Sachsenring Throws Birthday Bash For Giacomo Agostini

Three-day event in Germany draws roadracing champions from around the world, including Americans Kevin Schwantz, Steve Baker, and Freddie Spencer

giacomo agostini birthday celebration
Freddie Spencer, Carl Fogarty, Steve McLaughlin, Kevin Schwantz, and Steve Baker were among those who celebrated at the Sachsenring with Giacamo Agostini.Courtesy of ADAC Sachsenring Classic

Motorcycle racer-turned-promoter Steve McLaughlin pulled out all the stops for his part in the fourth annual ADAC Sachsenring Classic, June 16-18. Marking 90 years of two-wheel competition at the famous German circuit, the three-day event drew an estimated 45,000 fans and coincided with the 75th birthday of 15-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini.

“Last year, I proposed a concept to ADAC Sachsenring and, by luck, Ago’s birthday was on Friday, June 16,” McLaughlin said. Anyone who knows McLaughlin also knows that he doesn’t leave anything to chance. To all but guarantee success, the former Sacramento Mile promoter wrangled some of the biggest names in international motorcycle roadracing.

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A baker's dozen of MV Agustas, some of which were admittedly replicas, represented the 13 world titles Agostini won with the Italian marque. "The MVs had a separate event," McLaughlin explained. "We had them start up 20 minutes before they went to the grid. The fans loved the noise." Agostini rode a Yamaha OW31 in the premier Louis Classic Kings race.

Agostini was joined on track by fellow world champions Phil Read, Carl Fogarty, Christian Sarron, Ralf Waldmann, Dieter Braun, Marco Lucchinelli, Johnny Cecotto, and Carlos Lavado. Kevin Schwantz, Steve Baker, and Freddie Spencer represented America. Now living full-time in Germany, the California-born McLaughlin was inducted to the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004.

roadracing world champions press conference
Seven riders, 37 world titles: Freddie Spencer, Phil Read, Steve Baker, Giacomo Agostini, Kevin Schwantz, Carl Fogarty, and Marco Lucchinelli.Courtesy of ADAC Sachsenring Classic

“The whole thing was a real laugh with Read, Ago, and the Latin contingent of Lucchinelli, Cecotto, [Gianfranco] Bonera, and Lavado,” McLaughlin said. “Getting Fogarty was great. He, like Ago and Schwantz, required bodyguards—there was a bit of fan hysteria with those guys.” According to McLaughlin, Sunday’s event was broadcast live on German network television.

“Sachsenring Classic was a great event,” Schwantz said. “Well attended and pretty well organized. Lots of fans, lots of autographs. Phil Read fell over on the grid before the start of the race on Saturday. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt. All in all, seeing Ago, seeing all the champs—the Lucchinellis, the Lavados, everybody who was there—made the event really fun.”

giacomo agostini raises a glass of champagne
Fifteen-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini raises a glass of champagne in recognition of his 75th birthday.Courtesy of ADAC Sachsenring Classic
roadracing fans gather a sachsenring classic
Thousands of fans came to the Sachsenring Classic for a glimpse of the many former Grand Prix stars.Courtesy of ADAC Sachsenring Classic
fans watch racing at sachsenring classic
The Sachsenring also hosts an annual round of the MotoGP World Championship in July.Courtesy of ADAC Sachsenring Classic