Vale Earl Hayden – Cycling news

Laurent Laurent | December 29, 2021

Earl Hayden, father of a racing family that included 2006 MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, and one of the most popular figures in racing paddocks across the world, died on Wednesday. He was battling cancer. He was 74 years old.

Earl and his wife Rose both rode motorcycles when they were young, then as a couple learned to ride their five children, Tommy, Jenny, Nicky, Roger and Kathleen, and soon after they started. to run at a young age. The three boys Tommy, Nicky and Roger Lee all went on to become factory runners, each winning national road racing championships. Nicky became the most accomplished of the Hayden boys, winning the MotoGP World Champion in 2006.

Earl Hayden in MotoGP Japan in 2006. His legacy is important in American racing.

Raising the children on a horse ranch on the outskirts of Owensboro, Ky., Earl built tracks on the property for them to train on and under his watchful eye helped nurture their racing aspirations.

“The Haydens grew up admiring the champions of flat racing and Earl did all he could to help them achieve their goal of following in the footsteps of these champions,” said Chris Jonnum, author of The Haydens: from OWB to MotoGP. “The kids all really loved the race, and Earl was great in helping them get through the times when things got tough and found a way to keep them excited and leveled up.”

Perhaps Earl and the whole family’s proudest moment came in 2002 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena, where Nicky, Tommy and Roger finished one-two-three in the AMA Grand National Short event. Track. It was the first time in AMA racing history that three family members stepped onto the podium at an AMA Grand National event.

count hayden nicky hayden statue
Earl (in white and black cap, front row) at the unveiling of the tribute statue of his son Nicky in Owensboro, Ky., In 2018.

When Nicky claimed his first MotoGP victory at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif. In 2005, Earl was there to greet his son with a big hug, the moving moment captured by the TV cameras and these images flashed through the world.

Tragically, Nicky passed away in May 2017, after being hit by a car while training by bicycle in Italy.

“I would like to think Earl and Nicky are together now, and Earl is standing on the pit wall timing Nicky,” Jonnum said. “There was no one like Earl Hayden and he made so many friends everywhere he went. It seemed like you always walked away after talking to her with a smile on your face.

We will pass on more information as we receive it.


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