ROAD ATLANTA TO HOST AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP FINALE
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 29, 2005) -- Braselton, Georgia's Road Atlanta is set to host the final two rounds of the 2005 AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited on Sept. 2-4. Australian Mat Mladin is on the verge of winning his sixth series championship and has the opportunity to break the single-season record of 10 wins shared by Mladin and Motorcycle Hall of Famer Fred Merkel.
Mladin had a tough break at the Mid-Ohio round in July when he was caught up in another rider's crash and had his points lead shaved to just nine points. Mladin wasn't overly upset about the Mid-Ohio incident, instead he vowed to go to work at the next round in Virginia to rebuild his championship lead and that's just what he did. Last weekend at Virginia International Raceway, Mladin earned victory in both legs of the weekend doubleheader and as a result his lead over Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Ben Spies has blossomed back up to 21 points.
"It was nice to get the wins in Virginia," said Mladin, who has twice swept the Road Atlanta doubleheader including the races last year. "We needed to start stretching out the points lead going into Road Atlanta and we accomplished that. It was a hot and humid weekend in Virginia and I'm sure it could be the same in Georgia. I'll get the fluids back in and do some training in preparation for the final weekend."
Mladin will go down as one of the best road racers in the history of AMA racing. He already owns about every record in the book, including most AMA Superbike wins, poles and championships. To illustrate how long 33-year-old Mladin has maintained his reign, for years no rider could crack the three championship mark, and now Mladin is about to double that number.
Mladin's teammate Aaron Yates and Honda's Miguel Duhamel are the other two former Road Atlanta Superbike winners in this weekend's field. Yates is a home state hero from Milledgeville. He has scored six runner-up finishes in the series this year and is looking for his first win.
Duhamel and his factory Honda have improved dramatically in the later stages of the season. The Canadian has scored four-straight top-five finishes after having a sub-par start to the year. Duhamel hopes to give Honda its first AMA Superbike win of the year. It's been 11 years since Honda has been blanked out for an entire season of AMA Superbike racing.
Rookie sensation Spies still has a remote shot at winning the AMA Superbike title in his first full season. The young Texan will need for some more bad luck to strike his teammate Mladin for that to happen, but even if he finishes second in the series he'll have to consider the year a success.
With Mladin, Yates and Spies, Suzuki clearly has the most powerful team in the championship. Suzuki has swept the Superbike podium five times so far this season.
Austin Ducati's Eric Bostrom and Neil Hodgson hope to give Ducati its first victory at Road Atlanta since 1999. Both riders have earned wins in the series this year.
Four factory support or privateer riders are jockeying for position inside the top 10 to be the top non-factory rider for 2005. Mladin Motorsports Suzuki's Marty Craggill is seventh in the standings coming into Road Atlanta. Craggill is holding off Michael Jordan Suzuki's Steve Rapp, KWS / Millennium Suzuki's Lee Acree and Attack Kawasaki's Josh Hayes as the top gun among the support riders.
Road Atlanta's Suzuki Superbike Showdown presented by Makita will be televised on SPEED Channel beginning with Saturday's Superbike race at 9 p.m. EST Sept. 3. Sunday's Superbike finale will begin at 8 p.m. EST Sunday, Sept. 4.
For additional information on the event contact (800) 849-RACE or visit the website www.roadatlanta.com.
About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.