Racing fans the world over were gutted today after hearing the news that Nicky Hayden, the 2006 MotoGP world champion, has succumbed to injuries suffered in a bicycle accident last week. Hayden, a.k.a. the Kentucky Kid, was one of the roadracing fraternity’s favorite sons, known globally as a terrific ambassador for the sport and one of the racing world’s nicest and most determined competitors.
Any parent will tell you watching their children succeed brings a sense of pride that can’t be matched. But when your child is a world champion like Nicky Hayden, that sense of pride goes beyond winning a tee-ball game. Of course, succeeding at the highest level requires talent, dedication and discipline to achieve. And while you can’t teach talent, the other two traits are within the means of parents to instill in their children.
Paul Carruthers has always been a busy man, even since he was a kid. For the last 30 years at Cycle News (the last 21 of them as Editor), Carruthers was at just about every AMA National roadrace, usually with notebook and tape recorder in hand, and every Wednesday there Cycle News would be in your mailbox, packed with great race reports along with an information-dense news section up front that launched many a feature story.
Four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes turned pro in 1996. So, he’s been around the AMA Roadracing paddock long enough to have experienced the good times of American roadracing before the DMG debacle and the global financial collapse. Given that experience and the fact that he’s the reigning Superbike champ, we buttonholed him at the Yamaha Champions Induction to find out his thoughts on the ongoing changes to his racing series now that MotoAmerica has taken over the reins. Hayes’ answers reflect his experience and his hopes for the role he will play in the near and distant future.
Rules are rules when it comes to racing, but Yamaha’s new YZF-R1 – the star of EICMA 2014 for some of us – doesn’t have to follow any of them. Things get coy when you ask how much horsepower a factory Superbike makes, and Yamaha USA doesn’t even care to divulge horsepower numbers for an off-the-shelf R1. Its European counterparts, though, make no bones about it: 200 PS, they say, which is about 197 crankshaft horsepower in a 439-pound package that looks a lot like the one Vale rides.
As the sole American competing in the ultra-competitive Moto2 class, reigning AMA Superbike Champion Josh Herrin has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. With a life-long desire to compete internationally, Herrin signed his Moto2 contract with the newly formed AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing team the same day he won the AMA title. Now that he’s here, the going has been less than smooth. A poor qualifying position at the season opener at Qatar was followed by a turn one crash that took him out of the race just 30 seconds after it started. I caught up with Herrin the Friday of Austin MotoGP weekend at the Circuit Of The Americas, round two of the MotoGP championship, to talk about pressure, Moto2, and life after the AMA.
The new millennium was a big occasion around the world. While some were worried the world’s computers would revert back to 1900 once Y2K struck, in the moto world, there was much buzz in the world of racing. Ducati were owning World Superbike with the 996, and Honda wanted a piece of the pie. Since the rules allowed liter-class twins to compete with 750cc fours, after a moderately successful run with the ultra exclusive RC-30 and RC-45, Honda adopted the “if you can’t beat’em, join’em” mantra, and Soichiro’s boys set out to create a Ducati-beating V-Twin. The result? The RC-51. With retrospect on our side, we now know how special this bike became in the hands of Colin Edwards. In this week’s Church of MO, we take you back to 2000, and our first ride review of Honda’s Ducati killer.