R.I.P. Nicky Hayden

22 05 2017

With great sadness, Racing to the Red Light salutes American MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden.  Rest in peace, Nicky.  We are very sad to hear of your bicycle accident and passing.

We saw Nicky in person twice (saw, not met).  Once at the Laguna Seca MotoGP round back in 2008 or so (memories are hazy …) on the Saturday practice and qualifying day:

Nicky Hayden enters the infamous Corkscrew turn at Laguna Seca, in front of a Red Bull ad in the background featuring his likeness.

Nicky Hayden enters the infamous Corkscrew turn at Laguna Seca, in front of a Red Bull ad in the background featuring his likeness.


We also saw him once a year or two later down in Fontana at an A.M.A. race where his brother (can’t recall which) was racing.  Both times he seemed friendly and easygoing, as he did on camera on TV.


Hayden was a world-class motorcycle roadracer and dirt tracker.  He won the MotoGP World Championship title in 2006.  Nicky was the first American to win the title since Kenny Roberts Jr. won in 2000, who was himself the first in seven years, when an American dominance last reigned in the premier class.

Our hearts go out to Nicky’s fiancee, family and friends.  What a terrible loss.  He seemed like a great guy, and it is especially sad as the world seems to be lacking in great people these days.

RIP Nick – far too young. 1981 – 2017

Nicky Hayden with American flag riding helmetless, after clinching the 2008 MotoGP World Championship aboard his Repsol Honda grand prix motorcycle

2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden

Superbike Planet

Another from SBP with some nice remembrances

Vale Answers Fan questions

20 07 2013

Yamaha took a poll and randomly chose a dozen question for MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi to answer for fans.

Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sGRXnbQPh4

Thanks Soup.

Friday Funny, Late Cycle – World Superbike Edition plus an Airbag You Can Wear

22 02 2013

No explanation necessary:

I love this bit:

dancing motorcycle racer


Also just in from the Paris bureau:


drawing for a suggestged motorcycle suit of armorCourtesy Futility Closet:

Easy Rider


As reported to the Paris bureau, Dainese, the innovative and very high-end Italian motosports protective gear giant, actually made this reality – sort of.  It’s an airbag vest equipped with accelerometers which deploy the airbag around the torso.\

According to their website:



 Tests carried out in accordance with draft european standard en 1621.3 for chest protectors show that d-air® street cuts the force transferred by over 92% compared with the specified limit.

The force on the back is reduced by 82% (compared with the performance of a level 2 back protector)

D-air® street is triggered in the event of:

– Impacts.
– Slides.

For rider and pillion

D-air® Street has a total deployment time of 45 milliseconds.



Here’s the side view as it begins inflating:

motorcycle air bag


And inflated:

motorcycle air bag


Here it’s deployed in a racing application (where they were developed):


motorcycle air bag


Walk of shame (kidding, kidding):


motorcycle air bag

You have to see this video to believe it.  Note the soundtrack from DVD menu on the animated Matrix trilogy companion, Animatrix


Super Sic #58

25 10 2012


Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of MotoGP motorcycle racer, Marco Simoncelli.  He died in a tragic, freak accident during last year’s MotoGP round at the Sepang racetrack in Malaysia.  What should have been a routine fall and slide to safety instead turned horrific as his bike’s tires regained traction after he had fallen off and become entangled with part of the bike,drawing him back into the path of riders behind him.

Simoncelli was quite a racer. In his too-brief time on Earth, I viewed him at first as a reckless and dangerous rider, but then began to see him get ahold of his talent, understand that to be a winning rider he has to stay in the bike (i.e. not crash out) and finish races.


He manned up and apologized to other riders that he crashed into. He internalized the criticism and made himself a better rider because of it – unlike what some other riders have historically done – and seemingly was making progress towards a potential championship season, one of these years.


I came to be a fan of Marco’s. He was fast – so fast! – and every race he participated in was guaranteed to have some excitement, #58-style. He was bold, really almost brazenly so, he would pass other riders in parts of the track deemed impossible by the TV commentators.  And he did it as a giant among diminutive men, at six feet tall he was easily recognizable even in his leathers and helmet.


Besides his impressive skills with a race bike, the other, main reason I came to like Simoncelli was the praise for him that was echoed from various corners of the motorcycle roadracing world, from fans who all said that no matter when and where they found Marco and asked for a picture or autograph, he was more than happy to oblige, to his competitors who said that while he was a demon on the track, he was one of the nicest people you’d likely ever meet.

He was rarely observed without his big hair and trademark smile:


And in our hyper-politically correct world, and particularly in his weird world of the very top echelon of professional motorcycle racing, Marco was a standout personality – a guy with opinions on things, events and people, unafraid to speak his mind. Sometimes this made certain people upset, and frequently it made for great entertainment – something that is very much lacking these days in world-class professional motorbike racing these days.

Many other, infinitely more qualified people have written some great tributes to Marco over the past year. Guys like world champion Kevin Schwantz, who was friends with Marco and knew him well.

Moto-journalist Julian Ryder had a great article.

And Superbike Planet has many tributes and even some family vacation photos up.

Most of the pictures here are Brian Nelson’s.

MotoGP, and the world overall, is so much the worse off without Marco Simoncelli.  Big, bright personalities sometime burn hot and far too quickly.

Ciao Marco “Super Sic” Simoncelli – gone but not forgotten.