Former MotoGP World Champion and AMA Pro Superbike Champion Nicky Hayden, the Kentucky Kid, would have turned 38 years old today.
On May 22, 2017, Nicholas Patrick “Nicky” Hayden succumbed to the massive head and chest injuries he suffered on May 17, 2017, when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on a road near the Misano Circuit, in Italy. He was 35.
Before his death, he won a number of AMA Grand National Championship dirt track races (needing only a win on a dirt track Mile to complete the Grand Slam of American motorcycle racing), the AMA Supersport Championship in 1999, the Daytona 200 in 2002, the AMA Pro Superbike Championship in 2002, the FIM MotoGP World Championship in 2006, and a FIM Superbike World Championship race in 2016 (Honda’s only win since 2014).
Since Hayden’s death, Dorna has retired his competition number 69 from use in the MotoGP World Championship; the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has inducted him into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and renamed its Horizon Award to be the Nicky Hayden Horizon Award; Hayden’s hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky, has erected a bronze statue in his honor; and Hayden’s family has established the Nicky Hayden Memorial Fund, which is doing charitable work to benefit children in Owensboro, Kentucky.
Happy birthday, Nicky Hayden.