Hayden passed away on May 22, 2017, as a result of injuries sustained when he was hit by a car while training on his road bicycle in Italy.
“Nicky Hayden was the consummate American motorcycle racer, emerging from the amateur ranks to dominate American road racing on his way to the 2006 MotoGP World Championship,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Moreover, he represented the best of sportsmanship and character, and never forgot his roots, even when competing on the world stage against living legends. It’s our pleasure to work with American Honda to pay tribute to Hayden’s competitive accomplishments and exceptional class.”
American Honda is donating two motorcycles to the project, a 2018 Honda CBR1000RR and a 2018 Honda XR650L.
“Race fans the world over loved Nicky for his charm, his beautiful smile, and his willingness to stop and talk to anyone and everyone. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him and work with him loved him as well,” said Keth Dowdle, Manager of Experiential Marketing at American Honda.
“Nicky was a true champion in every sense of the word,” Dowdle said. “He was humble and gracious even after all of his success. We all miss him dearly. The bikes that we donated to the AMA represent one of several projects that we’re working on to celebrate Nicky’s life for years to come.”
The CBR1000RR will be decked out in a full Repsol Honda livery, while the XR650L will be heavily modified in a street-tracker motif by award-winning custom bike builder Tony Prust of Analog Cycles in Chicago.
Renderings of the custom motorcycles will be unveiled on July 6 at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days in Lexington, Ohio, with the bikes themselves debuting during AMA Legends & Champions Weekend in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 7.
Throughout 2019, the bikes will tour at select events and be on display at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on the AMA campus in Pickerington, Ohio, before ultimately being raffled off to raise funds for the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the 501c3 nonprofit that raises money to support the Hall of Fame.
In addition to the 2006 MotoGP title, Hayden won the 2002 AMA Superbike Championship, the 1999 AMA 600 Supersport Championship and was the 1999 AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year.
The tribute bikes are just the latest way that the AMA has honored Hayden’s career. In June 2017, the AMA Board of Directors renamed the AMA Horizon Award, presented to standout amateur racers who are going pro, in Nicky Hayden’s memory. Hayden received the inaugural AMA Horizon Award in 1997 as a result of his stellar amateur flat-track career.