Maltese Falcon Is Ready To Fly

Hayden Wilde is ready to “return home” when he competes in Super League Malta 2019.

Wilde might have been born and raised in New Zealand but has a very special relationship with Malta.

He has earned the nickname of the ‘Maltese Falcon’ and is gaining a reputation for his signature flapping wings move, which he even produced while on the run on his way to an impressive third place at RBC Super League Triathlon Jersey 2019.

We caught up with Wilde to ask him about his nickname and his love of Malta.

Hayden, you have the nickname of the ‘Maltese Falcon’. Can you tell us why?

It was halfway through day two of racing last year and I was behind 40 seconds due to the swim TT. I was quite the underdog coming into Malta, and the way Malta was planned out. It was going to be tough as swimming is not my strength.

So for me it was go time to catch up on the Eliminator and the bike course was my strength due to the big hill climbs and technical descent so each lap I was gaining on the front chase pack.

After each lap the commentary kept saying “get behind him ladies and gentlemen, here he comes, the ‘Maltese Falcon’.”

After a while I realised he was talking about me so I did some research on the ‘Maltese Falcon’ and it actually has its own movie about a legendary war pilot and he would just come out of nowhere and surprise his enemies from behind and take them down, so I guess that’s what I did as I came from the back and surprised a few people and now the name has just stuck!

You had a strong showing in Malta last season finishing seventh overall, how did you enjoy that race and what were the highlights of your time on the island?

I was super surprised with how I performed in Malta as the swim for me is my weakness and having a swim TT I expected to be behind.

For me, the highlight had to be the course. With a big hill climb per lap and a technical descent it was a course I dreamt of, and for the spectators it has to be the best on the SLT circuit as if you park up on top of the hill you see every part of the course – it’s amazing!

Also having such a lovely backdrop of Malta’s beautiful city of Valletta in the background with all the boats and history was absolutely spectacular. Definitely one of the most beautiful races I’ve been to.

Do you feel you have a special relationship with Malta?  

Yes. Malta has a special place in my memories. For me, it has to be the nickname I got given.

As I explained with the back story, that pretty much sums up my racing style, come from the back of the swim, ride up and put some pressure on the run leg then do it all over again.

The Maltese culture is so raw and passionate and that’s how I love to race. I race with my heart on the sleeve and leave it all on the course.

Last year you took on Women’s champion Katie Zaferes in a rowing challenge and took part in Super League’s community programme visiting schools and inspiring children. How important is that to you?

Yeah, I absolutely loved getting amongst the rowing challenge, and rowing one of Malta’s famous rowing boats, so that was pretty epic.

I’m the type of person who loves getting amongst the community environment and love working with kids as for me I was influenced by others to get into the sport so if I can make that impact on others, if it’s helping others get into sport or something else, I’m always keen to get stuck in and make a difference.

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