Hayden Reveals Racing Plans

Henny Ray Abrams | September 4, 2002
Nicky Hayden, American Honda’s recently crowned AMA/Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Champion, dispelled recent misinformation about his upcoming racing plans by saying that he’ll be racing in only a few of the remaining rounds of the AMA/Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship, one of which gives him one more chance to complete the Grand Slam.

“I never planned on doing them all, but there were some rumors going around that I was,” Hayden said of his racing in the final four rounds. “I won’t be at Vernon Downs (New York) this weekend, but am going to do a couple more. Columbus (the 9/21 makeup date from an earlier rain-out), I’m not doing. I am doing Du Quoin (the mile, on 9/28).”

Hayden said that there was a conflict between the Honda dealer show and the 9/14 Tunica, Mississippi short track. “It’s the Honda dealer show that weekend, but if I can get out a day early, I’m going to do that,” Hayden said.

The mile is the last discipline Hayden has to master to complete the Grand Slam and he’ll get his final chance this year, and maybe final chance in a while, at the Du Quoin mile, the dirt track season finale. Hayden’s representatives are known to be deep in talks with Yamaha to join their MotoGP team. If he signed to race overseas in 2003, it would likely preclude him from racing dirt tracks next year.

Hayden said he’d be riding Terry Poovey’s 1stLegal.com RS-750 Honda on the Du Quoin mile and his own Honda CR-450F on the Tunica short track, if he goes.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.