Everything old is blue again. Tommy Hayden was one of the original Yamaha YZF-R6 racers. Here he is, in 1999, the year that the first-generation R6 debuted. Note Tommy’s trademark #22 on the bike.
The Yamaha Extended Service/Graves/Yamaha team is pleased to announce that Tommy Hayden will continue to compete for the team in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike throughout the entirety of the 2012 season, and he will also be racing a YZF-R6 carrying the #22, Tommy’s iconic, signature number. The announcement was made by Keith McCarty, Motorsports Racing Division Manager for Yamaha.
Tommy, who was called into last-minute duty for the Daytona 200 after Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha team rider Garrett Gerloff was injured in the first practice session of the DSB season, has been racing the #8 R6 as a fill-in rider for Garrett. Tommy is currently just two points out of third place in the DSB Championship.
Commenting on the announcement, Keith McCarty said, “All of us on the team and at Yamaha and Graves Motorsports are thrilled to be able to have Tommy remain with us throughout the rest of the 2012 season, and having him on the #22 R6 is icing on the cake. Fans know the legacy of the number 22 as it pertains to Tommy, and we’re looking forward to seeing that number on a Yamaha once again and back out on track in AMA Pro Racing competition. Tommy’s been doing a great job for us as a substitute rider for Garrett, and we’re glad to be able to keep the momentum going.”
As for Garrett’s status, Chuck Graves of Graves Motorsports said, “We hope to have Garrett continue to attend each AMA Pro Racing round as he’s been doing. He’s been providing awesome support to our team and attention to our fans. He’ll return to testing and racing when his injury from Daytona has fully healed to the satisfaction of both his doctors and us. We expect that Garrett will be back on board his #8 Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha sometime later in the season but, right now, we don’t have a definitive date for his return to racing for us.”
The next AMA Pro Racing round will be at Barber Motorsports Park on June 22-24, and the 2.38-mile, 13-turn circuit in Birmingham, Alabama, is a favorite venue for Tommy, who won a SuperBike race there in 2010 and also has three other wins at Barber.
When asked to comment on the return of “Tommy Gun,” Tommy himself said, “I’m really excited to be able to continue racing for Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha for the rest of the season. My approach to racing won’t be any different. I try my best, no matter what. I definitely don’t feel like I’ve performed to the best of my ability, so I’m glad to be able to continue with the team. We’ll be working hard to get wins. Barber is a favorite track of mine, and it’s closest to my home, so I’ll be trying hard to get my first win of the season in front of my family and friends.”
As for racing with the #22 again, Tommy said, “The number’s been with me for quite a while–since my second year as a pro road racer–so it means a lot to me to have the 22 back on my bike. It’s good for the fans, too. They know me by the number 22 more than anything, I’d say.”
For news, results, and other team info, be sure to check out Yamaha’s Facebook page.