LAGUNA SECA, USA
Laguna Seca Raceway
1021 Monterey Highway 68
Ticket sales: 001-831-648-5100
Local tourist info: 001-831-424-7611
On the U.S west coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Laguna Seca is easy to get to, though approximately three hours by car from SF and six hours from LA, so you will probably want to book a local hotel – which sell out fast. The main Highway 101 linking the two cities will all take you near Monterey, so it’s just a case of finding the right exits. It’s not necessary, but as soon as you can you owe it to yourself to take Highway One, the Pacific coast highway – it’s unforgettable, and much more relaxing than sitting on a freeway for hours. Don’t speed because the cops have guns and get very twitchy during roadside stops – statistically it’s the time when they are most likely to be themselves shot. Oh, and by the way, it’s nowhere near Laguna Beach, so don’t head for that.
SBK: Anthony Gobert, Australia (Ducati 996) 1:25.50 – 94.18mph (2000)
Set in rolling Californian hills, Laguna Seca is plonked half on a hillside, half in a natural bowl, so it’s excellent for spectators, and challenging for riders. There are too many concrete barrier walls for most world championship riders’ tastes and the pit facilites are non-existent, but the thing they all remember most about Laguna is the famed Corkscrew turn, a cliff-face of a corner which drops near-vertically down from the highest point of the track and is loved by some riders and feared by many more. Awesome, as the local fans would say (usually adding " whooh! yeah! aw-riiighht! " ). Turn two is as challenging a corner as you will find anywhere in the world, a downhill heavy-on-the-brakes left approached fast over the blind crest of a hill, and the last turn has seen some spectacular outbraking moves in its time. Like Sugo in Japan, Dunlop riders are at an advantage because the firm supplies most U.S championship teams so have lots of data. A word to the wise though – unlike European security guards who are pretty laid back (and unarmed), the pistol-packing " Lagooners " take NO abuse.