Mathew Mladin: 2004 AMA Superbike Champion PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 11, 2004) -- Mathew Mladin continues to raise the bar in AMA Superbike Championship racing. The 32-year-old Australian clinched an unprecedented fifth AMA...
Mathew Mladin: 2004 AMA Superbike Champion
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Oct. 11, 2004) -- Mathew Mladin continues to raise the bar in AMA Superbike Championship racing. The 32-year-old Australian clinched an unprecedented fifth AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship in the first leg of the doubleheader finale at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. on Sunday.
Mladin, who rides for Yoshimura Suzuki, had another record-setting season in 2004. He tallied eight victories in the 18-race championship and finished the season tied with Miguel Duhamel atop the all-time AMA Superbike wins list with 32-career victories. For years no rider was able to break the magic three-championship mark shared by Reg Pridmore, Fred Merkel and Doug Chandler. Mladin not only broke the long-standing mark last year he now extends the record to five AMA Superbike titles. Mladin has been racing in the U.S. since 1996.
Mladin also earned four pole positions this season and extended his lead in the record books in that category as well.
"Hopefully I can win number six next year," said Mladin, who is signed with Suzuki through 2005. "This win has definitely been a team effort, above and beyond the usual high efforts that my guys put in. I have to thank each of my crew, Yoshimura and Suzuki themselves for the efforts that were made this year. A couple of months ago the championship was very close, but everyone stepped up and that made it a lot easier to get the results we were chasing."
He said this year's championship was a satisfying, but difficult title to win.
"At the [pre-season] Daytona test the Honda was so good that everyone wrote us off," he said. "There's no doubt that their motorcycle suited the rules better than ours did this year, but I think it's a bit silly to write off our team. We still had a good motorcycle and one that we could make better. By the time we got to Road Atlanta this year [rounds 15 and 16] we maybe exceeded the performance we had last year. Here [at VIR] we just did what we had to do. It was good year and we're already thinking about next season."
Mladin went on to say that Suzuki has a new version of the GSX-R1000 in store for 2005 and he felt it should be very competitive from the start. He starts testing in less than three weeks.
Mladin led the championship from flag to flag. He reeled off four-straight wins in a dominating open to the season and never looked back. Honda's Miguel Duhamel and Erion Honda's Jake Zemke closed the gap mid-season, but Mladin turned the tide back in his favor with a victory in the Saturday race of the Mid-Ohio doubleheader round. His sweep of the Road Atlanta doubleheader in September put Mladin in total control of the series.
Five different riders - Mladin, Duhamel, Zemke, Ben Bostrom and Eric Bostrom - won AMA Superbike races this year on three different brands of motorcycles.
The championship was the eighth AMA Superbike title for Suzuki, tying with Honda for second among makers. Kawasaki still holds the title for the most AMA Superbike championships with nine.
For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.ussuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship.