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Mladin & Hacking Boycott Topeka

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin and Monster Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking will both sit out this round of the AMA Pro racing series at Heartland Park Topeka. Both of the premier riders on their respective teams cite a lack of rider safety as the reason for the boycott. Below are the official press releases from both Suzuki and Kawasaki regarding the matter as well as an e-mail from Mladin that addresses the reason from his perspective:


Mat Mladin - American Superbike  Laguna Seca
Mat Mladin may be out because of safety concerns but the rest of his team doesn't appear to consider the track a risk.
American Suzuki Motor Corp. (ASMC) announced today that RockstarMakita Suzuki riders Tommy Hayden and Blake Young will compete without teammate Mat Mladin atround nine of the AMA Superbike series at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kansas this weekend.

According to six-time AMA Superbike Champion Mladin, he has concerns about the track’s safety and prefers not to race at this venue. Currently, Mladin is in first place in the overall AMA Superbike championship points standings. Mladin’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammates Hayden and Young are currently in second and sixth place, respectively, in the overall standings and plan to race this weekend.

“I can’t speak for our rider, Mat Mladin,” said the Yoshimura-backed Rockstar Makita Suzuki Team Manager Don Sakakura. “However, the team does respect his choice to not participate in this race meeting. Mat is a six-time AMA Superbike Champion and he has raced in other series and at tracks all over the world, so he understands that track safety is paramount. At the same time, the team appreciates that Heartland Park Topeka is doing everything humanly possible to make this track acceptable to the AMA riders. Currently, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden and Blake Young intend to participate in the race meeting and we hope that this weekend will be a safe and successful one for everyone.”

For more information on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team, please log on to www.suzukicycles.com

Press Release from Monster Energy Kawasaki

Jamie Hacking scored a podium finish in Daytona SportBike race 1  securing a lead in the championship points.
Monster Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking (88) will not race at Heartland Park Topeka.
Monster Energy Kawasaki'sJamie Hacking has decided not to race the ninth round of the AMA Pro Road Racing Series at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kansas citing safety issues.

Hacking met with AMA officials to explain his withdraw and then met privately with Heartland Park Track Owner Raymond Irwin to discuss areas of concern around the track.

"I was introduced to Raymond (Irwin) and had the chance to go over a track map with him," said Hacking. "I think that he really respected my concerns and was very receptive to my suggestions."

Hacking will still take part in the autograph session during the fan party on Friday night.

"We support Jamie in his final decision," said Kawasaki's Road Race Team Manager Mike Fisher. "Jamie is an experienced racer and has always been an advocate for track safety."

Teammate Roger Hayden plans on competing and will finalize his qualifying position during Saturday's final session.

Press Release from Mat Mladin

Mat Mladin
With a 126-point lead in the AMA Superbike, Mladin can afford not to race, but do any other riders share his concern?
Due to safety concerns I will not compete in this weekend’s round of the AMA Superbike championship in Topeka.

It is important to note that Topeka is a newly sanctioned round on the championship schedule. It is also important to note that Topeka has made changes to the track, but unfortunately, as is the case too many times, the track approval process was flawed and we arrived at a facility that was not ready for our caliber of competition.

This is 2009, and the days of showing up to race tracks that we know nothing about and have not been allowed to test at because of the AMA/DMG new rules regarding our testing are raising serious safety issues.

We race 200hp motorcycles where with constant development, the brakes, the tires, the chassis, the engines and the complete package as a whole gets faster every year. With this development the corner speeds and straight line speeds get faster and faster. With these extra speeds the margin of safety gets much smaller if the racetracks are not made safer.

We go to a few venues that still have some safety issues, but many of these venues have made vast improvements over the past few years. Sanctioning new venues with numerous safety flaws is just plain ridiculous.

Why do people have to get hurt seriously or worse before a racetrack is made safe before adding it to our National Championship schedule?

The adage of "they are going to make changes" doesn't cut it after someone has hit a concrete wall.

With acceptance of these new venues with obvious safety flaws, the bar has been dropped in regards to safety, opening the door to many other circuits that are not acceptable or fit for racing modern day motorcycles.

