This past week, the motorcycle community lost a great one, Nicky Hayden.
Some of you may know from other blogs that I am a bit of a motorcycle junky! My grandfather had one and he passed away when I was in first grade. I had been fascinated but always afraid of them since. (There’s that fear thing again!)
Well, when I met my husband, he told me he raced motorcycles and I was hooked! After dating for a while I had my motorcycle license, my own motorcycle and a true appreciation for the art of motorcycle racing.
I got into watching MotoGP, the international top racers in the world and this is where I was introduced to Nicky Hayden, the Kentucky Kid. He was one of very few Americans racing at the top international level. Another notable is Colin Edwards, the Texas Tornado. Every interview I saw with these guys, I just got the feeling that they were genuine, down to earth, fun and kind guys! It’s great to see athletes at the top of their game be so humble.
I saw Nicky win his first MotoGP race ever and it was on American soil at Laguna Seca (the first time in 10 years MotoGP was back in America) in 2005. I saw him do a victory lap with his dad, Earl, on the back of his bike! It was tear-worthy.
Nicky eventually went on to be a World Champion in 2006, something few racers ever do! An article I read today said this was his dream since he was a kid. He set goals and then he went after them!
A couple years ago I got to see him and all the top riders race in Mugello, Italy. He also signed autographs and some of my friends were able to meet and talk to him.
And I got to see his final race on a GP bike on US soil at Indy.
He recently moved to World Super Bike.
On May 22, 2017, at the age of 35, Nicky died from his injuries from a bicycle crash. He was hit by a car in Italy while out riding. There was collective heartbreak in the world of motorcycle racing. One of the nicest guys in motorcycle racing history was gone.