Number 69 Retired in Tribute to Nicky Hayden

Back in January, Dorna announced that number 69 would be retired from racing, as a mark of respect for the late, 2006 MotoGP champion.

Nicky Hayden spent his entire career – from grassroots series, all the way up to MotoGP – riding under this number.

Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, stated at the ceremony that “Since the beginning, after we lost him, we thought it’s something we must do. Nicky was something special for all us, his behavior was really fantastic.”

 

“Nicky had a lot of success on track, but I think we all agree he made just as big an impact off the track and everyone’s lives – whether friends, family or fans. That’s something we are most proud of.”
– Tommy Hayden

Nicky Hayden’s family, surrounding his championship winning bike. (Credit: MotoGP.com)

 

Further to the official ceremony, Hayden’s 2006 championship winning bike was on display for fans at COTA’s turn 18. This part of the track has been affectionately renamed “Hayden Hill”.

This ceremony comes after Nicky was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2018.

 

Who is Nicky Hayden? A look back at his career…

Joining MotoGP in 2003, Hayden burst on to the scene with his fun-loving attitude, joking nature and, most importantly, serious speed!

In his first season, Nicky was invited to join leading team Repsol Honda, to ride alongside reigning world champion, Valentino Rossi. He finished fifth in the championship and, thanks to impressive performances, secured the title of “Rookie of the Year”. He then landed his first race win at the Laguna Seca GP in 2005.

Then, in 2006, came Hayden’s finest year as he ended his team-mates 5-year-long streak of Championship titles. He led the way for much of the season – taking command of the standings after only the third race. However, he was forced to fight back after an incident with Dani Pedrosa, at the penultimate race, left him eight points behind Rossi.

 

Moments after crossing the line and securing the 2006 title. (Credit: MotoGP.com)

 

Two further years with Repsol Honda were followed by five, sadly unsuccessful season with Ducati before he finished his MotoGP career with two years at Honda Aspar.

Making the switch to join World Superbikes for the 2016 season saw Nicky quickly return to his winning ways on the Red Bull Honda machine. He finished fifth in the championship after securing a brilliant win at the Malaysian GP and three additional podium finishes.

On the 17th of May 2017, Nicky was training in Italy after the recent Italian GP. He was hit by a car whilst cycling and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He died in hospital, five days later, aged 35.

 

(Credit: MotoGP.com)

 

Why did Nicky choose number 69?

Despite its connotations, Nicky, in fact, chose the number as it had been used by his father, Earl Hayden, who was also a racer. It was previously used by both of his brothers, during their own careers. This then allowed them the option to use each other’s machines if one happened to break down during a weekend of racing – so rumour says.

It is said that Earl originally chose the number after crashing a lot, stating that people could still read the number, even if the bike was upside down.

Nicky spent just one year without the number 69 on the front of his bike. In 2017, after winning the MotoGP World Championship, he traded it for number 1.

 

(Credit: MotoGP.com)

 

Who else has ridden under the number 69?

  • Roger De Coster – a professional Motorcross racer and is now Motorsport Director of KTM. He won five 500cc titles under the number 69.
  • Jimmy Gaddis – secured the 1991 125cc Supercross Championship, and later two AMA Arenacross Championships whilst adorned with the number 69
  • Ernesto Fonseca – a hugely successful Supercross and Motorcross rider who used number 69 throughout his career
  • Carlo Coen used number 69 in 1996 during his American Motorcross and Supercross careers
  • Doug Henry was adorned with number 69 in 1990 before going on to become a three-time AMA Motorcross champion
  • Kent Howerton rode with number 69 in 1989 after winning three AMA national championships, including the 500cc title in 1976 and the 250cc title in 1980 and 1981
  • Rodney Smith, now a Motorcross Hall of Fame inductee, used number 69 on his bike in 1983 before going on to win five Brazilian MX championships and a further 13 AMA National championships

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP.com


Posted on 15th April, 2019 for The Checkered Flag

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NowMoto sits down with Superbike champion, Carl Fogarty – Exclusive Interview

Carl Fogarty, fresh from his first run up the Goodwood hill climb, sat down for an exclusive chat with NowMoto. He opened up about the beauties hiding in his garage, and the one rider he wished he could have battled against on track.

As a relatively young motorsport fan, I could be forgiven for assuming that a man who retired from racing in 2000 would no longer hold such a hero’s status. But this isn’t any racer. This is Carl Fogarty.