I will never accept the lowering of safety standards for the sake of a few people making money. It is the young kids, the future of the sport that will bear the brunt of the worst of this. One day, the teams and riders need to come together for the well being of each other.

Last but not least, I thank my fans for their continual support over the years. Without you, none of this racing is possible, and I'm very upset about not having a safe platform to put on a show for you guys this weekend, but I also know that none of you want to see me busted up in the bottom of a concrete wall or ten foot deep ditch. I look forward to seeing you all at VIR in two weeks.



AMA Superbike Rider Bios
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TheFlagMan -HTP  August 8, 2009 05:26 PM
Why didn't the management at HTP get some input from some of the teams and riders before the event. If you haven't had an event at your track for almost 20 years you need to find out what they want and need. This has always been a problem with HTP from the time it opened, no one has a clue but wants you to think they know it ALL!
SSD -Other don't agree  August 3, 2009 07:11 AM
Mladin has been whining this entire season, about DMG, about the new rules, about his K9, about tracks, blah, blah, blah.. Every year he races at Infineon, a very dangerous track. After Mid-Ohio he said he was tired of racing. So now, after getting his ass handed to him several times since the arrival of the K9, he quits due to safety concerns calling his competitors "spineless". Well, maybe the rest of the grid (with the exception of one other old guy) is spineless. Or maybe they think the track is fine because it is fine. They are no worse for deciding to ride than he is for deciding not to ride. Maybe Mladin just doesn't deal with working with a new bike that he can't tame very well, so he get's the hell out of Topeka. Mladin, crappy winner and worse loser.
IDodgeRoger -US Motorcycle Roadracing and those that Stand Up for Riders  August 2, 2009 10:43 PM
"How Long Has This Been Going On"

Everyone Who Loves US Motorcycle Racing needs to Sing this song to the DMG...

How long has this been goin' on?
How long has this been goin' on?

Well, your friends with their fancy persuasions
Won't admit that it's part of a scheme,
But I can't help but have my suspicions
'Cause I ain't quite as dumb as I seem.

And you said you were never intendin'
To break up our scene in this way,
But there ain't any use in pretendin',
It could happen to us any day.

How long has this been goin' on?
How long has this been goin' on?

Mladin is not the first voice and certainly won't be the last...

RD Lewis -Racing???  August 2, 2009 04:19 PM
So now riders are more concerned about crashing than racing...I guess the machines are more than the man now.
DucRider -I'm with Mat...  August 2, 2009 03:22 PM
AMA/DMG...open your eyes and ears to the disparagement comments from motorcycle racing fans all over the world directed at YOU...Are you listening? It's clear to all of us that your objective is nothing more than a financial gain. AMA/DMG continues to make imprudent decisions and continue to fall deaf ears to disenchantment from riders and the fans. In your realm the only thing that matters are the counting of almighty dollars after the race….So then, it's a customary for you "It's just another day at the race track"…It's a customary for you "We, the AMA/DMG got a do what we got a do" to run a business.

