American motorcycle racer, Nicky Hayden has passed away at the age of 35 as a result of injuries suffered after he was struck by a vehicle while cycling in Italy late last week. Nicky was known as the “Kentucky Kid” and was famous for his flat track inspired riding style, his professionalism and perpetual positivity. His crowning achievement as a racer was winning the 2006 MotoGP championship in what remains one of the most entertaining seasons ever with Valentino Rossi and Hayden battling to the very end. He remains the last North American to win the title.
Fans of racing here in North America will recall Nicky and his brother’s Roger Lee and Tommy tearing up the AMA circuits, and of course their ever present parents and biggest supporters, Earl and Rose. Nicky also leaves behind sisters Kathleen and Jenny as well as his fiancée Jackie Marin.
Tommy Hayden issued the following statement after Nicky’s passing:
“On behalf of the whole Hayden family and Nicky’s fiancée Jackie I would like to thank everyone for their messages of support – it has been a great comfort to us all knowing that Nicky has touched so many people’s lives in such a positive way.
“Although this is obviously a sad time, we would like everyone to remember Nicky at his happiest – riding a motorcycle. He dreamed as a kid of being a pro rider and not only achieved that but also managed to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport in becoming World Champion. We are all so proud of that.
“Apart from these ‘public’ memories, we will also have many great and happy memories of Nicky at home in Kentucky, in the heart of the family. We will all miss him terribly.”
“It is also important for us to thank all the hospital staff for their incredible support – they have been very kind. With the further support of the authorities in the coming days we hope to have Nicky home soon.”
Our thoughts go out to the Hayden’s, who are one of the truly great families in motorcycle racing – their loss is shared by so many.