James Haydon bigraphy, stories - British motorcycle racer

James Haydon : biography

2 November 1973 -

James Richard Barnaby Haydon (born 2 November 1973 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire), was a world class motorcycle racer. He raced in 250cc and 500cc Grand Prix, MotoGP, British Superbike and the World Superbike Championship. He retired in 2008. James is now involved in property, he manages young riders and works in television. He presents shows for ITV and British Eurosport. He also commentates for Eurosport on the World Superbike Championship and British Superbike Championship coverage, and he covers some Moto GP races when the regular commentators are unavailable. He has worked for the BBC, Sky Sports, Motors TV, Al Jazeera and Radio 5 live and is seen as a rising talent within the media side of the sport. He is also the guest test rider for Britain's biggest motorcycle monthly - Bike Magazine.


James got his passion for speed through his father David. A Doctor who loved fast cars and motorcycles. He bought James his first motorcycle at eight which he would ride in his parents garden. He quickly moved into Motorcross and worked his way up into the top 40 in Britain in Schoolboy Motorcross. But instead of pursuing a career in that sport he swapped to road racing at 16 in 1990. He finished 2nd in the British 125 Ministock Championship in his first year. Also starting in Ministocks that season was Neil Hodgeson who immediately became (and still is) a great friend of James'). James then moved straight into The British 125cc Championship in 1991 (grabbing a pole position, some top 10 finishes and also winning the EMRA 125cc Championship). He was then spotted by the famous Ron Haslam and picked up to ride for Team Great Britain in 1992. He raced a Yamaha TZ250 and won his first British Championship race at Silverstone that same year. The next season in 1993 he just missed out on winning the British 250cc Championship (which he had dominated) after the camera he was carrying for TV came loose and jammed his back wheel in the final race causing him to crash. The same season at 19 (having already won 4 British Championship 250cc races) he competed in the 1993 British 500cc Grand Prix, finishing 11th to become the youngest ever British points-scorer in a top-division World Championship race. He managed to finish well ahead of his mentor, the legendary Ron Haslam adding more prestige to his great performance. In 1994 he won his first British Superbike Championship race along with two more national 250cc victories that year.

For 1995 he then jumped straight into the top level 500cc world championship as a privateer (1995 for Harris and 1996 for WCM). He took some stunning top 10 results and impressed many with his speed on an privateer bike. He had offers to stay in G.P.'s but he decided to move to the WSBK in 1997. But this was with GIACO MOTO, a poorly run Team who struggled with finance and an old motorcycle. James quit after the bike broke down 14 times. His best result was a 9th in the world.

After three years in the World Championship for 1998 he returned home to the ultra competitive British Superbike championship. He surprised many with a podium in his first race before going on to have many years of impressive success. He quickly became a crowd and sponsor favourite with his exciting all action style, never give up attitude and screen presence. He raced for Team Suzuki, Team Red Bull Ducati, Team Yamaha and Team Kawasaki. Never the luckiest rider many felt one of his best chances for the Championship came in 2000 for Ducati. Whilst leading the Championship a terrible mid season car accident (in which he was a passenger) damaged his neck and nerves badly. This caused him serious problems when racing and training and ruined his season. He twice finished 4th in the standings and was always one of the fastest riders, with multiple lap records and fastest laps throughout his BSB career. He won a total of 12 British Superbike Championship races and had over 30 podiums in the series.

In 2002 he joined Carl Fogarty's Foggy Petronas in the WSBK, developing the new bike for the first year. It was hoplessly unreliable with multiple blow ups, lack of parts and problems dogging it throughout the year. James had to leap from the motorcycle twice when it blew up and engulfed him in flames and fuel. One of the lowest points came when the gearbox locked up in Germany and caused a horrific accident (putting him out for the middle of the season). His high point was a best result of 7th in the world in Japan.

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