Starting from unassuming dirt track beginnings at the age of four, Nicholas “Nicky” Patrick Hayden has captured many titles in premier motorcycle racing, including the MotoGP World Championship.
Nicky Hayden, also known as The Kentucky Kid, is an American professional motorcycle racer. He was born in July 30, 1981 in Owensboro, Kentucky, into a family of racers. Hayden’s parents, Earl and Rose, raced dirt track, as well as his two brothers and two sisters (Tommy, Jenny, Roger, and Kathleen).
Nicky was riding a bike when he was 3 and participated in his first race only a year later. With such an early start, he won his first Dirt Track Grand National Championship when he was 18. He also received Rookie of the Year award and was named AMA Athlete of the Year.
From that moment on, he competed regularly in the category and spent nearly every weekend traveling to tracks all over the American Midwest with his family. The Kentucky Kid has always faithfully run the same No. 69 that his father had during his racing career.
The Haydens were not rich by any means, and the family’s main source of income was Earl’s used-car dealership—2nd Chance Auto Sales (now called 3rd Chance). Interestingly, Nicky’s father still works in this shop.
As a youth, Nicky would often start the race from the back of the starting grid while his family or a crew member held his bike upright because he could not touch the ground. When he became eligible to turn pro on his 16th birthday in 1997, Nicky followed older brother Tommy into AMA racing. Two years later, he won the AMA Supersport championship on board a privateer Honda. His very first full season as an AMA superbike racer was in 2001. That year he came within 40 points of winning the championship, finishing behind only two racers (the champion Mat Mladin and the runner-up Eric Bostrom). Next season, Nicky won the Daytona 200 and became the youngest AMA Superbike champion ever, earning a promotion to the MotoGP world championship with the Repsol Honda factory team.
In 2003, in his first year of motoGP racing, Hayden finished fifth in championship points standings. Next year was difficult for Hayden, but luckily, in 2005, he had his first win and finished the year third in the standings behind only Marco Melandri and Valentino Rossi.
In 2006, Nicky became MotoGP World Champion, and in doing so, Tissot’s first ever World Champion ambassador. The Swiss watchmaker knew how to answer on this great opportunity and instantly launched first Nicky Hayden’s limited edition watch. Every year since then, motor racing fans could enjoy in the new editions of Nicky Hayden’s watch line.
After he won MotoGP World Championship, Nicky had to get used to several changes. In 2007, the GP category moved from 990cc to 800cc machines and Hayden was not immediately comfortable with the new machine. In 2008, Nicky had another year of mixed fortunes and he was widely critiqued, especially at the start of the season when, despite several top-five finishes, he failed to reach the podium. Also, he had an injury to his foot. The next big change in his career was when he joined the Ducati Team in 2009. That year, the Kentucky Kid in 17 starts only made it to the podium once and finished the 13th overall.
In 2010, Nicky also managed only one podium finish, but despite his lackluster results, he finished seventh overall after posting respectable top-10 finishes throughout the year.
Last year, it was a disappointing season for Nicky Hayden and his Ducati team. Hayden ended season by breaking his left scapula (shoulder blade) and two ribs in a riding accident at an indoor track near his home in Owensboro,Kentucky.
The 2012 season promises to be an exhilarating season for Hayden. Besides, this year Nicky marks one-decade competing as a factory rider in the world’s top road racing series. A shift from 800cc to 1000cc bikes this year fills his followers with hope as the athlete’s last race with a similar engine earned him the MotoGP World Championship. Following that spirit, a Swiss manufacturer, Tissot, has launched an interesting and dynamic limited edition timepiece – T-Race Nicky Hayden Limited Edition 2012.
Like the previous Nicky Hayden’s timepieces (for example, T-Race Nicky Hayden Limited Edition 2010 and T-Race Nicky Hayden Limited Edition 2011), the new watch is produced in the limited quantity of 4,999 pieces. Also, Tissot’s eye-catching novelty boasts Nicky’s team colors – red, black and white.
The Kentucky Kid has been with the Swiss luxury watchmaker for many years, and his association with the brand has really helped deepen his appreciation of time and timekeeping. This is what Nicky thinks about this partnership: “Tissot gives me a great deal of support, so it’s very special to have such a great relationship with a fantastic company and I think we are a great match.”
In his career, Nicky won 3 races, earned 5 MotoGP pole positions and achieved the fastest lap in a MotoGP race 6 times.