On the 22nd May 2017 the Motorsport world came grinding to a halt as the news broke that Nicky Hayden had sadly lost his short battle to survive a cycling accident right next to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, today 1 year on we got together and decided to share what our favorite memories are of the 2006 MotoGP world champion.
Josie Smith Moto3 Reporter:
“Nicky is an icon, a hero and a legend, there is no two ways around it. His infectious smile, his glorious personality and his heart warming accent made everyone love him. His on track action was truly breath-taking, that 2006 championship victory and the now iconic picture of a tearful Hayden with the American flag show just how much it meant to him and how hard he had worked, it’s difficult to look at the pictures and not feel a sense of pride. It wasn’t just his on track displays that made Nicky so incredible, his love and dedication to his family made him all the more wonderful. Nicky’s tragic death at such a young age is a colossal loss to the world as a whole, not just the racing world but, in true hero Hayden style, he decided to donate his organs so others can have a chance. Nicky, you will always be a hero. Ride on, Kentucky Kid.”
Jacob Ward Moto2 Reporter:
“Nicky was just an absolute hero. Cool as ice, but so friendly with anyone who met him. The fact that he came into MotoGP before the sport even had a website from the USA just added to the allure: who was this cowboy who was running a bike that was constantly sideways? He had a special aura about him, and was just untouchable at home on the Repsol Honda. I first saw him in person at Donington 2005, and I would not leave without getting some kind of clothing bearing the 69 with the Stars and Stripes. I still have that hat today, I’ll never let it go. The win in 2005 at Laguna Seca was celebrated like a title win, you could see how much it meant. And the 2006 title win, it said what kind of person he was, that the first thing he did when he got to Parc Ferme was grab his brother and tell him THEY had done it. He always rode a bike like he had stolen it, but what he was off track made Nicky our best champion in my opinion. Ride on Kentucky Kid, thank you for the memories!”
Nat Jarvis MotoGP Reporter:
“Nicky Hayden, every-time I say that name I still find it hard to believe that he’s no longer with us, for me my fondest memory of Nicky was the interview after Dani Pedrosa had taken him out in Estoril, He sounded so upset so broken like he knew he’d left the door wide open for Valentino Rossi, so come 2 weeks later in Valencia everyone was expecting Rossi to take the championship so much so that the traditional fireworks at Valencia was all yellow to celebrate Rossi’s tittle, what happened Rossi crashed and Nicky rode a faultless race taking the championship and the scenes we saw bought tears of joy to everyone. It was the in my opinion the best underdog story ever to happen, David and Goliath. When the news broke I found it hard, everyone loved Nicky fans, riders, journalists and teams. Thank you Nicky, Thank you for your infectious smile thank you for you excellent humor.”
Charli Andrews Overtake Motorsport Assistant Manager and Formula E Reporter:
“While formula 1 was always my first love, watching Nicky out on track made it impossible to not love MotoGP equally. His charisma on and off the track made him and instant favourite of mine. His championship win in 06 is, and will always be, on of my most cherished Motorsport memories. The passion and resilience he showed was second to none. That day, for me, saw Nicky epitomise everything I adore about motor racing. News of his death shocked me and I still, even after a year, can’t quite believe he is no longer with us. The bike racing world has lost a legend and I have lost a hero. Ride on Kentucky Kid.”
Finally I leave you with one of my personal favourite videos of Nicky, it’s Nicky making good on a promise to a fan.
Featured Image Credit: motogp.com