Updated: Something About Karts At Laguna Seca, Or, No Wonder They Couldn’t Fit AMA Formula Xtreme Into The Schedule

Updated: Something About Karts At Laguna Seca, Or, No Wonder They Couldn’t Fit AMA Formula Xtreme Into The Schedule

© 2005, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.


YAMAHA AND GE TO SPONSOR SUPERSTARS OF SUPER KARTS FEATURING GRAND PRIX MOTORCYCLE LEGENDS Rainey, Lawson, Schwantz and Chandler Back on Track Together at Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MONTEREY, Calif. (May 31, 2005) Fans attending the 2005 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix July 8-10 will think it is “déjà vu all over again,” as former grand prix motorcycle world champions Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson and Kevin Schwantz, along with three-time U.S. Superbike champion Doug Chandler, will once again be mixing it up on track during the Yamaha and GE Superstars of Super Karts race. “This event is a chance to see our road racing heroes competing again on the racetrack,” said Bob Starr, Corporate Communications Manager for Yamaha Motor Company. “On behalf of GE’s Consumer and Commercial Finance businesses, as well as Yamaha during its 50th Anniversary Celebration, we’re proud to be a part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend through this sponsorship as well as our contribution to the track improvement program.” With thanks to Superstars of Super Karts race sponsors Yamaha and GE, the motorcycle champions will compete head-to-head with some of the world’s best Super Kart racers. They’ll all be piloting 250cc racing karts that feature semi-enclosed bodywork and rear wings and can reach speeds up to 140 mph around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course. “People look at these Super Karts and think they are cute little toys, but they haul butt around here,” according to Lawson. The four-time world champion (1984, ’86, ’88, ’89) set the Super Kart lap record at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2003 – 1 minute, 23.875 seconds, an average speed of 100.864 mph. (Troy Bayliss turned the fastest official lap on a motorcycle at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca when he road his Ducati around the circuit in 1 minute, 24.833 seconds during the 2002 World Superbike Championship event.) Lawson will be competing with three-time world champion Wayne Rainey (1990-92), 1993 world champion Kevin Schwantz and three-time U.S. Superbike champion (1984, ’86, ’88, ’89) Doug Chandler, who tested a Super Kart for the first time back in January. “Driving a Super Kart around here is completely different than racing a motorcycle,” said Chandler, who is new to Super Karts. “These karts have so much more grip than a bike through the corners. It is going to take some getting used to, physically. But this is just a good opportunity for us (Rainey, Lawson, Schwantz and himself) to get together on the race track again.” The motorcycle racing legends will be competing against some of the top Super Kart racers in the world, including Gerald Siebert, an eight-time Australian Super Kart champion, and American Larry Kurpiewski, a five-time International Karting Federation (IKF) Grand National champion. All of the Super Kart racers take to the track on Friday, July 8, for a pair of practice sessions. They’ll be on track three times on Saturday, July 9, with a morning warm-up, qualifying session and a 25-minute race scheduled for 3:10 p.m., immediately following MotoGP qualifying. The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix features round 8 of 17 in the MotoGP World Championship, the fastest two-wheel sport in the world, along with support races from AMA Pro Racing and the Yamaha and GE Superstars of Super Karts. A complete schedule of the weekend’s events is available online at www.laguna-seca.com. Tickets to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix are on sale now by calling (800) 327-SECA or (831) 648-5111, or logging on to www.ticketmaster.com or www.laguna-seca.com. And now, some reader reaction… FIRST PERSON/OPINION Via e-mail: I can’t understand how karts fit into an international motorcycle event. It’s unfortunate that our money for tickets and time will be used up by what could be considered an exhibition race to promote kart racing. Who at SCRAMP looked at this kart race and figured it would be great to have this during a motorcycle event? The only reason it was considered is because of the participation of ex-superstars of motorcycle racing. Take the four guys out of the race and it wouldn’t have been considered. Motorcycle race enthusiasts purchasing tickets to a motorcycle event want to see “motorcycle” racing. Take the karts to a kart event where people are interested in watching four wheelers and stop wasting our time and money. Seriously, are there any kart racing enthusiasts traveling to Monterey just to watch the kart race? Come on, SCRAMP! The next time you want to add value to your events you might check to see if has any value to your customers. By the way, this has nothing to do with Lawson, Rainey, Schwantz, Chandler or any other Super Kart driver attending this event. I have respect for all these superstars but this is not the correct venue to show off their Super Kart skills. In addition, I’m guessing the company responsible for spending millions of dollars upgrading Laguna Seca has forgotten to address the paddock area. Perhaps they will have to cancel another AMA class to make room for the karts….. Chris Scott Laguna Niguel, California

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