Tommy Hayden Looking for Work

Henny Ray Abrams | October 4, 2011


Tommy Hayden has been left without a ride following cutbacks at American Suzuki and the Yoshimura Suzuki race team.Hayden, who won three races and finished third in the AMA Superbike Championship, had a “real good idea” at the end of August that the team was downsizing to one rider – Superbike series runner-up Blake Young – and was more certain at the AMA season finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park.American Suzuki recently laid off more than 30 people, including the final three race team members, in what continues to be a depressed motorcycle market. The race team also lost Rockstar as a sponsor for 2012.

Chris Clark is expected to take Hayden’s seat in a pay-to-ride deal.”I mean, it’s just the way it is,” Hayden, 33, said in a phone conversation from his home in Owensboro, Kentucky. “It’s really a bummer, but I don’t know what to do about it. It’s just the way the sport is right now. You either have money or bring money. I’m not sure if I’d won the championship this year I’d be in any different position.”Though he’s currently without a ride, Hayden said that, “Even now they’re still trying to find sponsors and stuff.”If that happened, Hayden would likely return to the team.”Right now, everything’s done.”Hayden has spoken to the Jordan Suzuki team “a few times” and “they act like they’re interested, but I’m not sure. I think they’re interested in keeping Ben [Bostrom] and Roger [Lee Hayden].”If the Jordan team were to run three riders, they’d have to find additional sponsorship, Hayden believes.

“Nothing’s been confirmed. They’re still working on that.”Bostrom and Roger Lee Hayden are going to Daytona for a Dunlop tire test on October 17-18.”And I’m not going, so it’s not a good sign,” Tommy Hayden said.There has been interest from teams from both Superbike and Daytona SportBike teams, but “nothing super-interesting right now,” he said. “People are feeling it out, asking questions. Nothing really solid right now. Just people talking, asking what I want to do, what I’m interested in. Everybody’s trying to put deals together to sign sponsors.”What teams are interested is in money. If Hayden could bring a sponsor, or if he wanted to pay for the ride, there’d be plenty of interest. For the two-time Supersport Champion, who’s been a factory rider since 1997 when he joined the Muzzy Kawasaki, it’s an unappealing option.But the news out of the Hayden household isn’t all bad. Tommy’ wife, Christie, gave birth to the couple’s third daughter, Vera Claire Hayden, on September 27. Older sister Claudia will be two on Thursday, October 6 and Olivia, the oldest of the couple’s children, is eight.Was there another Hayden in the future, possibly the next generation of Earl’s Racing Team? “For sure there’s not going to be any more any time soon,” Hayden said. “A  few years down the road. We’re leaving it open.”

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.