Andretti and Hayden Swap Rides

As certified velocity junkies, most of us would probably donate a kidney to dance with Nicky Hayden's AMA Superbike Champion Honda RC51, or bounce Michael Andretti's 900-horsepower, 245-mph Champ Car over a few curbs. Of course, civilians don't get to do that. We'd enjoy it way too much. But for Andretti and Hayden, who are already on top of the world, it's just another day in high-performance heaven. (As if we needed another reason to envy these guys.)

A few months ago, Motorcyclist came up with the idea of having Hayden and Andretti share rides. American Honda senior Head Honcho Tom Elliott liked the idea, and after a few months of heavy-duty logistical gymnastics with Honda, Hayden, Motorola and Andretti, the deal came together. And so it would come to pass, one partly cloudy day at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, that Nicky and Michael would swap leather for Nomex, four wheels for two, and drive/ride a few miles in each others' shoes.

We won't spoil things for you by retelling the stories, nail-biting and surprises of the day -- see our January '03 issue, on sale in late November, for all 12 pages of the story -- but we can say with certainty that both guys learned a lot and had a ball.

Especially Nicky: "That car is awesome," he said. "It's going to be hard going to drive little go-karts now, when my buddies want to go down to Golf Land. In my contract next year, I might have to tell Honda I need one, you know, maybe get that as a bonus." - Mitch Boehm