Champion Chat presented by M1 PowerSports: Tommy Hayden (Part 1)

NEWS August 3, 2012

Champion Chat presented by M1 PowerSports: Tommy Hayden (Part 1)

Photo by Brian J Nelson

Tommy Hayden is a GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing veteran that has found success on every machine he has touched. Competing aboard the No. 8 Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike division for 2012, Hayden quickly re-acclimated to the 600cc platform and has challenged at the front all season, grabbing four podiums along the way. Hear what he has to say in this week’s Champion Chat:

AMAP: You come from one of the most iconic names in motorcycle racing. Tell us what it was like growing up as a Hayden.
TH: It’s kind of a funny question, and I get asked all the time, but I hardly think about it. It seems like we grew up riding and racing motorcycles. My dad, brothers and sisters raced. That’s just what we did. I didn’t really think that much about it. That’s what we did on the weekends, and played around the house during the week. That was what our life consisted of for the most part. It was a family thing and we enjoyed it. Then it progressed over the years, we steadily worked our way up through dirt track to road racing which ultimately lead to a career. It’s been a long road, but a fun road and something that I think my family and myself have enjoyed completely.

AMAP: We’re told you have a flat track in your backyard… Any truth to that?
TH:  We have always had a few tracks at our house. We were fortunate to grow up on a piece of property where my dad raced his race horses when it was his business before. We’ve always had some kind of flat track, motocross or TT track. We were fortunate enough to be able to ride at home, which I think helped us growing up racing each other, having a couple brothers and even a sister to push you every day. It still feels like that to this day.

AMAP: Did your sister ever beat you on the track?
TH: Yes. She didn’t race a whole lot, but when she did, she was really good and took it serious. Growing up, she was just as good as anyone, winning national championships and liked it a lot. Though, she then decided to do other stuff. But, it was tough to beat her.

AMAP: What is your favorite motorcycle racing discipline to train with?
TH: I don’t necessarily have a favorite discipline. I like to change it up. We ride trials bikes, motocross bikes, flat track bikes… we ride it all. We play around the pavement at our house. Just depends, I like it all. I like all forms of racing and follow all forms of racing. I have great respect for the different disciplines that people do. I don’t’ think I really have a favorite.

AMAP: You made a very fast transition to the 600cc motorcycles. What has been the hardest thing in your transition and what tracks have been more of a challenge on the 600?
TH: The big tracks have been more of a challenge to me. That’s what I’ve had the most trouble with. Seems like the smaller/more technical tracks have been come a little easier and I’ve been more competitive. It’s just a little bit tough to go back. It’s a little bit different riding style. It’s still a motorcycle and all the basics are the same. You just have to get used to carrying a little more corner speed and open the throttle a little earlier. Some things I’m still working on and not coming super natural to me after so long on the superbike, but it’s getting there. I feel like Laguna Seca was my best race of the season so far. I’m looking forward to the last six and applying the changes that I’ve made and win a race.

AMAP: Tell us about having a younger teammate like Cameron Beaubier.
TH: Having a younger teammate is nothing really new to me. I rode with Blake [Young] for the past several years. I’ve been in the position before, but I like it. It’s cool to have a balance of seeing his youth and excitement reminds me of different stages of my career. Obviously, Cameron’s a tremendous talent right now. I have a very high respect for him and his ability and future. It’s good to see, because he pushes me to run with him and beat him. I think there are some things with my experience that I’m able to help him with. I think it’s a great balance for the team. As of late, our results as a team have been strong.

To read Part 2 of this week's Champion Chat, please visit M1's website at 

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