Mladin Turns Sixty DANVILLE, VA. - No, Mat Mladin didn't have another birthday Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway, but he did set another mark for his fellow AMA Superbike riders to strive for with his sixtieth career win. In the ...
Mladin Turns Sixty
DANVILLE, VA. - No, Mat Mladin didn't have another birthday Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway, but he did set another mark for his fellow AMA Superbike riders to strive for with his sixtieth career win.
In the opening day of racing in the 2007 AMA Suzuki Big Kahuna Superbike Nationals, presented by Dunlop and ROCKSTAR Energy Drink, Mladin, starting from the pole position after qualifying fastest in Friday's afternoon session, had Aaron Yates, starting from the third position on the front row, pass him on the start. It took only one lap however, before Mladin reinforced his reputation as still one of the toughest Superbike riders, retaking the lead and never relinquishing the lead. By the finish of the 28-lap, 100 kilometer race, Mladin had stretched his lead to over ten seconds, with Spies over eight seconds up on Jamie Hacking's Kawasaki ZX-10R. Mladin's average speed over the twists and hills of VIR was 94.9 mph.
Mladin's teammate Ben Spies, started second on the grid and finished there, with Mladin's victory closing the point gap between the two Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 riders to only eleven markers, where it had been 17 at the start of the weekend.
Jamie Hacking held second on the first lap but fell to fourth for three laps before dropping to sixth at the finish of the 28-lap race. The race ran green from the start, with no riders dropping out, though Scott Carpenter finished a pair of laps down and Matt Lynn, Ben Thompson, Scott Jensen and Dean Mizdal all were one lap down at the checkered flag.
Mladin will start on pole in Sunday's feature race for the AMA Superbikes, aiming to extend his string of victories, while the younger rider on the team, Spies, intends to build his point lead.
In the second race of the afternoon, Joshua Hayes rode his Honda CBR600RR to a 3.8 second victory over Larry Pegram. In a thrilling finish to the afternoon, Martin Craggill pushed his Ducati 749R to within a few inches of fellow Ducati rider Pegram. The margin between the two riders was reported as only five thousandths of a second by AMA scoring.
More racing excitement follows on Sunday, with AMA Superstock bikes taking to the track at 1:00 for a 17 lap race, followed by another 17 lap race for the Pro Honda Oils Supersport presented by Shoei Helmets race. The feature race of the day is slated to start at 3:00, when the Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited takes to the track in the week's finale.
VIR's next major event is the GT Live/Koni Challenge event, the weekend of October 5-7. With the widest variety of motorsports available, the headliner event will be the Koni Challenge races for high-performance production sports cars, coupes and sedans. With limited modifications, these are the same cars seen on the highways every day. The VIR races will be the finales for the two classes, both featuring a six-hour enduro format. The big engined Grand Sport (GS) racers will take the track in the weekend's capstone, while the smaller Street Tuner (ST) class attracts the import and hot compact crowd.
GS races feature Porsche, Nissan, BMW, Mustang and Pontiac, while the ST cars attract entries such as Mazda RX-8, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Dodge SRT-4, MINI Cooper S, Acuras and a variety of BMWs. The entire field races on Hoosier tires, further equalizing the competition.