His Name Is
THE HAYDEN WHO GOT IT ALL ROLLING
BY PAUL CARRUTHERS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA WILSON AND
THE HAYDEN COLLECTION
arl Hayden is not only the patriarch of the racing Hayden
family, he's also a storyteller.
A good one. Get him started, sit
back and enjoy. Apparently the skill
of spinning a yarn goes back a ways.
"I had to tell bedtime stories every night and Nicky was the worst,"
Hayden says of his middle son, the
2006 MotoGP World Champion.
"I had to tell him… 'coming off the
last corner at the Sacramento Mile,
Wayne Rainey leading, Doug Chandler, King Kenny Roberts, Eddie
Lawson and Nicky Hayden.' At the
end, King Kenny would nip Nicky
and I had to tell the whole story again
until Nicky won. I might tell it with him
getting third, but I had to keep telling
it until he won the photo-finish."
And to think the rest of us got
tucked in with Dr. Seuss.
Earl Hayden is without a doubt
one of the most popular men at any
race he attends. And he attends
plenty. He's a regular in whatever
series his sons race in – and they've
raced in them all, from MotoGP to
AMA Superbike and every place in
between. When he was gone for a
spell over two years ago, there was
a huge void in the paddock. "How's
your dad? How's Earl?" It was the
question of the day for the Haydens
(Tommy, Nicky and Roger Lee) when
Earl wasn't at the track – a place
he'd been for almost his entire life.
Hayden was home for all the
wrong reasons. He was battling
throat cancer – the only thing that
could keep him away from the racetrack. But he's better now. Guess
we can chalk it up as another battle
won by a Hayden.
"For four months I was probably
in bed 22 hours a day," Hayden said
of the early days of his cancer. "And
the kids were racing. It's enough to
make you sick.That winter it was cold
and windy and I can remember the
first time that I got up to walk
to the mailbox… it was the