They come from all over the West Coast, converging on this asphalt playground idyllically set in the Monterey hills just a stone’s throw from the Pacific Ocean. And with good reason: The racecourse dubbed Laguna Seca (or, technically, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca) boasts a series of twists and turns that boggles even the most jaded adrenaline junkies. The iconic track has also been the setting of some of America’s most hotly contested races, including those in the AMA Superbike, World Superbike and MotoGP motorcycle series.
Built in 1957, Laguna Seca unfurls its 2.238 miles of pavement into 11 turns, highlighted by the circuit’s signature corner, the famous downhill-plunging Corkscrew at Turns 8 and 8A, considered one of motorsport’s most challenging turns due to an abrupt drop in elevation after a blind crest. The physically demanding layout means that some truly epic battles have been waged on this tarmac.
1974–1984 No discussion of Laguna Seca is complete without acknowledging “King” Kenny Roberts. Roberts logged so many wins there that it might as well have been his home track. The legendary racer earned two AMA Grand National Championships and three 500 cc World Championships and won the Laguna Seca 200 six times.
1988 The track hosts its first U.S. Grand Prix, and 100,000 fans fill the venue to watch future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz battle Eddie Lawson, who logs his 20th GP win at this event.
1983–1991 Wayne Rainey’s record at Laguna also deserves mention: three consecutive U.S. Grand Prix wins (1989–1991), victories in the 1983 and 1986 AMA Superbike Championship races, and the 1984 AMA 250 Grand Prix race.
2005 After an 11-year sabbatical, it’s the second coming of MotoGP, with American favorite Nicky Hayden battling Colin Edwards, along with international superstar Valentino Rossi. Fittingly, it’s Hayden for the win on home turf!
2008 This epic MotoGP battle between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi is a nail-biter, as the two swap leads multiple times, to the delight of the U.S. crowds. Rossi eventually prevails.
2015 MotoGP is now gone, but the international WorldSBK event as well as MotoAmerica’s new series roars into town on July 17–19. Don’t miss it!