Laguna Seca, California – The MotoGP is the Formula 1 for riders that represents ten countries, 24 full-time riders, including three from the U.S., and a race season that runs each year from April to November. As of 2013, there are three U.S. stops – Austin, Texas in April, Laguna Seca, California in July and then after a one month summer break, the race resumes in Indianapolis in August.
Riders and enthusiasts from all over the globe flock to Laguna Seca each year as it is an international gathering of like-minded individuals and as Michael Haas of Extension PR in West Hollywood pointed out, “This is more like a reunion of people you don’t get to see all year.”
For him that statement rang true. For me, this was the new experience that my soul had been longing for – new places, new faces, great food, good wine and fabulous company –a ‘wicked weekend’.
The inter nationality of it all was prevalent from the moment of arrival at the hotel. A multitude of languages could be heard as we made our way through the lobby and I was introduced to the first gathering of who’s who in the biz where Italian accents softly decorated stereotypical introductions.
The next morning, a sea of red and a fashion show of Ducati branded pit and race wear garnered my attention through the lobby en route to breakfast. There was small ebb and flow of blue from Yamaha but for the most part it was a constant wave of red.
The ambiance volume had been taken down an octave from the previous evening’s live music, packed restaurants and pre-race buzz in the streets but the dance music remained present among conversations spoken in a multitude of languages. I pictured the scene later in the day where coffee cups would be replaced with cocktail glasses and the room would be clad in evening wear as the music instilled visuals of lounging in any one of the world’s Buddha Bars (visit www.buddhabar.com).
This . . . the international flair . . . is what draws me in.
Ducati Island (yes it is an island complete with a moat in the middle of the track) had been described as the place to be at the track and it didn’t disappoint. If you owned a Ducati, you could park it on Ducati Island, enjoy complimentary espresso, put your feet up in the lounge and listen to a DJ digitally spinning, take in a fashion show and browse the lineup of new bikes and gear.
By race time Haas had pulled some strings and we were sitting front and centre above pit-row in the Mazda suite with an optimum view of the start grid and podium. Racers would complete 32 laps of the 2.243 mile circuit for a total of 71.8 miles (115.5 km) and each and every time they whizzed by at speeds I last clocked of about 164mph, my heart would pump that much faster and I would have to adjust my ear plugs.
Ducati Riders, Nicky Hayden (69) and Andrea Dovizioso (04) would remain heel to toe the entire race and fly by with the front wheel off the ground in a streak of neon red in hot pursuit of race leader Marc Marquez – the fearless Laguna Seca rookie who would pass Valentino Rossi in the corkscrew and take the checkered flag.
The race seemed to have just begun when it was over and fans clammered onto the track for the podium presentation and then to the pits to meet their favourite racers.
That night, the Chart House restaurant in Monterey served up some of the best seafood I have ever eaten and we ended the night at the Red Bull party where racers couldn’t catch a break from spying cell phones waiting for a moment to catch them drinking – the price of fame.
Stay tuned for Part III of WWW – MotorcyGal down