May 23, 2018

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Arai Corsair-X Beam Designs “Hayes X-15” Helmet Four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes has a new helmet graphic that honors experimental aircraft.

Arai Corsair-X Josh Hayes racing helmet

Meet the Arai Corsair-X JH001: “I don’t feel the Monster graphic adds so much that you can’t identify with the production helmet,” Josh Hayes said. “Would it be fun to have a limited run of Monster helmets identical to my race helmet? Yeah, but that’s all business stuff above my pay grade.”

An experimental rocket-powered aircraft from the previous century is the theme of Arai’s new “Hayes X-15” Corsair-X helmet graphic for four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes. The matte-finish design is a dramatic departure from Hayes’ previous skull-and-crossbones “Jolly Roger” motifs that were popular with everyone from race fans to cruiser riders.

“I’ve always been an aviation buff,” the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider said. “The X-15 is one of my favorite aircraft of all time.” (By the time the program ended in 1968, the bullet-shaped X-15 had reached Mach 6.72 and climbed to 354,200 feet.)

In fact, Hayes wanted to be a military fighter pilot. “I was told that with bad vision I didn’t have a chance to be a military pilot,” he said. “Fortunately, I found the next best thing: racing motorcycles.”

In 2010, Hayes and his wife, fellow racer Melissa Paris, were treated to flights in an F-16 by the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th fighter wing. “It’s something I wanted to do my whole life,” Hayes said at the time.

Josh Hayes MotoAmerica race actionHayes wore an Arai Corsair-X in Yamaha 60th-anniversary colors at the final race of the 2015 season and noted several improvements. “The helmet is more stable and the interior grabs my head better,” he said. “It’s also quieter than the previous helmet, and the new shield latch mechanism is easier to find with a gloved thumb.”

While Hayes won all of his national titles wearing Arai products, this is the first time he has teamed up with Beam Designs and its namesake, Jason Beam. “I have been working with Offbeat Productions for a lot of years,” Hayes said. “Rick Briggs was the first guy who ever painted a helmet for me. We’ve had a great relationship.

“We had two small hiatuses when Rick was sick and didn’t paint helmets for me. Unfortunately, this is another one of those circumstances—he wasn’t available to create a new graphic.”

Arai recommended Beam Designs. Beam has painted helmets for NASCAR stars Tony Stewart, Jimmy Johnson, and Kyle and Kurt Busch, among others. “Jason and I talked,” Hayes said, “and we came up with an idea. He showed it to me, and I said, ‘Oh, man. That’s what I’m talking about.’”

Hayes had not seen either the finished product or his race helmets with the Monster logo grafted on the sides but he is familiar with the overall design. “The ‘JH001’ on the side of the helmet has the look of the tail number,” Hayes said. “The riveted panels look like those of the X-15. The top color part is basically an old blueprint-type design with a lot of features about that aircraft.”

Hayes says he gets a kick when he sees people wearing an Arai helmet bearing his graphics. “I remember as a kid looking at magazines and seeing pictures of racers and thinking, ‘Wow, I wonder what that guy is like?’ Now, I’m that guy with his picture in a magazine. I’m blessed.”

Available this spring in sizes XS-XXXL, the Arai Corsair-X Hayes X-15 retails for $969.95.

Story courtesy of MotoAmerica.com.

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