Monday, May 22, 2017

Motorcycle Racer Nicky Hayden Dies From Bicycle Injuries - May 22, 2017

July 30, 1981 - May 22, 2017
Nicholas "Nicky" Hayden
Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA.
Nicknamed "The Kentucky Kid",  he was an American professional motorcycle racer who won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006. Hayden had two brothers, Tommy and Roger Lee, both professional motorcycle racers, and two sisters, Jenny and Kathleen. In 2010 Tommy raced in the AMA, and Roger Lee competed in the Superbike World Championship.

On May 17, 2017, Hayden was hit by a car while riding his bicycle near Rimini, Italy. The driver of the car stated that he was on his way to work when Hayden passed through a Stop sign and suddenly appeared in front of him. He was unable to avoid a collision. The speed of the driver is not yet known but the impact of Hayden slamming into the windshield was strong enough to completely shatter it and dent down the roof of the car. Hayden's bicycle was found in the nearby ditch with its frame snapped in half.

Hayden was taken to Rimini hospital with severe injuries. At 6:00 p.m., four hours after the accident, Rimini hospital staff announced that he had been moved to the major trauma unit at the Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena for possible surgery. It was widely reported by mainstream media that Hayden was put into a medically-induced coma for surgery, which is not the case according to Hayden's father Earl. "Nicky was never placed into a coma nor has he received any surgery as his condition is too severe to operate." Hayden sustained a traumatic brain injury as well as a broken femur, broken pelvis, and multiple fractured vertebrae. Five days after the accident, Hayden died in the hospital on May  22, 2017.

Hayden started road racing with the CMRA, often against racers many times older. He would often start races from the back of the grid because a family or crew member would have to hold his bike upright as his feet would not yet touch the ground. Later, at age 17, he was racing factory Honda RC45 superbikes while still in high school. In 1999, he won the AMA Supersport championship on board a privateer Honda. In 2001, his first full season as an AMA superbike racer, he came within 40 points of winning the championship, finishing behind only champion Mat Mladin and runner-up Eric Bostrom. The 2002 season, however, would see Hayden answering the bell: he won the Daytona 200 on a Honda Superbike en route to becoming the youngest ever AMA Superbike Champion, defeating reigning triple champion Mat Mladin, among others. He also entered the World Superbike round at Laguna Seca, making a solid 4th in the first race before colliding with Noriyuki Haga in race two.

Hayden was one of a long line of American road racers to come from the American dirt-track scene. In 1999, Hayden won his first Grand National Championship race and took Rookie of the Year honors. He was also declared the AMA's athlete of the Year. In 2000, Nicky Hayden won the Springfield Short Track. In 2002, despite racing in just a handful of dirt-track events, Hayden was able to win four races. At the Springfield TT race, the three Hayden brothers took the first three places (Nicky 1st, Tommy 2nd, and Roger Lee 3rd). The win at the 2002 Peoria TT came after beating thirteen-time Peoria winner, Chris Carr, despite starting from the penalty line. Hayden only lacked a win at a mile track to join Dick Mann, Kenny Roberts Sr., Bubba Shobert, and Doug Chandler in the prestigious "Grand Slam Club." The FIM named him a Legend in November 2015 prior to the Valencian Grand Prix.

His traditional racing number, 69, was the same number his father used.
(Photo;express.co.uk)
Nicky Hayden beat Valentino Rossi for the 2006 MotoGP world title.

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