American racing legend Gary Nixon died today in a Baltimore hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was 70 years old.
Nixon was fearless as a racer and along with his buddy Barry Sheene he wrung more fun from one life than most people can in ten. Even as recently as a few years ago in one of his many side gigs as a guest of Kawasaki at press intros, Nixon, in his late 60s, would ride fast all afternoon, stay up all night enjoying the libations with the press dorks and tell a never ending stream of stories. Even in his 60s he was faster on his battered 250 Ninja than many front-running club racers.
To this day, MotoGP rider Nick Hayden describes Nixon as "my hero". At Sears Point once, Ben Spies jumped out of an autograph session to chase down Nixon in order to shake his hand.
Written by Joe Scalzo, Nixon's biography "Racer" is considered one of the true classics of racing literature.