TOMMY HAYDEN NOMINATED FOR AMA PRO RACING SPEED CHANNEL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Nov. 2, 2005) -- Tommy Hayden, 27, of Owensboro, Ky., earned his first nomination for the AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year by virtue...
TOMMY HAYDEN NOMINATED FOR AMA PRO RACING SPEED CHANNEL ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Nov. 2, 2005) -- Tommy Hayden, 27, of Owensboro, Ky., earned his first nomination for the AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year by virtue of his outstanding performance in this year's Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei.
Hayden won the highly competitive Supersport title for the second straight year becoming only the third rider in the history of the series to accomplish that feat. Hayden won the title despite breaking his hand three-quarters of the way through the season. He held off a determined charge by his youngest brother and Kawasaki teammate Roger Lee Hayden to secure his second AMA road racing championship.
"I'm honored to be nominated," said Hayden, who is the oldest of the three racing Hayden brothers. "The season got a lot more challenging after I was injured, but fortunately Kawasaki gave me a great bike and I was able to finish the season strong to defend the title."
Hayden kicked off his 2005 campaign with a victory in the Daytona Supersport race. He won three of the first six rounds and took command of the series standings after archrival Jamie Hacking was sidelined from injuries suffered in a bicycling accident. Then came a crash at Mazda Laguna Seca in July, which left Hayden with a broken right hand. His crew fabricated a special throttle grip so he could race the Laguna AMA Superstock event and he was able to finish sixth though riding in considerable pain. From there Hayden did what he needed to do to win the championship, scoring a pair of runner-up finishes to his brother and a fifth in the season finale at Road Atlanta to secure the title. It was a gutsy performance for the veteran rider.
This year Hayden passed Mike Smith to move into second on the all-time wins list in AMA Supersport racing history.
I had the best bike, for sure, by far," Hayden said after wrapping up the championship. "That made things a lot easier. I think it showed at Daytona at the beginning of the year. I was just really comfortable and really, really quick right out of the gate. It gave me a good advantage straight out to start the season. And then about halfway it was just about finishing up and staying ahead."
Hayden is an 11-year AMA Pro road racer. He was named AMA Superbike Rookie of the Year in 1997. Hayden is also an established flat track racer. He won an AMA Grand National race, the Springfield (Ill.) TT, in 2001.
Kawasaki has announced a return to the premier AMA Superbike class in 2006 and Hayden is set to be a part of that effort.
The AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year Award is the highest honor an AMA racer can receive. Past recipients include such legendary names as Bob Hannah, Scott Parker and Kenny Roberts, among others. Generally speaking, the award goes to the rider judged to have had the most successful racing year. A "lifetime achievement" approach can also be considered if the season complements a remarkable career.
A selection panel made up of AMA and AMA Pro Racing staff, field staff and volunteer leadership is named by the AMA Pro Racing CEO and that panel evaluates nominations and determines the final winner.
The 2005 AMA Pro Racing SPEED Channel Athlete of the Year will be named at the AMA Pro Racing Championship Awards Banquet, on Sunday, Nov. 20, at Paris Las Vegas. The five nominees will be announced in the weeks leading up to that event.