HPI Racing visits MotoGP @ Laguna Seca Raceway
July 20-22, 2007
Text/photos: Rodney Wills
The 50th Anniversary Season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca features the fastest motorcycles in the world!
While most of you viewing this page may be from radio controlled hobby industry or fans there of, many of you may not and some of you may even be from my other favorite industry, the motorcycle industry, but the following images will give a little glimpse of just what it takes to prepare some RTR [ready to run] WheelyKing’s for a demo we did in association with Aprilia Motorcycles as they treated their dealers to an evening press launch of their new bikes prior to the MotoGP Race and Laguna Seca. MotoGP is basically the two-wheeled version of F1.
In the box and out of the box, Andrew Hilman, Graphic Designer at HPI Racing, is very versatile! Whether it’s his normal duties of graphics on the daily or painting the majority of the HPI Racing factory graphics and paint schemes that you see through the website and at events, he is very passionate about his work! He put in painstaking time to paint the Aprilia bodies to have the motorcycle dealers of said brand to drive them. He does the labor of love no matter the event or the situation. Simply put, Andrew is the man and it goes without saying that his motto is “image is everything!”
More than 143,000 people witnessed the ’07 Red Bull U.S. Grand prix race, making it the largest spectator event in Monterey County, California. As the large crowd was on hand, American fans where hopeful for a podium with American names in the top 5 throughout each qualifying session, with John Hopkins and Colin Edwards looking strongest.
The drama and tension would start and end with the drop of the green flag and a first turn collision between two top American hopefuls, Nicky Hayden and John Hopkins as they collided and handed the event over to Australian Casey Stoner, who stormed to victory in Sunday's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Hayden would later retire from the race and Hopkins would go on to collect a 15th position as the 21-year-old Stoner led start to finish -- 32 laps around the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. His sixth win of the season puts him 44 points ahead of Valentino Rossi after 11 of 18 rounds in the MotoGP World Championship. Another Australian, Chris Vermuelen, finished second, while Italian Marco Melandri finished third for the second consecutive year.
While this was the ending highlight of the weekend, this event could be touted as the West Coast sport bike version of Sturgis. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is a rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota each first full week of August. It was founded on August 14 ,1938 and originally focused racing and stunts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgis_Motorcycle_Rally MotoGP and AMA provided the racing in conjunction with Laguna Seca… Yamaha provided the concert and Red Bull provided the Stunts!
The previous night, a California rock band on a world tour joined the American round of the MotoGP World Championship. Hoobastank took the stage on Saturday, July 21, during the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca treating fans to a free concert! Hoobastank, avid motorcyclists and followers of MotoGP, sought out the opportunity to play at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix to ensure they’d finally get to see the race, which features the only appearance of the MotoGP World Championship in North America.
"All of us ride motorcycles and we are big fans of MotoGP,” said Chris Hesse, drummer for Hoobastank. “We missed it the last two years because we were out on tour, so we are thrilled to finally see it in person. I'm even riding my (Yamaha) R1 up there. We're looking forward to playing amidst all the other GP fans and can't wait to see Rossi, Hayden, Edwards and all of our favorites duke it out in Monterey."
Saturday night also saw two events provided by Red Bull with a Freestyle MX show in one location and within walking distance and moments later, a street stunt bike show. Both where packed! As we watched the freestyle show to the end and made way over to the street stunt show, it was evident that people had already been waiting for this show to start as it was triple deep around the bicycle fencing that surrounded the area making use of the sidewalks for the people and the small street that had maybe 100yards closed off. Small and tight, but the show was explosive. The bike performance consisted of only one rider performed by Chris Pfeiffer on a new BMW 850R that was by far the best stunt show I personally have witnessed! AND the new BMW 850R had a very distinct sound that I have never heard before. It was not loud at all, but was very deep note – very thumper’ish and very crispy. I wanted that bike right then and there just for the sound it makes! Red Bull knows how to host events and shows and Chris Pfeiffer knows how to work the crowd!
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’s Golden Anniversary season features a world-class racing schedule including the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 20-22, the 34th Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races August 17-19, the AMA Superbike Championship September 15-16 and the Monterey Sports Car Championships, the American Le Mans Series’ season finale, October 19-21.
2007 MotoGP Laguna Seca Results:
1. Casey Stoner (Ducati)
2. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki)
3. Marco Melandri (Honda)
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
5. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
6. Randy de Puniet (Kawasaki)
7. Anthony West (Kawasaki)
8. Makoto Tamada (Yamaha)
9. Alex Barros (Ducati)
10. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki)
11. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
12. Shinya Nakanao (Honda)
13. Sylvain Guintoli (Yamaha)
14. Carlos Checa (Honda)
15. John Hopkins (Suzuki)
16. Chaz Davies (Ducati)
DNF Nicky Hayden (Honda)