Mat Mladin to call it quits

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Mat Mladin, the greatest rider in the history of AMA Superbike racing is calling it a career after this season.

Six-time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin has decided to retire and move his young family back to his home outside of Sydney after the AMA series ends on September 6.

The announcement came in a news release the day after he’d returned home from a Thursday promoter practice at Heartland Park Topeka, site of the ninth of 11 rounds of the AMA Pro Road Race series.

After only a few laps, Mladin, one of the most vocal safety advocates in the series, decided the walls were too close and the conditions unsafe, and he and his crew flew home. (The next day, fellow veteran Jamie Hacking also withdrew his entry.)

The state of safety in America was one of the tipping points in his decision to retire.

Another was his decision to spend more time on his business and with his young daughters Emily Jean and Jessica, who he said were “growing fast,” adding that it was “time I put my efforts into their future.”

Though Suzuki wasn’t going to tender a contract offer, Mladin “had a lot of discussions with quite a few people and with a number of sponsors that were potentially interested in putting something together,” he began, “but in the end, I really have a desire to get home and really be part of the business (he recently converted his wholesale distributorship to mail-order retail) and what really made up my mind was that Thursday morning going to the race track in Kansas.

“I didn’t look at the race track one time until I went out on that Thursday morning,” just hoping it would be like New Jersey, also a new track that will host the final round, “that it was maybe better than what I expected.

"Unfortunately, that just wasn’t to be the case.

“I enjoy racing motorcycles and I’d like to be able to race motorcycles for a living.

"And in the end I just don’t agree with the direction that things are going over here any more and to have to go to Kansas and see that race track and what is possibly in the future as to some of the places we may go to, if that was a sign of things to come, then it was time to move on.”

Mladin, winner of 82 Superbike races since coming to the U.S. in 1996, will retire with six titles, and possibly seven. He has an 83-point lead over teammate Tommy Hayden with two rounds, four races, and 126 points up for grabs.

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Henny Ray Abrams

By Henny Ray Abrams