Nick McFadden Gets His Shot in MotoAmerica Superstock 600

Young Kentuckian's ride with M4 medAge Suzuki is a major opportunity

nick mcfadden motoamerica race action 2017
Nick McFaddenBrian J. Nelson

Nick McFadden took a hard tumble at Road Atlanta’s fast Turn 2 in Superstock 600 qualifying this past Saturday morning. In spite of the 90-mph get-off, McFadden scored the Superstock 600 pole and seemed ready to race. His description of his crash was understated to say the least. Those who witnessed it said it was a pretty gnarly fall, but McFadden simply shrugged it off.

“I’m feeling good for the race this afternoon,” McFadden said. “I had a little tip over in qualifying this morning. Everything was going good, bike setup was great. I just made a personal mistake. We’ll put that behind us and focus on getting away on the first couple of laps.”

After a little more questioning McFadden admitted his qualifying tumble was one of the hardest he’s ever had, but he was fortunate to escape injury. With the powerful M4 medAge Suzuki squad behind him, he knew his machine would be back to spec by race time.

McFadden is from Owensboro, Kentucky. The success of the Hayden brothers—Tommy, Nicky, and Roger—made a lot of people in the area take notice, including a young McFadden. “I grew up watching them and I asked my dad for a motorcycle,” he explained. “He got me one, one Christmas, and the rest is history.”

nick mcfadden motoamerica superstock 600 race action
By the end of Superstock 600 Race 1, Nick McFadden (16) had opened a 3-plus-second lead on Jason Aguilar (96). McFadden was riding the only Suzuki to finish in the top five.Brian J. Nelson

Living near the Hayden training facility is a massive benefit for McFadden. “It’s pretty neat to have people to train with every day,” he says. “We push each other and that keeps you motivated. It’s a good environment to live in and it shows here at the track with five or six of us all at the top of our classes. Earl [Hayden] does a great job of keeping the tracks prepped and giving us a great place to ride our motocross bikes.”

According to McFadden, there is a lot of cycling and some running involved in his training program. Then, of course, is the racing he does on almost a daily basis at the Hayden complex. The dirt track they currently ride their 450cc DTX machines on at the Hayden’s ranch is a miniature version of the Circuit of The Americas road course.

McFadden even got the invite from the Hayden brothers to join them at their training home in California this past winter. He said it was a huge help to stay sharp during the off-season.

The opportunity to race for one of the most established and winning teams in the MotoAmerica paddock, in Team Hammer, was something the 19-year-old McFadden has long been striving to accomplish. The paddock took notice.

nick mcfadden superstock 600 podium
McFadden was joined on the Superstock 600 Race 2 podium by Michael Gilbert (left) and Aguilar (right). Gilbert and Aguilar are tied for second in championship points.Brian J. Nelson

“We’ve been looking at Nick for quite a while,” said Team Hammer’s Chris Ulrich. “He’s shown great potential in MotoAmerica so far, but we think his talent is greater than his results to this point. Nick has tremendous potential. We think the key is putting him in the right environment, and we feel we’ve put together a really advanced package with the training from medAge, rider coaching from Ken Hill and Rickdiculous Racing, and our bikes.”

All the preparation, training, and new team combined to make a formidable combination. McFadden swept both season-opening Superstock 600 rounds at Road Atlanta, winning Race 1 by three seconds ahead of Jason Aguilar and then on Sunday victory over Michael Gilbert by four seconds. McFadden goes into Virginia International Raceway already enjoying a 14-point series lead.

“We had a good gap at the end of Race 1, so we approached today with the same strategy and it worked out for us,” McFadden said after Sunday’s win. “We got away on the first couple laps with the Supersport guys and tried to stay in tow with them as long as I could. I just get away with them early so at the end of the race if someone is with me I can handle them one on one instead of a big group of guys. In the Superstock class, a bunch of guys stick together at the front and it gets a little hectic, so I like to get away and get out of the mess before the end of the race.”

McFadden appears to be the early favorite to win this year’s series. He knows there’s a lot of racing ahead of him, but McFadden’s been working for this most of his young life and he’s determined to make the most of the opportunity.