Truth In Fairy Tales: Jimmy Filice Wins The '88 USGP 250 Race
by dean adams
Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Jimmy Filice sent the GP paddock on its ear in 1988. Here his son Justin poses with the '89 USGP trophy. Justin now races the 600 class with sponsorship from Pro Honda Oils.
image by craig sanders
While Eddie Lawson's epic 500cc win grabbed most of the attention at the 1988 Laguna Seca USGP, San Jose's Jimmy Filice easily scored one of the most surprising wins in Grand Prix history when the diminutive ex-dirt tracker blew away every machine on the grid with a flag to flag domination of the '88 250 race. Filice was a stand-in rider on Erv Kanemoto's Honda team, and a last minute replacement at that. His surprise performance put Euro-dweebs into the fence: as he led the race by four seconds, European broadcasters didn't even know who he was.

Filice, with an infectious smile, became an overnight sensation in 250 racing after his amazing Laguna win. People still recite his podium statement to him from that afternoon in April of '88: "The Honda worked good, the tires worked good, and you know what? I worked good too!"

In 1989 Filice earned a factory HRC 250 ride from his Laguna performance. While ready to repeat at Laguna, he finished a close second to John Kocinski (a former team-mate) in the '89 250 race.

A nasty car accident later derailed that period of Filice's 250 career, but he still looks back on the late 1980s Laguna events as some of the best riding he ever displayed.


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