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James Haydon profile

By Dan Moakes
October 12 2006

James Haydon
nationality • English
born • 2 November 1974
grand prix début • 1992
world superbike début • 1997

James Haydon is still one of the fastest and most committed men in British championship racing, and with plenty of wider experience, even if he is also known for over-stepping the mark a bit too often. But the crashes appear to be mostly in the past now, and when given the right equipment he is a dependable performer, and someone who several teams have turned to in their hour of need. He has ten British Superbike race wins to date, but there could easily be more in the future.

Schoolboy motocross

Road racing début at Mallory Park in 125cc Ministocks Clubmans championship, finishing second; first win at Snetterton; won the title

9th in British 125cc championship, with Team Cotoni Honda - 5th at Donington Park, one pole; 9th in MCN Superteen championship, with Suzuki RGV 250 - two wins; British Supersport 400, with Suzuki RGV 250 - 10th at Cadwell Park

6th in National 250cc championship, and 8th in British 250cc Supercup, with Team Great Britain Yamaha - first race win; won EMRA 250cc title; 250cc Grand Prix début as wildcard at Donington

James Haydon 1993 - photo by Graham Etheridge
photo © Graham Etheridge • graham.etheridge 'at'

2nd in British 250cc Supercup championship, with Team Great Britain Yamaha - three wins; won EMRA 250cc title; 500cc Grand Prix début as wildcard - youngest ever British points scorer with 11th at Donington on a ROC-Yamaha; British Superbike début with Fast Orange Yamaha

James Haydon 1994 - photo by Graham Etheridge
photo © Graham Etheridge • graham.etheridge 'at'

17th in British Superbikes - selected rounds with the Medd Racing Honda RC45, including the bike’s first ever win worldwide, in the wet at Snetterton; selected rounds of the British 250cc championship - wins at Brands Hatch and Donington, two lap records; won EMRA 250cc title; four 250cc Grands Prix for Team Beckett, best result of 16th on the Honda RS; 500cc GP wildcard at Donington, with Team Elit ROC-Yamaha

1995 Harris Grand Prix, number 69 Harris-Yamaha
In a full 500cc Grand Prix season as a privateer, James scored points in three races, with a best finish of tenth in the European round in Barcelona. His best qualifying efforts got him onto the back end of row three at Donington, but he crashed there when racing in the top six, and his eleven-point tally placed him 24th overall

1996 W.C.M., number 18 ROC-Yamaha
A second year in 500s saw an improvement to sixteen points and joint 20th place, but James also managed a few crashes. The last of these gave him a broken leg, and put him out for the final three races. His best result was ninth at Paul Ricard in France

1997 Team Gio.Ca.Moto, number 14 Ducati
For 1997 James moved into World Superbike racing, but his chances of success were not helped by an excess of mechanical problems with the bike, some of which caused him to crash, and he ended up leaving the team with two rounds still to run. Nineteen points left him 25th overall, with best results of twelfth three times, and eleventh in San Marino’s race two

1998 Team Sony Suzuki, number 8 Suzuki
Haydon’s next move was to return to British competition, riding the GSX-R Superbike for Crescent Racing. He started off with third in race one, and secured a run of top five results in the first six rounds, including second and third at Donington. A bit of a lull followed, but he bounced back with victory in the first Silverstone race, and in the final table he was seventh, on 228 points, and with two fastest laps
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard, with bike number 38, scoring seven points in the UK rounds

1999 Team Clarion Suzuki, number 8 Suzuki
Staying with Suzuki and the GSX-R, James had an even better 1999. After four races he was at the top of the table, thanks to two wins, a second and a fifth. He would add five more podium results, two of them wins, but would drop to fifth overall behind four all-conquering Ducati V-twins. His final points score was 289, and he added another five fastest laps
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard, with bike number 42, getting ninth and eleventh at Brands

2000 Rêve Red Bull Ducati Team, number 5 Ducati
Haydon’s success continued on the 996 as he joined the Rêve Ducati outfit. The team had been set up around lead rider John Reynolds, but James wasn’t about to play the role of dutiful second rider, and it wasn’t an entirely harmonius relationship. In addition, he was afflicted with a neck injury picked up as a passenger in a car accident. Nevertheless, three wins were added to another seventeen top five results, and four fastest laps, and 341 points placed him fourth overall
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard at four meetings, with bike number 45 - was sixth twice at Donington, and added four points in Germany; did some BBC commentary in the same series

2001 Virgin Mobile Aiwa Yamaha, number 4 Yamaha
The next move took James to Yamaha’s R7 in BSB, where again successful outings were counterbalanced by the odd crash, not least when leading. There were no actual race wins, but four seconds and eight thirds helped him to fourth overall, and there were also three fastest laps. 316 points put him just ten behind Sean Emmett, making an engine failure in the penultimate race quite costly
Also raced as a World Superbike wildcard, with bike number 70, but scored no points

2002 Foggy Petronas, number 44 Foggy
James signed on as Carl Fogarty’s second World Superbike rider, for the new team’s Petronas-backed FP1 machine. The plan was to have enough bikes homologated ready to join the series mid-season, but in the event neither Haydon nor lead man Troy Corser got to race, and their activity was limited to testing duties

2003 Foggy Petronas Racing, number 8 Foggy
2003 marked the début proper for the FP1, but the season didn’t work out too well for Haydon. Although he scored the bike’s first points with 12th in the very first race, most subsequent outings proved less productive. Where Corser got onto the first two rows a few times, and broke into the top eight with race results, James struggled. This led to a few crashes, and he consequently missed meetings through injury. The high point was a solitary ninth place in Japan, but no more points followed. Twelve points in total left him way behind Corser, and he was not retained

James Haydon 2004 - photo by Fotobikes
James Haydon - photo by Fotobikes •

2004 ETI Racing / Virgin Mobile Samsung
Without a ride, James started the year as the BBC’s World Superbike co-commentator, but soon found himself substituting for ETI Racing’s Stuart Easton at Snetterton in the British series, with the number 19 Ducati 998 F02. He finished tenth and fourteenth, which led to a more permanent role. This time he filled in for Steve Plater at Virgin Mobile Samsung, on the number 36 Yamaha YZF-R1. James’ experience started to pay off in his third meeting on the bike, when he was twice in the top six. Wet conditions at the following Knockhill round were opportune as he recorded second and first places. He was retained to the season’s conclusion, even after Plater’s return, ending up eighth overall with 181 points - top in the four-man Virgin team
Also raced in MotoGP, with three late season outings for Proton Team KR - 12th in Qatar

James Haydon 2005 - photo by Raceline Photography
James Haydon © Raceline Photography

2005 Airwaves Ducati / Rizla Suzuki / Virgin Mobile Samsung
The current season has evolved into another round of ‘super-sub’ musical chairs. A pre-season hand injury delayed James’ début for GSE with the 36 Airwaves Ducati 999 F04, and then he stepped aside for substitute Gregorio Lavilla to continue. He went on to fill in for injured riders at Rizla Suzuki (Reynolds) and Virgin Yamaha (Emmett), before being signed to partner ‘JR’ on the number 18 GSX-R1000, as replacement for the disappointing Scott Smart
Also carries on his commentary role in WSB

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