Yamaha Motor Corporations celebrated its 50th anniversary in style last weekend with a monstrous motorsports event in Northern California.

The first ever Red Bull U.S. MotoGP at Laguna-Seca raceway near Monterey, California, was the site of the party, as Yamaha celebrated its birthday with more than 150,000 motorcycle fans over the weekend.

MotoGP is the top level of road-racing motorcycles — it’s the motorcycling equivilent to Formula I car racing, with hand-built, million-dollar-plus bikes ridden by the top riders in the world.

This was the first U.S. appearance of the top level of international road racing since 1994, and it was made possible by Yamaha, which invested over $2 million in the Laguna-Seca race track to bring it up to the standards of this elite circuit.

“The MotoGP involvement is just one way Yamaha can show its appreciation to our customers,” says Bob Starr, Corporate Communications Manager of the Motorsports Group. “and I think our customers will also be quite pleased at some of the other surprises and activities we have planned for the year ahead.”

Yamaha’s huge tent at the event had historic motorcycles, autograph sessions with past and current racers and many other things going on. There wasn’t a large snowmobile presence at the event, though Yamaha was celebrating its entire motorsports background.

For its birthday celebration, Yamaha held a big private party Friday night, and followed that with a party for fans at the track Saturday evening, featuring music performed by the band “Smash Mouth.”

Look for complete coverage of the event in an upcoming issue of Snow Goer magazine.

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