A Motorcycle Beauty Pageant

Red Bull Race Sign
Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway

Three years ago my husband asked me if I wanted to go to the Red Bull United States Grand Prix motorcycle races at the Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca. First question: Don’t you have any motorcycle nerd friends who would want to go with you? No, he didn’t. I knew that when Michael was a boy in Greece, he had read a lot of motorcycle magazines, seen pictures of the track at Laguna Seca outside of Salinas, and dreamed of being able to go there one day. So I knew I had to humor him, and I reluctantly agreed to go to the races.

Well, it just goes to show you that sometimes you have to be dragged to the party. I had a great time! I loved the race and being around a gillion motorcycle-loving riders. And so we’ve gone to the races for the past three summers. Last weekend we joined over 135,000 spectators to watch two races. It was a bright and sunny day, and the race was close and exciting.

Below is a picture of where we park when we get to the races. Since we ride Michael’s old–I mean “classic”–BMW to the race, we take a special motorcycle-only road to the parking lot. When you arrive, there are rows and rows of beautiful bikes lined up on acres of dirt.

Motorcycle Parking Lot at Laguna Seca
Motorcycle Parking Lot

Motorcycle Parking Lot
Another view of the parking lot

The first year we went, we didn’t really know what to bring with us, but this year we were pretty organized. Although we leave from Monterey, where it’s often overcast and cool, by the time we get to the track, it’s usually sunny and warm, so we have to be prepared. I dress in layers, bring a hat I can squish into a backpack, bring a moving blanket to sit on, and two of those soft folding chairs to give support to our aging backs. This year Michael added one of those shade tents so we wouldn’t burn up in the sun. Next year I plan on bringing a soft cooler for drinks and sandwiches so we don’t have to wait in the snack bar lines. This year we sat on a hill above Turn 2 for the race.

Raceway Turn 2
On the hill above Turn 2

Australian Casey Stoner won the race in a tight battle against Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo. (We were rooting for Lorenzo because he rides a Yamaha, my husband’s favorite kind of bike.)

One of the best things about the weekend is going to Cannery Row in Monterey on Saturday afternoon. Officials close off the road to cars, and hundreds of motorcycle riders who’ve come for the races bring their bikes down to put them on display.

Cannery Row - Monterey
Looking towards the aquarium at Cannery Row

Another View of Cannery Row
Another view of Cannery Row in Monterey

It’s really a beauty pageant for motorcycles. Before long, two rows of motorcycles, handle-bar to handle-bar, line both sides of the street, and people walk up and down admiring them.

Bikes on Display
Bikes on display

Rows of Motorcycles

It’s so much fun to see the different motorcycles and their riders. I’m partial to the “girly” bikes in pinks and purples. There’s usually only a few of them out of the hundreds of red, yellow, and blue “manly” bikes. And yes, I know that I am stereotyping here, but just take a look…

Pretty in Pink
Pretty in shimmering pink

Scary and Pretty
Scary and pretty pastel

Pink and Black
Love the swirly pink pin-striping

Beautiful Blues
Beautiful blues

Glorious Greens
Glorious Greens

Tony the Tiger?
Tony the Tiger bike

Fur Coat
Showing off a new fur coat

How’s that for creativity!