Some Words About Kenny Noyes
I returned from BSB at Knockhill last night to terrible news: American motorcycle racer Kenny Noyes had crashed in the CEV Moto2 race at Aragon and been taken to the hospital in an induced coma. The details as we know them now are summarized from Spanish media here at Asphalt & Rubber.
In addition to being a talented racer on tarmac and dirt, Kenny is a truly nice person whom I was fortunate to meet several years ago in Qatar when his career brought him to the Moto2 class. Though he has lived in Spain for many years and is much better known there than in the United States, he is an American who grew up racing flat track, a skill he has been sharing with Spanish racers via his Noyes Camp program.
Though I can’t claim to be good friends with Kenny, I am bothered by knowing that many in the American motorcycle racing community don’t know much about him. Recently I’ve been writing and interviewing about the falling numbers of Americans in Grands Prix, and this is partially because of the great tradition of American contributions to motorcycle racing on the international level. To my chagrin, I haven’t thought much about Kenny’s contributions to this very thing. Bad on me. So here’s a little of what you should know about Kenny Noyes.
Now 36, Kenny was born in Barcelona, where he lived until he was 14. Moving to Southern California with his family, he started racing flat track at California’s Lodi Cycle Bowl on a Honda XR100 in 1997. He became the first Pro Singles National Champion in 2000, then he moved back to Spain to start road racing and in 2003 won the 1000cc Superstock CEV title. When Moto2 replaced 250cc 2-strokes in MotoGP, Noyes was a top rider in the Spanish Championship and became the only American racer to enter the newest GP class. He managed a pair of 7th place finishes and a Pole Position (Le Mans) in an otherwise difficult season where most of the circuits were brand new to him.
He has continued to race in the Spanish Championship as well as operate his instructional camp where he teaches riders about flat track and how this style of riding can help their skills on tarmac. Kenny put his flat track expertise to good use in both Superpresitgios, finishing third at each event’s Superfinal. For more information about his past achievements, check out his Bio on his website.
So while the number of American Grand Prix riders has dwindled down to one, and I’ve been wondering about the future of a national tradition that includes names like Roberts Sr, Rainey, Schwartz, Lawson, and Spencer to name only a few, Kenny Noyes has been living in Spain and possibly doing more for the reputation of American motorcycle racers in that country than a new GP racer winner could. Along with his father, Dennis Noyes, whom millions of Spanish MotoGP fans know from his TV commentary, the pair of them are excellent representatives of the United States within the country (Spain) and culture that leads the world in motorcycle short circuit racing.
In the time it has taken me to write this, Dennis Noyes has tweeted that Kenny’s doctor is now speaking of a complete recovery for his patient. Our best wishes for him to be right, and for the entire Noyes family.