Monterey, CA — The distinctive roar of vintage motorcycles firing up will fill the air at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for a July 16-18 event to cap off West Coast Bike Week in Monterey.
The AHRMA Classic MotoFest of Monterey will feature vintage road-racing motorcycles — from 1920s-era hand-shifter V-twins to booming Grand Prix single-cylinder machines — in on-track competition. There will also be vintage motocross, observed trials, cross country and dirt track racing.
“We’re setting up a great track and hoping the atmosphere will be festival-like with all the different types of racing going on,” said Rob Poole, a veteran of vintage motocross who’s been competing for 22 years. “I’ve always really liked Laguna Seca, and the road racers are very excited about coming because it’s a pinnacle track and on everybody’s bucket list.”
While Poole and some of the motocross competitors have been to WeatherTech Raceway before, many of the road racers, including 67-year-old Pete Jorgenson, have never been on the fabled road course.
“I’m excited to experience it,” Jorgenson said. “I’ve only seen the track in a magazine, and I knew that it was a place I wanted to race someday.”
While looking forward, AHRMA members are also remembering the past. The organization lost one of its founders and most cherished members when legendary racer Dick Mann passed away April 26.
Mann — a two-time winner of the American Motorcyclist Association Grand National Championship — along with Fred Mork and Mike Green, started the California Vintage Racing Group, which would go on to become one of the charter groups under the AHRMA banner in 1989.
“He spent his entire life around motorcycles and promoting vintage racing,” Mork said. “All motorcycle enthusiasts owe him so much. Dick Mann was a racer’s racer — meaning that the racers all looked up to him and people would try to emulate him. He stood out and had a lot of grit and was well-respected. He was the father of vintage motocross.”
“We’re honoring Dick this season,” said Poole, who credits Mann with getting him into vintage racing in 1989. “This season is kind of hollow without him because he’s the guy who made this all happen. He worked tirelessly to help vintage racing take place and did a lot for the sport. He taught me a lot about motocross track layout and bike setup.”
Jorgenson recalls an encounter with Mann in the early AHRMA days.
“The first time I went to an AHRMA race and saw Dick, he told me that every time I came to one of those races, it was always going to be 1969 on the track. I thought that was really cool because that was a great period in motorcycle racing.”
There’s no doubt Mann would’ve had plenty of input into how the motocross track at WeatherTech Raceway will be set up.
When the AHRMA Classic MotoFest of Monterey comes thundering into WeatherTech Raceway, the competitors will be part of the Dick Mann Team Challenge, based on teams made up of one competitor from each AHRMA competition discipline. The results of individual team member performance at selected AHRMA events during 2021 will determine the winning team.