The Haydens: Nicky, Tommy & Roger Paperback – 27 Sep 2007
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As if we didn't know it, there is no easy route to the road-race podium. Every racer has his or her own story of dreaming and wanting, winning and losing, crashing and hurting, elation and despair. Nowhere is this more evident than with the winningest trio of brothers in the history of American road racing: those Haydens. They achieved their racing record the hard way: they earned it.
This engaging book traces the upbringing of the three Hayden brothers from before their birth, an intimate portrait going back to before parents Earl and Rose met, concluding at the end of Nicky Hayden's MotoGP world championship win of 2006. It's a story of unremitting hard work.
It reads a little like a combination diary and journey, as author Jonnum, editor of Road Racer X, recounts the Hayden saga from Earl's history as a racer to his staunch support not just of the three brothers but of their sister Jenny (who managed to beat many young men in her short racing career). Let it never be doubted that parents' committed support goes a long way in the development of a successful young racer.
Jonnum frames the book with the May, 2006 podium sweep at Springfield's Grand National TT in the dirt--Nicky, Tommy, Roger. It's not surprising: the boys started on the dirt and really never left it, returning repeatedly to their roots during road-racing careers that are still in full swing, with Nicky now only 28, his brother Tommy still a youthful 31 and young Roger a mere 23 (as of summer 2007). Back when powerful road-race bikes could bite, learning to hang it out in the dirt, inches from other racers and unforgiving walls, was an excellent way to become an accomplished road racer. Only now, with electronic traction control invading and 250-style, wheels-in-line technique more important, are dirt-track roots becoming less influential.
The rest of the book describes how it all happened, chronologically, and a rip-roaring tale it is, encompassing most of the great names in national and international road racing since the '80s. The most evident characteristic that the Haydens embody, based on this book, is strong character and basic decency. It's impossible not to like them. If we believe Jonnum, this good nature is genuine, in an era in which sports `stars' are not always ideal role models. Only once--Estoril, when Pedrosa punched him into the gravel--did Nicky lose it: "That's bull***t," he roared.
As we have come to expect from Bull Publishing, the book is beautifully produced, the graphics appealing, the photos absorbing except for Jonnum's failure to use flash in some interiors and his insistence that the drop down from Laguna's Corkscrew is "over 900 feet" (actually 300 feet). Maps, diagrams and statistical summaries of the brothers' racing careers would have helped us understand their travels and visualize their ascent to the podium a little better, but in most respects this is an excellent book that belongs on every enthusiast's bookshelf.
The Haydens: Nicky, Tommy, & Roger - From OWB to MotoGP is a great read and I'd recommend it to veteran racing spectators as well as those new to the sport.