Couple Honored for Decades of Volunteer Service to Raceway

Kathryn Hayworth plans to be a fixture in the lobby of the Embassy Suites the next two weekends. She’ll be registering racing teams Thursday through Sunday as they check in at the Seaside hotel for the American Le Mans Monterey (May 11-12) and Ferrari Racing Days (May 18-20), both of which will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

This is nothing new for the veteran Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) board member. She’s been a familiar face at the registration race desk since 1974. Besides registering drivers and their crews, Hayworth and her helpers also do the press registration and will-call tickets.

“I had just graduated from UC Davis, and a friend asked if I’d like to volunteer to help out (with SCRAMP),” Hayworth said. “There were free tickets involved, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ And I kept going back.”

Besides running registration for more than 35 years, Hayworth became the first woman elected to the SCRAMP board of directors in 1981. Still a board member, the Del Rey Oaks resident has also served as secretary of the board and two terms as president.

She laughed and said the only position she hasn’t held is treasurer.

In 2001, Hayworth also created the Laguna Seca Raceway Fund, a nonprofit endeavor that allows people to make tax-deductible

donations to the raceway. The purpose is to fund major track improvements.

“This organization covers projects that neither SCRAMP nor [Monterey County] is able to do alone,” she explained. “We’ve been able to contribute towards the construction of a new scoring tower and improved the area around the Cruisin’ Café as well.” The county owns the track.

For Hayworths and her husband, Mike, a Laguna Seca race weekend is a complete family affair. For many years, the couple’s daughter, Caroline, has helped out at the registration desk.

“When she was a toddler and other children played school, Caroline played ‘registration,’ ” Hayworth said with a big smile.

While the women in the family are working at the Embassy Suites, Mike Hayworth volunteers at the raceway.

Mike began working in the information booth at the track in the early 1980s and oversees the volunteers who staff the various booths today. He also serves as a race steward for events sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America.

For club races held at Laguna Seca, Hayworth, as the chief steward, will control the races from start to finish. He and the stewards under him oversee the safety of the races and sportsmanship or rule compliance issues.

One of the ironies of their involvement in raceway events is that Kathryn is never able to see a race until Sunday afternoon after she closes the registration desk. In her husband’s case, he is able to hear what’s happening on the track and he can usually snatch a few minutes to actually watch at least some of a race.

Although all of the marquee racing events at the raceway draw well, Hayworth said the Red Bull Grand Prix motorcycle race in July has the highest profile and garners the most international media coverage. On the other hand, the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion in August attracts the most competitors, with between 500 and 600 drivers participating.

In early March, Mike and Kathryn Hayworth were honored by the Motor Sports Press Association for their collective 62 years of service to Northern California sports car racing. The couple received their “Outstanding Contribution to Motorsports” plaque at an awards dinner held at the Blackhawk Auto Museum in Danville.

Larry Albedi, an announcer at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for many years, nominated the Hayworths for the award. Besides volunteering locally, the couple also work at Sports Car Club of America events at Infineon Raceway and Thunder Hill in Northern California.

Married 33 years, the Hayworths both graduated from Monterey High School. They have been members of the Pebble Beach Sports Car Club and the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America, and they own four vintage sports cars.

Mike, who is the parts manager for BMW Monterey, has raced on and off over the years. Besides volunteering for sports-car events, he also serves as a planning commissioner for Del Rey Oaks.

ROBERT WALCH/FOR OFF 68, Salinas Californian