Soup's This Week's Greatest Racing Photo Ever Taken: Mike Hale's Mom
it was as though a character from the film "Casablanca" had stepped onto the motorcycle race scene
by Dean Adams
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
During the mid-1990s at Laguna Seca WSBK, the event experienced continuous growth each year, attracting a larger fan base and incorporating more marketing strategies within the paddock. The primary target demographic at that time consisted of young men under 30 residing within a six-hour radius of the track. The question arose: how could organizers engage and satisfy this demographic? The most straightforward approach involved the use of scantily clad young women.
As a result, Camel girls, Kawasaki girls, Yamaha girls, and others frequented the paddock, posing for photos with men who, in all likelihood, they wouldn't interact with under different circumstances. Their presence also included distributing stickers and providing shade with umbrellas.
These paid promotional models naturally garnered significant attention from ticket-buying fans, who, for the most part, didn't question why these women were there. The combination of Superbikes and adult women in swimsuits proved to be effective, providing eye-catching appeal. However, conversing with many of these models, characterized by their enhanced appearances and selective camera angles, led one to ponder if a modified version of Fitzgerald's "the rich are different" applied—perhaps, "the beautiful are different."
The question arose: how could organizers engage and satisfy this demographic? The most straightforward approach involved the use of scantily clad young women.
When racer Mike Hale's mother arrived at Laguna Seca, it was as though a character from the film "Casablanca" had stepped onto the motorcycle race scene. Mike's mom possessed a striking beauty, radiated friendliness, and exuded an air of elegance. In her presence, men straightened up, profanity vanished, and even the mechanics meticulously calculated the reach of Honda Spray Cleaner before gently squeezing the nozzle to ensure Mike's mom wouldn't encounter any unpleasant chemical odors.
That particular weekend, Mike was in full "kick-ass" mode, and we couldn't resist asking his mom to pose with his Superbike. Her natural vivacity shone through, and she posed without any concerns about photographers capturing her best angles or if she were bathed in perfect light. She was captivating; a timeless beauty and made the paid-to-be-there umbrella girls seem either desperate or trying way too hard.
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