It’s not until you are running through the pitlane Goodwood, herded by chaperones and swerving through fans, plenty of who are shouting “Foggy!” to try and catch the attention of the man in question, that you realise quite how important Carl Fogarty is to the racing world.

“It’s a great festival, to be honest,” Carl began our chat, lazed back in the gardens of the drivers area, enjoy the blazing sunshine, “If you’re in to motorsport [there are] cars, bikes, everything!” It is hard to deny the spectacle that is Goodwood. Everywhere you look, there is another beasty machine to gaze upon.

And what a beast Foggy is riding this weekend! He is working alongside Triumph this weekend, testing their new Moto2 engine, which will debut in 2019. “I rode its bigger brother – the Speed Triple and the Speed Triple R which I rode this morning.” Foggy commented. “It will be interesting to see how it does feel – it sounds amazing and everyone’s looking forward to it [being used] next year. It’s a fantastic engine – a great power band and great characteristics of power and it sounds incredible.”

Compared to the two cylinder Honda engine that the Moto2 teams are using now, this three cylinder Triumph engine should provide a significant improvement to the racing on the track. “…and it will certainly make for a better sounding bike than what they’re running now.” Foggy gushed.

“The bit you’ve got to do, which is a bit boring for me because I’ve raced motorbikes, is wobble up someone’s driveway on a dusty drive, on someone else’s bike. It’s what the people want to see and you get to see us all here which is very rare for the bike guys and car guys to be in the same place – and the fans love it”

When I quizzed the ex-world champion about the lost magic of World Superbikes, his answer was simple. “[When] MotoGP was born and that stuck a big nail in the coffin of World Superbikes” he stated. His voice now seemed distinctly different, as if reminiscing about an old, long lost friend. “It’s a great championship and it means a lot to me.”

Foggy’s golden era of Superbikes won’t be forgotten in a hurry. Awesome on-track rivalries, to the wire championship battles and beasty machines wrote the era firmly in to the history books.

But the toughest guy he ever raced against? “That’s really a hard question – there were so many guys I raced against.” was his initial response. An unsurprising response when you look back at his 12 year WSBK career. “Probably some of the American guys like Colin Edwards and John Kocinski were quite difficult – probably Kocinski if I had to pick one. He was a very talented guy.”

“I think superbikes will always struggle to get back to the dizzy heights it reached because of MotoGP being the biggest four-stroke championship in the world. But when I raced in it [world superbikes], it was the biggest four-stroke championship in the world. Then in 2003, MotoGP was born and that stuck a big nail in the coffin of World Superbikes and it’s never really recovered from that date, to be honest. It’s a great championship and it means a lot to me.”

At this point, I decided to turn the conversation towards today’s WSBK grid, and namely Jonathan Rea, who is on the edge of securing his fourth title to match Foggy’s record. “I think Jonathan is one of those kind of riders that would have run up front in any era of Superbikes or any racing. I have a lot of time for him, he’s a great rider and I couldn’t think of anyone better or that I’d be happier to lose my records to. I’ve held them for about 25 years now – I think that’s long enough anyway!”

I couldn’t let the topic pass without asking that one fateful question – “Oh yeah, I’d beat him! Of course I would! I have to say that!”

It seems that Foggy’s garage at home is bursting at the seams. I had hardly finished the question before he began reeling off a, seemingly never-ending, list of machines. “I’ve got…at home I’ve got a Triumph Speed Triple, a Triumph Street Scrambler, a KTM Dirtbike, I’ve got a Sherco trials bike, a Honda Flat Track bike – so a few there! Oh, and the Ducati that I won the championship on in ’98, that’s in there as well.  Just a few!”

But his favourite? That was a question that stumped him! After some umm-ing and ahh-ing, Foggy finally made his decision. “I think my favourite bike of all time is probably the Ducati 916, but my favourite bike to ride on the road is probably the one I’ve got now, my Triumph Bonneville. It’s great to have on the road, I love it.”

If nothing else, our conversation with Foggy has left us incredibly excited to see what the Triumph engine can bring to Moto2 next year. The team at NowMoto would like to thank him and the team at Triumph for their time.

To read the full transcript of the interview, click here.

Feature Image Credit: Steven Andrews


Originally posted on 20th July, 2018 for NowMoto

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