As a tribute to Nicky Hayden, who tragically died last week, succumbing to the injuries sustained in a cycling accident, we have been running a series of three articles over the past couple of days, by WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast member Steve English. You can read his tribute to Nicky here, and the first part on Hayden's early years in racing here.
The final part of Steve's tribute to Nicky Hayden examines the American's path through racing, from flat track to road racing, and his success in the AMA series. The lessons learned there, and the determination and talent he showed would eventually take Hayden to MotoGP. Written before Hayden's tragic death, the quotes from Nicky and from his father Earl are both still in the present tense. But Hayden's story is such a powerful one, it deserves to be heard as it was told.
The winding road to the top for a champion
The choices we make can have consequences for years. Nicky Hayden's choices as a teenager led him on a path to a world championship
In all walks of life the decisions that you make at an early age can have untold consequences in later life. Whether it's the college you decide to attend or your first job there are certain moments that become cornerstones of your life. For most people the choices can be corrected over the passing of time but for a motorcycle racer with a short career they can have huge consequences.
The pressure on young shoulders once racing transitions from a hobby to a career are huge. Families stake their financial future on a child in the hope rather than expectation it will all work out. In the current economic climate this risk is huge but it has always been the case. The Hayden family rolled the dice on their sons' racing careers and with a world championship trophy on the mantle back home in Owensboro, Kentucky it has worked out well for Nicky Hayden.