MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest: Bike Night returns to Pacific Grove

Hundreds of motorcycles returned to Pacific Grove Thursday night for Bike Night — an event to welcome bikers to the Monterey Peninsula and kick off this year’s MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest at Laguna Seca.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to highlight the fact that we have this world-renowned track in our backyard,” explained Jenny MacMurdo, president of Pacific Grove’s Chamber of Commerce. “Any chance we have to let people see what’s going on at the track and bring it to town (is) a good thing for us.”

In partnership with WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce welcomed bikers back to Pacific Grove from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a lively night of live music, local food and hundreds of motorcycles.

After more than 20 years of the Peninsula kicking off a weekend of motorcycle races at Laguna Seca with Race Night on the Row — with Monterey’s Cannery Row closing to cars for the event — the welcoming party moved to Pacific Grove last year with the first Bike Night. MacMurdo said that this year the Chamber of Commerce decided to reduce the size of the event, condensing it to a few streets and shortening the time frame. She explained the decision was made to create less of an impact on local businesses and residents.

Candace Brown traveled from Fresno for Bike Night and to watch the races at Laguna Seca this weekend. A motorcycle enthusiast, she said she enjoys attending bike nights because it’s a chance to meet new people with a similar interest in motorcycles.

“Just getting out, seeing all the different bikes, talking to people, getting to know new people,” she said.

Brown said this year is the first time she’s attending the GEICO Motorcycle MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest at Monterey, but she’s most looking forward to the King of the Baggers race because of tradition.

Harold Stearns Jr. has been traveling from Fresno for Laguna Seca’s motorcycle races for years. He spent a few years working MotoAmerica but now comes to town to cheer on friends competing.

“(I was) born and raised on motorcycles, I just like riding motorcycles,” he said. “I grew up riding bikes. … I can’t live without riding.”

This is Stearns’ second bike night in Pacific Grove, and he said he enjoys the event because it brings communities together.

“Most communities do bike nights on a regular basis, but this is on a large scale because we have different communities coming together,” he said. “So, we have a whole bunch of little communities coming together to make one big bike night.”

The Superbike Speedfest is taking place through Sunday. Practices and qualifying events started Friday, while races will take place all day Saturday and Sunday. The weekend includes seven classes of road racing, including: Superbikes, Supersport, Stock 1000, Twins Cup, Junior Cup, King of the Baggers and Super Hooligans.

Hundreds of motorcycles returned to Pacific Grove Thursday night for Bike Night – an event to welcome bikers and kick off this year’s MotoAmerica Championship at Laguna Seca (Molly Gibbs – Monterey Herald).

Contributed by local news sources

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