PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 20, 2003) -- Mat Mladin, the 2003 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Champion, has been named as a nominee for the AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year. The 31-year-old Aussie became the first rider in the...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 20, 2003) -- Mat Mladin, the 2003 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Champion, has been named as a nominee for the AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year. The 31-year-old Aussie became the first rider in the history of AMA Superbike racing to win four championships when he wrapped up the 2003 title at the series finale at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., in September. Mladin had a spectacular season in AMA Superbike competition riding his factory Yoshimura Suzuki to 10 race wins, tying the nearly 20-year-old record of AMA Superbike wins in a single season set by Fred Merkel in 1984.
Mladin is being nominated for the Athlete of the Year Award for the fourth time. He won the prestigious prize in 2000 after earning his second AMA Superbike title. Mladin was also nominated in 1999 and in 2001. Mladin gave much of the credit for his fourth championship to his crew.
"You can be a good rider, you can have a good bike, you can be the best rider and have the best bike, but without a good team, you're not going to win anything," Mladin said. "I've got to give all these wins, all four of them, to my team, because I think if I was on any other team, it wouldn't have happened. That's for sure."
Mladin overcame strong challenges from Miguel Duhamel, Aaron Yates and Eric Bostrom -- all of whom led the series at one point -- to win the 2003 championship. Mladin also showed great perseverance coming back from several catastrophic tire problems. He made one of the most miraculous saves in the history of the series somehow hauling his bike down from a triple-digit speed tire blowout at Road Atlanta in May.
In addition to his obvious skill on the track Mladin showed a great deal of compassion by helping a fellow rider when he donated $5,000 to the Jamie Brockman Foundation which was set up to aid injured Australian motocross racer Jamie Brockman.
"I have to thank the fans over here for the support they have shown for me this year," added Mladin. "it's been awesome. They give me a great cheer each time that I've been on the podium, so I look forward to coming back next year and doing it again."
Tune in to Two Wheel Tuesday on the Speed Channel, Tuesday Night at 10:30 p.m. (EST) where host Greg White will feature this week's nominee.
The presentation of the AMA Pro Racing Speed Channel Athlete of the Year Award will take place at the AMA Pro Racing Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, Nov. 22 at the Rio Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The public is invited to the banquet. Tickets are just $125, which includes banquet admission, hors d'oeuvres and dinner. For ticket information, call (614) 856-1900, ext. 1342.