Two years after his tragic death following a traffic accident in Italy, Nicky Hayden remains a revered figure in the minds of many of his fans, colleagues and admirers. That goes for current LCR Honda MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow.
“For me,” Crutchlow said, “thinking about Nicky is a sad story. Because he was a true motorcycle racer. He was fast. He was clever. He was always happy. He was good-looking. And he was a great guy. Now, I think we all think about him all the time. But what stood out for me with Nicky, I always said to my wife, actually, is that he must love motorcycles, because he didn’t need to race. As we know, he didn’t need to go to World Superbike. He didn’t need to continue. But his love for motorcycles was superb and that’s what I loved and admired about him more than anything, was that he just loved riding motorbikes. No matter if he had a bad result, he was still smiling, still happy to try and improve it in the next race. I have a daily reminder of him, because my daughter runs around with a little Nicky Hayden 69 teddy bear, that I see all the time. I think from my point of view he was such a talent. I don’t think people understood the drama he went through with his wrist. Remember he had the wrist (problem), he still kept coming back and wanted to fight? How many times did people say he was retiring with that wrist? And he came back and fought, and he was competitive. So yeah. I think … it’s still so strange, going to a race or watching a race that he would have or should’ve been in. So you always have a constant reminder of Nicky, there’s no doubt about that.”