It is with very heavy hearts that the Dunlop family mourns the tragic loss of Nicky Hayden. Words cannot do justice to how we, and the whole racing community and fans the world over, feel right now. There was never a single moment in all the years we had t he privilege to work with Nicky on his journey to fulfilling his boyhood dream of becoming a world champion that he didn’t give it everything he had, no matter the challenge he was facing. And always, win or lose, he had a way of making it all better with that beautiful smile of his. His great morality, respect for everyone, kindness, dedication and true love of racing will never be forgotten.
“When I remember Nicky I will think about him as a person grounded in family values with a heart as big as the state of Kentucky,” said Mike Buckley, vice president of sales and marketing. “The family values learned from Earl and Rose over the years helped make him the most humble world champion the world may ever know. In spite of the lofty status Nicky rose to, I could always rely on a handshake, and genuine catch up conversation every time I saw him—that’s a person who was not only taught to be respectful but never forgot where he came from. Class personified for sure. He will be sorely missed.”
Jim Allen headed up Dunlop’s U.S. racing program during the years Nicky was racing here. Allen recalls, “Even when things didn’t go exactly right with the tires, it never got personal with Nicky. He’d just talk about the situation, listen to what I might say and ask if ‘we’ could do better. You always wanted to do better for Nicky because you always knew he was giving it 100 percent. He and his amazing siblings were raised in a great family by wonderful parents. Nicky was taught to respect everyone—those of us who were lucky enough to work with him and those of us who watched him from a distance. We were happy to give it back.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Rose, Earl, Tommy, Roger, Jenny, Kathleen and Nicky’s fiancée Jackie as well as the rest of his family and friends during this terrible time.
God speed Nicky. You were the best in all of us. And you will be with us forever.
Text and photo courtesy Dunlop Motorcycle Tires