It sure seemed like a field day for the local constabularies in writing traffic tickets. I mean, the traffic situation was so bad and of course all of us motorcyclists do what we do best, take advantage of our smaller profile, more manuverable attributes of riding on two wheels, and pass up the less fortunate cagers.
They should at least shutdown most of the two-way traffic and use both lanes for outgoing or incoming as the situation presents itself. It was horrible getting in and getting out!!
Having been to Laguna once before, I knew what to expect from the traffic situation. Opening up the east road through the bombing range was a good idea and probably helped a little. And it is a fun and scenic road, and we found our way to the old base and spelunked for a while which was cool.
But as a mere general admission pass holder (even with a paddock pass) I felt like a second-class citizen compared to the masses of VIP tents and suites everywhere. I don't remember all that from the WSB races in 2002. We are left to try to peer over the top of a bunch of chain-link fence surrounding the track and that's about it. I'm glad I was there for the first one and it was a fun trip, but I don't think I'll plan on going back until they make it a little more accomodating for the little guy.
In fact from what I understand, even a bunch of the riders in the AMA support races felt the same way. Either they should bring in the 250s and 125s and make it a normal GP weekend, or Dorna needs to learn to play nicer and share.
I've gone Laguna a half-dozen times. Last year my brothers, son, and I rode up PCH to the MotoGP race. The race was great, but the faciliities sucked. Being on bikes we could at least get to the track in less than 2hrs - although one of us got a ticket. But even after getting there it would take 1/2 an hour just to cross a pedestrian bridge. Nintey percent of the viewing was blocked by hospitality stands and grandstands.
This year, we're going to take that beautiful ride up PCH to Monterey, turn around and ride home and watch the races on TV.
The biggest improvement to the fans would be a combination haircut, bath and shave combined with some casual yet stylish attire in light summery fabrics, cotton of course being the hit of this season. Accessorized with perhaps a small diamond or hoops and a nice matching flat chain neckless in silver or gold for the ladies and a nice button down casual print and cargo shorts combo for the gentleman.
The sleeves of course should be long enough to cover the oh-so-overdone "tribal" tatoo's , and bare midrifes on the women should be discouraged unless they're trim and athletic with no unsightly stretch marks or blemishes. Footwear is of course more relaxed and sandles are acceptable. However socks and sandles, particularly black socks and sandles are the stylistic equivilent of a booger hanging out of your nose and should be discouraged.
These simple improvments should make raceday more pleasent for all viewers and cost so little.......
Last year pissed me off so much with the price gouging hotels and mental case cops I declared a personal boycott of Monterey County and eliminated it as a potential location for a user conference I'm involved in planning. I can't wait for Laguna to lose the event so a professionally run venue can take over.
I went and it rocked! I think that the offsite camping setup we had was ideal. Air conditioned shuttles had us back and forth quickly except for sunday. I found some good places to watch from. It'd be OK with me if not as many came in '06 as long as enough come to carry the event.
I went and I must say that the organization sucked. I stayed in San Jose (!) because the MOtel 6 there was at regular rate (rather than something like $150 a night or more for a crappy room). I had to commute about 1+ hr, but it was on my bike and I usually commute about 35 minutes a day anyway. This is one way to screw the local gougers. The access was FUBAR: someone said that cops were there only to ticket, and that's the truth. The bottleneck was that there were few people to check the tickets and those few people seemed to be local volunteer/minimum wage workers, not particularly interested in being fast. Once you were in, I found it pretty good, if you had a grandstand ticket (which I did) and if you did not try to go through, for example, the dunlop bridge. There were booths at the entrance of the bridge on either side, so people waiting in line would be blocking the people trying to pass and the personnel there did NOTHING to help the situation: they just sat there and kind of looked at the damage. I know many are just volunteers, but I say pay them and expect some actual work. It was very poorly organized, IMHO. I expect some problems with crowd, etc. at any large event, but this was pathetic! STill, would I go back? Hell, yes! Sitting in the grandstand (turn 4), listening to the combined roar of all the bikes passing together after the start was unforgettable. I had a paddock pass and I also walked around a lot, so I got to see a lot of the riders fairly close by, got to see and hear my childhood hero (Giacomo Agostini), and I got to thank Wayne Rainey for helping bring back the MotoGP, I chatted with the Ducati mechanics and some of the others, I took in all the smells/sounds/sights, etc. etc. If you like bikes and racing, you have to go: it is unforgettable.
Laguna Seca's not too bad, if you go for the MotoGP. We recommend getting there on Thursday, in order to have dinner with Valentino Rossi courtesy of AGV Helmets, who will also take care of your hotel bill for the long weekend at the Hyatt.
You can watch the practices on Friday - your VIP passes are good for the whole weekend - or visit the Robb Report hospitality suite and classic bike & car show and auction in Monterey.
Traffic is less crazy on Saturday than it will be on Sunday, so that's the day to ride in and park your motorcycle in the Honda lot right next to the Parts Unlimited hospitality tent on Turn 5, where they have tent and umbrella shade, hot hors d'ouvres and a lunch buffet and cold drinks, and an awesome view of the riders as they arc through the turn about 20 feet from your table. Today's also a good day to use your pit passes to tour the pits, see the GP crews and meet Michael Jordan at his team's area. Cheer on your shop racer as he competes in the AMA race after the MotoGP practices. Finish the day with Kevin Scwantz, Eddie Lawson, and other legends as you close the bar at the Hyatt - it turns out that's where they hang out and they're normal guys and are happy to talk about bikes and racing until 2 am.
Sunday is nuts, and the crowds are impossible, so take a Red Bull helicopter from your hotel to the Red Bull hospitality tent at the start line. They don't quite have the view of the Parts Unlimited tent, because the racers are moving too fast and it's farther from the course, but the bar cannot be beat and the widescreen plasmas show a live video feed from every turn and it's well air-conditioned. And you can see the podium fairly well, so you'll see Rossi (who you gave one of your shop shirts on Thursday) probably get a first instead of a third this year. Wait until the crowds leave, and then do a lap on the track on your shop racer's HRC CBR1000RR after they leave the access gate open.
I was watching the action from my TV at home, so I didn't have to deal with the lines. Myself and a few people were considering going, then cheaped out- we didn't even consider the line ups.
The biggest thing they need to change is the national anthem. Now, I am not sure if they do this at other raceways, but having the Star Spangled Banner stamped on any event in the 50 states is kind of annoying. I would overestimate that about 10% of the people involved in MotoGP are actually American, so I don't really know who the anthem is for. If that wasn't bad enough, the singer got the lyrics wrong! Good on Nicky Hayden to burst out laughing- that sort of national embarrassment needs a light heart, I'm glad he won the race too.
I think I will try to get out there next year, even if the crowds/traffic/motel rates do suck- just so I could say I saw a round of MotoGP in person.