There have been murmurings that Harley-Davidson was going to build its own EV design and research center, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, and today those rumors became true.
What makes a good motorcycle show? Is it the amazing bikes? Is it the venue? Or is it the spirit of community that makes some of these events more special than others?
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Golden Bolt Motorcycle Show at The House of Machines (THoM), in the Arts District of Los Angeles, and it was a great mix of bikes, venue, and community.
The brainchild of bike build Kevin Dunworth of Loaded Gun Customs fame, the Golden Bolt offered a change from other motorcycle shows by adding some unique aspects.
Elected on a platform to do away with regulatory interference, especially Obama-era fuel economy targets, the Trump Administration is now looking to end California’s waiver under the Clean Air Act.
Ending the waiver effectively means that the United States would finally have a unified set of regulations for vehicles emissions and fuel efficiency standards, as California (through the California Air Resources Board) often sets higher requirements, through its Clean Air Act waiver.
Looking to gut the regulatory force of CARB, this news would also mean that vehicle makers would have lower targets to hit for gas mileage efficiency (37mpg instead of 46.8mpg), which in turn means that brands would have to sell fewer electric vehicles as well.
Lastly, under the proposed changes, vehicle emission standards would freeze at the planned 2020 levels, until the year 2026.
I am just now getting to the photos I took during the WorldSBK round at Laguna Seca, so apologies for the delay. As such, I have compiled the entire weekend’s shots into a single gallery, rather than breaking them out by day.
The order isn’t chronological then, but instead works its way around a lap of the track. The gallery starts in pit lane, with bikes and riders getting ready to take to the circuit. Next follows the pageantry of the starting grid, as my colleague Andrew Wheeler would call it.
A few shots from Turn 1 (the scariest turn in all of motorcycling, if you ask me), Turn 2 (the double-apex known better as the Andretti Hairpin), and Turn 3 (one of my favorite turns, as a rider) to get things started.
I pick the WSBK riders up again at the top of the hill at Turn 7. This vantage point always provides some good heavy braking shots, with riders often lifting the rear-wheel off the ground as the head into The Corkscrew – though, I didn’t seem to get that shot this year.
Taking a number of vantage points to this iconic turn, I shot the Corkscrew from both the inside and outside. The inside shots are the ones that are more famous, but my favorite photos from Laguna Seca always come from the outside, where on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean in the background.
Coming down The Corkscrew I got a sequence of PJ Jacobsen finding the wrong line through the turn, with the marshals facing a very difficult bike recovery situation, which included fluid on the course.
Following the line through The Corkscrew, riders sweep wide into Rainy Curve (Turn 9), before tightening the line at the apex. The Corkscrew isn’t that technical of a turn to ride, beyond the fact that if you get it really wrong, you will lose all your drive down the hill and thru T9.
One of the few right-handers, Turn 10, and then the bus stop that is Turn 11, and the racers are back on the front straight. This is where I caught them again, power-wheelieing out of T11 and accelerating in front of the grandstand.
If you do this 20 or so times faster than anyone else, you find yourself in parc fermé with bubbly in your hands. This year the crowd got a taste of the prosecco as well, courtesy of Jonathan Rea.
Enjoy the shots, I left them in super-high resolution form in case you need a new desktop background. Note, there are more photos in the thumbnail gallery, if you want to click through those as well.
With Jonathan Rea’s future firmly set at the Kawasaki Racing Team, the focus this past weekend at Laguna Seca was on the future of his teammate, Tom Sykes. The Yorkshire man had spared few words in the media for his team and teammate in the days ahead of the California round, and he certainly wasn’t holding too much back once he was at Laguna Seca. You could almost smell the smoke emanating from Sykes, a result of the bridge that was being burned behind him. Sykes is 99.9% not riding with Kawasaki for the 2019 World Superbike Championship season, and he finds himself as one of the top picks in the paddock in the rider market. Chaz Davies is another top rider who is highly sought after in the paddock, and he is likely to remain at Ducati.
The American Frontier was about finding a way to survive. To do this, people from all over the world had to work together and find a way to coexist on the open plains and in the mountains. They did this because they knew the rewards could be massive.
Unimaginable wealth was underneath the rivers and mountains of the West Coast, and everyone believed they would find it.
Every racer in the world also believes that their trophies and points are at their fingertips once they have the tools at their disposal. Finding a way to work with a group of people from all over the world, and making them believe in you, is crucial.
The American Dream was founded on the ideal that anything was possible, and Racer’s Dream is based on the belief that you’re the best in the world and any issues you’re having are just a temporary delay of the inevitable.
At Laguna Seca, we had proof once again that the Racer’s Dream is real.
It’s always good to come home. That’s how I feel every time I return to Laguna Seca.
Driving off of Boundary Road, and onto the perimeter of the track, then cresting the big downhill that descends behind Turn 2, towards the green parking area, I always get a big smile knowing that a great weekend of racing is about to begin.
This weekend was no different, with bright, sunny skies, a good crowd, and lots of great racing in both the World Superbike and the MotoAmerica series.
The US Round of the 2018 WorldSBK season highlighted, once again, the importance of hard work in motorcycle racing.
Last year, it was hard to imagine Milwaukee Aprilia standing on the podium on merit; on Sunday Eugene Laverty made his long-awaited return to the rostrum.
We have seen in recent rounds Yamaha win three races with the R1, but last weekend’s races arguably did more to prove the potential of the bike.
The US Round of the World Superbike Championship sees the paddock decamp to the West Coast, and for the Superbike riders this is certainly a favorite round of the campaign.
The challenging Laguna Seca circuit is unique and rightfully regarded as one of the most action-packed and thrilling on the calendar. The laps might be short, but there’s no rest for the wicked in the Northern California hills.
In WorldSBK, gear ratios are fixed for the season, and with the deduction in revs for 2018, this will be even more crucial. We see a lot of variety at Laguna Seca with regards to gear patterns, and this will be even more exaggerated this season.
In the past, some riders were forced to use six gears whereas others were using only five around the 2.2-mile track, but ahead of the action you could expect to see all riders using six gears this weekend.
Laguna Seca snakes its way through the Monterey hills, around a lake, and offers as much of an engineering challenge as a riding challenge.
Laguna Seca is one of the world’s most famous race tracks, and it could play host to a memorable race this weekend.
Yamaha is on a roll, Kawasaki is in the midst of what could become a difficult break-up, and Ducati is looking to recapture lost form at a venue of past glories.