How depressing…

Shaswata Panja -He became my hero  August 1, 2009 07:18 PM
I felt bored by AMA SBK since Mladin was always winning..But he became my hero after standing up like this!! You go big guy!! We seriously don't need another Daijiro Katoh like incident
superbike GOD -track saftey  August 1, 2009 10:48 AM
I can't believe these stupid tracks in America do not get homoliginated by the FIM?? Maybe if they stop using wall that wouldn't end up riders asses they wouldn't have any issues, but they get any Joe Schmoe to design a track with whatever cheap ass material they can, like slippery paint shitty asphalt and so on... The reason why is becuase America doesn't support roadracing, it supports Nascrap more than NASA, pretty sad if you ask me. The owners of the track have to be tight wads cuz even if they get a track open to promote motorcycle racing no one shows up. I don't know who's more at fault the DMG or if it just comes down to what every problem comes down too... money!
I can't believe DMG allowing it!
Eric -Great start  August 1, 2009 09:53 AM
Why only two riders? The rest of the guys NEED to stand up to DMG/AMA. Racing is inherently dangerous. Racing on a track that is not ready to handle a certian type or level of racing is foolish.
William -Rider Safety Is Paramount  August 1, 2009 05:25 AM
I applaud Mats decision to not race this weekend at Topeka. Here in Australia we have similar issues with race circuits that are not up to safety standards for today’s motorcycles that put out 200hp and weigh 160kg. Unfortunately in April this year I witnessed from 10 meters away a fatal accident during our national Supersport series at Symmons Plains. From what I had full view of this accident was due to an unsafe circuit and inadequate flag marshalling. If things had been different, a circuit with adequate run off area to avoid a fallen rider, or other riders and officials had spoken out to address safety issues, particularly Marshall training, then this tragedy could have been avoided. I have no doubt. When you see how easily a serious accident emerges and happens from inadequate safety management by a sports governing body you understand what Mat Maladin has been saying for years during his race career in the US about safety at race circuits. I'm sure his actions and others in not racing this weekend at Topeka will start to have an impact on how the sports governing in the US builds, redesigns and accredits circuits in the US for motorcycling for years to come. If that hits the promoters in the hip pocket then so be it in order to avoid what happened here in April this year, a very sad day. If the sports governing body listens and learns from what riders are saying the end result will be that someone’s life maybe saved or serious injury avoided. Safety is paramount and should be spoken about in order to make improvements. Thanks Mat Maladin. Above all your other outstanding achievements, standing up and saying something’s not right is what makes you a champion. I sincerely hope our sport has not seen the last of you after this year. It would be great if you could somehow be an advocate for the sport and lead it to improve the level of saftey, particular at a national series level in the US, Australia and the UK. The circuits used for these series are often a long way behind international standards, unless used for MotoGP or WSBK.
Enjoying Racing -Safety is First  July 31, 2009 06:59 PM
I want to say Yes Safety is First!! What I do not understand is there were premier riders such as Hayes out here giving the track suggestions on what to do. The track made the adjustments that Hayes recommended. Now riders are saying we did not test here so we its unsafe. Do not the riders orginazation talk to each other about what is going on? Mladin is like Earnhart in the NASCAR circuit if its not to their liking they throw a fit and say its unsafe. I watched qulaifing today and they were carring speeds up to 160+ into 1 Alpha. But when you talk to the riders every track has concerns for the riders. What makes this one different. CCS has not ran on the new circuit and Heartland has made improvements granted there are still more needed but the Motorcycle racing world needs to expand its crowds to more than just the east and west coasts. Riders are afraid it will be like stockcar racing and they will be traveling almost every weekend. Riders are paid well by the MFG's and the MFG's have a large crowd of riders that would enjoy a great show of racing from some outstanding riders. I commend you all but remember where you came from and that is the small private riders trying to make it big.
x2468 -The Peoples Champ, Matt the Defier.  July 31, 2009 04:29 PM
Hmmm, the most talented yet stubborn and outspoken rider, who has often polarized fans with his blunt outspokenness, is now being rallied behind by the fans for taking on a corrupt and equally stubborn, near despotic governing body which is quickly losing legitimacy with the fans. This could be interesting.
AMA/DMG SUCKS -it's all about the buck  July 31, 2009 03:25 PM
Hey AMA/DMG, get your head out of the bank vault (or where ever it is) long enough to see what a terrible job you are doing. Also, Mat is right, safety should be concidered over the all mighty dollar,
GoodForYou -Safety is #1  July 31, 2009 03:21 PM
Thanks for standing up for what is right. Your safety and the safety of the other riders and fans really is important. I hope none of the riders who have decided to race are not injured in an accident this weekend.
TheBrain -Bravo  July 31, 2009 02:57 PM
Hats off to you Mr. Mladin. I wonder why Hacking's also not riding have been reported.
Ridngsxrs -Safety First  July 31, 2009 02:39 PM
I've seen my share of accidents that almost took several lives from CCS competitors at Topeka. Several of those where flown out. Thank god I didn't waste money for my family and I to come down there.
socalmoe -Awsome!!!!  July 31, 2009 02:12 PM
Thanks for standing up to this pathetic administrators of AMA. This series has gone to crap because of poor management. Rider safety should be of out most concern.