When Hayden Schultz got his first motorcycle for Christmas when he was four, did he ever imagine he’d be vying for a championship in the sport he loves? Maybe. Probably.
Hayden’s a pretty confident guy. And his string of victories and podiums throughout the course of his nearly two-decade career have only helped his confidence grow. In 2020, he took that next important step to achieving his goals, when he started working with his current team.
"Gene Burcham, Gary Jeffries, Ron “Dink” Glidden, and Mick Burcham took me in and helped me build a competitive program in the MotoAmerica Twins Cup class.” Hayden explains. “Over the last two and a half seasons we’ve been able to develop the Yamaha Platforms (MT-07 and now R7) and put ourselves up front consistently.”
They sure have. In fact, Hayden and his crew have already collected 16 podiums in the Twins Cup class.
This year, they have their set sights on the biggest prize of all. “Going into this season I was aiming to win races and win the championship,” Hayden says.” I knew it would be difficult, but I also knew we would be strong and have a chance.” With a huge opening win at Daytona, he was certainly off to a hot start. He followed that up with five podium finishes. And then it happened.
It was on Turn 2 at Laguna Seca when it looked like Hayden’s season would come to an abrupt end. He got, as he says, “a little too aggressive” and took a little tighter of a line through the turn than the riders ahead of him. With Hayden mixing too much angle with too much throttle, his rear tire lost grip and snapped, sending him over the handlebars of his bike and onto the pavement.
“It happened so fast that I didn’t have much time to think before I hit the ground. I was just hoping not to get run over by any of the guys behind me,” Hayden recalls, “I’m blessed to have escaped with minor injuries considering how vicious the crash was.”
Miraculously, Hayden suffered only a bruised hip and is already back to his normal training.
Hayden and his team are looking toward their next competition – this time at Brainerd International Raceway. “It’s the track that we had our first race on the Yamaha R7 one year ago, and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress we’ve made. We were competitive there last year, so I’m sure we will be able to battle for the win again,” Hayden says.
His strategy? “Focus on getting a good start and then stay up front from there. In our class, there are a lot of fast riders, so you have to make sure not to get shuffled too far back. If I can stay up front and figure out a plan for the last lap, then I’ll do all I can to put it on top by the checkered flag.” “I also demand using only the very best equipment possible”.
Partnering With Sunstar
Like always, Hayden will be sporting Sunstar sprockets and chains on his bike. “I’ve used Sunstar products for as long as I can remember on race bikes and training bikes.” Hayden says. “We can’t afford to have part failures when the competition is so close and every race matters. Sunstar assures we won’t.” Hayden says that Sunstar products are perfect for The Twins Cup class. “We are trying to make these bikes as light as possible. The Sunstar sprockets we run are very light but plenty strong, as well.” This year Sunstar and Hayden Schultz took the next began step and began an official partnership. “This year when I was putting together my program, I wanted to partner with brands that produce top notch products. I know Sunstar is one of those brands,” Hayden says. “When you put this much effort into a program, not having to worry about the quality of the products we are using is huge.”