Funeral arrangements confirmed for Nicky Hayden by family

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The family of Nicky Hayden has confirmed the funeral arrangements for the 2006 MotoGP world champion following his death at the age of 35 on Monday.

Hayden was struck by a car while out cycling in the Rimini region of Italy, resulting in head and chest trauma, the former leaving him with severe brain damage.

Hayden died as a result of his injuries on Monday, sending the motorsport world into mourning for one of its most popular, likable and talented stars.

The family of Hayden released its obituary for Hayden on Saturday, as well as confirming plans for his funeral in his hometown of Owensboro, KY this coming Monday.

Here is the obituary in full from the Hayden family.

Nicholas Patrick Hayden
July 30, 1981 – May 22, 2017

Nicholas ‘Nicky’ Hayden passed away on Monday, May 22, 2017, at the age of 35, following a May 17 bicycle accident in Italy.

Born into a large extended Catholic family in Owensboro, Kentucky, Nicky was the middle child of Earl and Rose Hayden, with two brothers and two sisters. The entire family loved motorcycles, and shortly after he could walk, Nicky declared that his dream was to be a world champion. Although life on a farm meant that animals—horses, pot-belly pigs, even llamas—were a part of every day, for Nicky they were just novelties, and while he was a natural athlete, childhood sports leagues were little more than a lark.

Racing—for the whole family, but especially for Nicky—was everything. Apart from an annual spring-break jaunt to Panama City, Florida, family trips were to racetracks, first around the Midwest, then the Eastern U.S., and eventually the entire country.

That said, there was never any doubt about where home was. Even after he began traveling the globe to race in exotic locales, Nicky would always return to his beloved “OWB.” He received his education through local Catholic schools—Precious Blood Elementary School, Owensboro Catholic Middle School and Owensboro Catholic High School—and his first jobs comprised helping out at his uncles’ nearby farms, where he began developing the tenacious work ethic for which he would be known throughout his racing career. He remained close with his core group of childhood friends throughout his life, and he helped many young local racers to pursue their own dreams.

For Nicky, a distinguished amateur dirt track and road racing career transitioned into a successful stint in the AMA Grand National Championship and AMA Superbike series, in which he earned the 1999 AMA Supersport and 2002 AMA Superbike crowns with American Honda. He was promoted to the FIM MotoGP series with Repsol Honda, for whom he achieved his dream of earning the World Championship in 2006.

Nicky also rode for Ducati and Aspar Racing in MotoGP, and last year he transitioned to the FIM Superbike World Championship with the Ten Kate squad. Along the way, his charisma earned him legions of fans the world over, while his dedication and professionalism earned the respect and admiration of his teams, teammates and competitors.

Among those who knew him best, Nicky was cherished for his generosity, kindness, and mischievous sense of humor. His famous grin was never far from his lips, and he invariably had time to engage with others, even strangers. The life of any party, Nicky loved to dance, wear funny costumes, and pull pranks, often with a microphone in hand.

Throughout it all, family was Nicky’s anchor. Many Americans who race internationally opt to relocate overseas, but Nicky always preferred to return home between events. Well into his professional career, he resided in an apartment above his parents’ garage, and even after purchasing his own home nearby, he religiously showed up for his mother’s 6 o’clock dinners when he wasn’t traveling.

Several years ago, he purchased and refurbished an old building on an Owensboro lake, and what he dubbed Victory Lane Lodge became the family’s preferred location for functions of all types, from Sunday get-togethers to weddings. He loved children and was a model uncle, and friends and family say he was never happier than after meeting girlfriend Jackie, with whom he became engaged last year.

Nicky is survived by his parents Earl and Rose; his siblings Tommy, Jennifer, Roger, and Kathleen; his fiancée Jacqueline Marin; nieces Olivia, Klaudia, Vera, Kyla Jo, and Kate; nephew Colt; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. CT Sunday at Haley-McGinnis Funeral Home in Owensboro. Funeral services will be at noon Monday at St. Stephen Cathedral Church, and will be streamed live on Nicky’s Facebook fan page. Donations may be made to the Nicky Hayden Memorial Fund, which helps local children in the community Nicky loved so much.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”