As a tribute to Nicky Hayden, who tragically died last week, succumbing to the injuries sustained in a cycling accident, we will be running a series of three articles over the next couple of days, by WorldSBK commentator and Paddock Pass Podcast member Steve English.
After Steve's tribute to Nicky Hayden posted earlier, the second article is part one of a long look back at Nicky's early years, and the passion for racing he developed in childhood. It explains some of the motivation which drove the American to such great heights of success. 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.
Nicky Hayden, a journey through his past
Growing up in Kentucky Nicky Hayden was a motorcycle racing protegé from an early age but winning hasn't come easy to the Hayden family
Over the last 15 years Nicky Hayden has become on of the most recognisable faces in the motorcycle racing world. He's morphed from the Kentucky Kid to an old hand of the paddock and now the Kentucky Legend.
But where did that legendary status come from? Hard work, dedication and an insatiable love of racing are the traits that have made Hayden famous but the cornerstone has always been family and loyalty.