Under normal circumstances, I would say that if you missed the World Superbike / MotoAmerica round at Laguna Seca this weekend, then you missed a great weekend of motorcycle racing.
Of course, the deaths of Daniel Rivas and Bernat Martinez have written a tragic ending to an otherwise great story, and their passing is still being felt around the industry, both here and in Spain.
Before that tragic race started though, Dorna released the attendance figures for American round, quoting 52,704 people in attendance over the race weekend. Breaking things down by day, that’s 12,436 fans on Friday, 18,559 fans on Saturday, and 21,709 fans on Sunday.
This accordingly means that World Superbike fan attendance for 2015 is up 6.7% over last year’s total attendance, which was 49,408. It should be noted that attendance in 2014 was up 20% over 2013, the first year of WSBK’s return to Laguna Seca.
To put those numbers in perspective, World Superbike is commanding just under half the crowd the MotoGP Championship brought to Laguna Seca, with the series’ final season on the Californian coast bringing 118,696 people through the gate.
This means the good news is that World Superbike is growing in America, in terms of fan-interest to watch the races in-person. The bad news is that the event still pales in comparison to what MotoGP brought to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
This analysis of course ignores the fact that MotoAmerica has replaced AMA Pro Racing at the national level, which surely is going to affect ticket sales.
I can say from personally walking around Laguna Seca this past race weekend, the circuit certainly seemed to be more crowded than in past years, more so than the statistic of 6.7% suggests.
The vendor area had more participants, the parking lots were quite full, and as always the hotel prices were sky-high.
The question remains though, can World Superbike as an event continue to grow in the USA if the general interest in WSBK racing remains stagnant in the American market? Can it afford to stay on the Laguna Seca calendar if that interest doesn’t change?
We’ll loop back later this week on some of those questions, with a couple stories.
Source: Dorna & Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Photo: © 2015 Scott Jones / Photo.GP – All Rights Reserved