THE MOTORSPORT LAP
Crash claims Hayden
The MotoGP fraternity mourns the loss of former champion, Nicky Hayden
It was a rather bleak start to the week to learn of the death of Kentucky, US resident and former 2006 MotoGP champion, Nicky Hayden, who tragically died from injuries sustained in a road crash last week.
According to reports, the 35-year-old American, who switched to the World Superbike Championship in 2015 but made two final MotoGP appearances last season, was hit by a car while training on his bicycle near the Misano circuit in Rimini, Italy. He was transported to a local hospital with "extremely critical" head, chest and pelvic injuries, then on to the intensive care unit of Maurizio Bufalini Hospital in Cesena.
Sadly, there would be no improvement in his condition and he was pronounced dead on Monday this week. The Motor News team conveys its sincere condolences to the Hayden family, friends and fans alike.
In other, more positive motorsport news, Nicolas Hamilton, younger brother of Formula One ace Lewis Hamilton, returned to full-time circuit racing in the UK Renault Cup Championship. He raced his first return race this past weekend at the Oulton Park track. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Nicolas has been racing on and off, but says he is happy to return to the track under the auspices of WDE Motorsport. He finished 15th and can hopefully improve from here on. The race was won by Mike Bushell (Team Pyro) ahead of team-mate Nathan Harrison in second and Daniel Rowbottom (DRM) in third.
It was the Paris, France leg of the FIA ePrix where, once again, Sebastien Buemi (Renault e.dams) proved to be the man to beat having been quickest during practice and qualifying and topping it with an emphatic win. He finished ahead of Jose Maria Lopez (DS Virgin Racing) and Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra Racing). Buemi leads the championship with 132 points.
The Portugal round of the World Rally Championship took place this past week and saw the Ford Fiesta of Sebastien Ogier claim victory ahead of Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) and Dani Sordo in the second Hyundai. A great constructors’ result for the Hyundai Motorsport team.
Locally, the East London Grand Prix circuit hosted the Extreme Festival with a huge crowd treated to spectacular racing, close competition and various unexpected winners. The Sasol Global Touring Car (GTC) category’s current champion Michael Stephen (Engen Extreme Audi) and Simon Moss in an identical car dominated the opening race, followed by Johan Fourie (EPS Courier BMW).
Race two went to Gennaro Bonafede (Sasol BMW), closely followed by Stephen in second and Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW) in third. Bradley Liebenberg took the Ferodo Mini Cooper S to both the GTC2 class victories. In race one he finished ahead of Trevor Bland (TB Racing Golf) and Kosie Weyers (NSI Motors Chevrolet). In the second, he finished ahead of Keagan Masters (VW Golf GTI) and Bland.
Tar Ferrari 430 driver Jonathan du Toit won the first G&H Transport Extreme Supercar race, ahead of Gianni Giannoccaro (G&H Transport BMW M3) and Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H Transport BMW).
In the Engen Volkswagen Polo Cup, Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health Polo) won the opening race, followed by Matt Shorter (VW Polo) and Shaun La Reservee (Alpine Motors Polo). Devin Robertson (Payen Polo) won the second race ahead of Kruger and Shorter.