On the closing day of the AIMExpo in Las Vegas, Suzuki Motor of America, Inc. (SMAI), road racing fans, motorcycle enthusiasts, factory riders, and industry leaders came together on “Suzuki Sunday” to celebrate the 20 year road racing career of Roger Hayden, the Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing standout and former AMA Supersport Champion.
Hayden, who recently announced his retirement after professionally racing for two successful decades, was presented with a new 2019 RMX450Z, decked out with a graphics package that paid homage to his Yoshimura Suzuki Superbike, by Kerry Graeber, Suzuki’s vice president of sales and marketing. Hayden also received an oversized retirement card. The card, signed by fans and industry professionals, featured a quote playfully reminding Hayden that his wife Dana, who was in attendance, now controlled his calendar.
Surprised by the gathering and the gifts, Hayden was clearly moved by the love and support as the assembled guests celebrated his career, providing him a big hoorah to the conclusion of his racing life.
“Roger has been an asset to not only the Yoshimura Suzuki Factory race team but to the Suzuki family as a whole,” said Graeber. "We're grateful for his hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm and want to thank him for his time with us. We’ll miss watching him race but excited for him and his family to enjoy this next chapter of his life.”
Hayden pointed out that each of the famous Hayden racing brothers, including Roger, Nicky and Tommy, raced Suzuki motorcycles in their illustrious careers. In his remarks, Graeber acknowledged the unprecedented legacy of the Hayden family and complimented Roger for his years successfully racing for Suzuki.
“Suzuki Sunday” was the dedicated AIMExpo day presented by ECSTAR and filled with Hayden fans, Suzuki enthusiasts, and industry leaders including Monster Energy, Arai Helmets, Alpinestars, and many more. Powersports media personality Ralph Sheeheen was the Master of Ceremonies while Yoshimura/Suzuki superbike teammate Toni Elias and Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory MX riders Chad Reed and Weston Peick were also in attendance to celebrate the career of number 95 (Hayden’s long time national roadracing competition number).
Food and music was enjoyed by all and several themed souvenirs were handed out to attendees including commemorative Roger Hayden poker chips, custom “95” engraved sunglasses, stickers, and posters.