Suzuki Motorcycle Racer Roger Lee Hayden Gets Dirty with AMA Flat Track
Roger Lee Hayden grew up racing dirt bikes. Whether a this parents’ home or out on youth racing circuits, Hayden always had a love for wrestling a drifting motorcycle in quick, intense and physical races.
After recovering from a severe crash and multiple injuries incurred while racing superbikes, Hayden decided to come home again.
During a recent interview from the Superprestigio of the Americas in Las Vegas, Hayden was clearly content to be back to his racing roots.
“I grew up racing Fast Track,” Hayden says. “I wasn’t doing much of it for about 10 years, even at home. Last winter, I decided to get back to it and was asked to do the Superprestigio in April. To get ready, I spent the last two months practicing on a track liker the setup in Las Vegas two days a week at my parents’ home.”
The Superprestigio of the Americas race is modeled after the short track exhibition races of the same name held in Barcelona. The idea is to bring the top motorcycle Grand Prix racers from throughout the Americas to one track and pit them against the best riders from other form of motorcycle racing around the world. That group includes some of the same AMA Pro Flat Track racers that run Saturday as well as Superbike and MotoGP favorites.
Hayden was riding Superbikes back in 2008 when a violent crash left him with a broken back, a broken foot a shattered pelvis and a lost pinky. After the long healing process, the rider is all smiles at the Superprestigio.
“It draws riders from all over, from different series,” Hayden says. “But what I love about it is how wide open it is. If you have the bike and can register for the event, no matter where you come from, you can race. If it was just the all stars, not as many people would come in for it.”
“Riders from everywhere can take a shot against the best because the smaller track and the slower speeds evens the field between pros and stars.”
The small track and the amount of traffic clawing its way through the dirt means one mistake will put any rider out of the running.
“It’s important to maintain your consistency. Too slow, and you’re never in the race. Go too fast, you can lose control in a turn and slip out of contention. That’s all it takes with a 10 second lap time and a six lap race.”
For his first Superprestigio, Hayden is keeping his expectations open.
“That championship ring would be nice. But I’d be happy just to make the main event and get on the podium.”
“Since I’ve been racing in the dirt since I was a young man, it comes to me pretty natural now,” Hayden explains. “And I have respect for it because I know it’s hard for some of guys coming over from other circuits to pick up.”