Mladin’s Blog

| May 7, 2009

Where are we going? On the one hand there have been some very good decisions made, and on the other, there seems to be a lack of communication on a very basic level.Do I hope DMG get it right and racing is bigger than ever? YES 100%. I may even like to have a team one day. I don’t know yet, but there are many possibilities.The pace car! Great idea. I think it works fantastically. It keeps the bikes on the track, it keeps the action rolling and generally just works better than a red flag. Of course if the track is oiled up badly or something out of the ordinary blocks the track completely, a red may be needed, but overall it works well. The one thing that needs to be improved with the pace car is how the riders are alerted that it has been deployed. Unlike car racing, we don’t have radio communication and when you are shoved up the back of someones exhaust looking for and opportunity to pass, it is impossible to see any flags. Ben Bostrom said on the weekend that he nearly cleaned up Aaron Yates because he didn’t know the pace car was on track. He wasn’t even up someone ass. If this can be improved, it will not only make the pace car a great idea, but it will save a serious injury or worse. I think the policy makers need a better understanding of the difference between bikes and cars. You can’t run over a camel on a race bike and not feel it. You cant put a wheel in oil whilst leaned over in a corner and not feel it. You can’t pick your nose, adjust your sunglasses and have a friendly chat to your crew chief when your heart is beating 180 on a motorcycle. It is a very precise sport, not one where a few bikes can get together and draft back to the leader. It is a different animal and some things need to be treated different.The not so good! Barber is a fun track in the wet and is relatively safe so it was great to get some wet practice, as it doesn’t happen that often here in the States, thanks entirely to the fact that to many tracks are not safe to race at in the rain.On Sunday afternoon, the racing / practice was stopped because of a tornado warning at the track. The crazy decisions started happening straight after that. The warning had just expired, and the 600 supersport class, (the kids) I call them, are given a time for the start of their race. At this time, the track wasn’t fit for the best riders there, let alone the least experienced.Besides the condition of the track, the lightning and thunder was very prevalent. These were no conditions to force a bunch of kids into. It is things like this that shakes your confidence re the decision makers. Business is business, I know that very well, but peoples lives are more important than a few fans that would be whining because they didn’t get to see all the racing they were promised.For the future, the AMA should strictly state, that there are no guarantees that racing will happen if it is wet. The fans would appreciate the transparency and know what they were getting into before buying a ticket. All efforts are made by the AMA and the teams to race (as per Barber) but if it can’t happen safely, then so be it.I leaned across to Blake on the start line of the second race as I used to do with Ben and told him that if it starts raining I will be coming into the pits. Whether winning or coming tenth it doesn’t matter. The reasons I do this are simple. To enforce into these kids that I decide to make the right decision, not the decision that may benefit me at the time, and so they know I wont force them into racing in dangerous conditions. We all want to win, but in life we have to make decisions that are right, not beneficial only to ourselves. Unlike some other teams / riders that quoted at Fontana “If it rains, I’m going out, because I need the points”. Out the window goes safety, cause this wanker needs the points.It brings up the lapped rider issue. There is a blue flag that warns the soon to be lapped rider that the leaders are close, so move over. Unfortunately we are graced by so many wankers in racing, that the guy that does the right thing and moves over is ultimately carved up and passed by some moron who is taking advantage of the situation. It truly is unbelievable. I see it happen alot. It’s called integrity, and there are to many people that have none.When a track is dry and the officials declare it a “wet race” it is only done for one reason. The reason being, if it rains, they don’t have to stop the race. I’m not sure how a race can be declared “wet” when everyone is on slicks? Back when we raced real superbikes and had Daytona quick change equipment on the bikes, which we always had if the weather looked iffy, we could safely come into the pits and change wheels, but unfortunately these days that is not the case. There are wheel spacers and crap flying everywhere on wheel changes, and this will only lead to one thing, a mistake that will be costly.I will go on the record and tell all my fans where you will and will not see me racing if it is raining. That way, when it starts to rain at certain tracks, you will know that I have been transparent with you and you won’t feel the need to come and tell me you have been ripped off.Infineon: NO

Road America: YES (only just. two very critical areas)

Laguna: YES (only just. two very critical areas)

Ohio: NO

Topeka: NO IDEA (never seen the place. will make up mind in Friday’s first practice)

Virginia: NO

New Jersey: (Same as Topeka)Miller (off the schedule) and Laguna, are the only two tracks that have the white lines painted in the correct non slip paint. As I said above, business is business, sure, but lives are lives and when a bunch of young kids ass’ and lives are on the line, I will be as vocal as need be.As I said at the top, there have been some good things happening, but there have been some dumb decisions being made also. Let’s hope we continue to move forward, for the sake of our safety and for the sake of the fans. We need you guys at the track.Earlier today I posted a tweet ( regarding Blake Young getting to Europe as soon as possible. Blake has the right build for a modern GP bike and I believe Blake is 21 now. Twenty years ago, 21 was young. Now it is borderline. While I believe Spies learned some things from me, I believe he spent far to long here in the States, if in fact GP was his ultimate goal.Chasing an old fart around the the American race tracks, might teach you to be tough, might teach you some race craft etc, but it won’t teach you life in Europe on the GP circus. It is different over there. Do I think it is full of great riders? NO. Do I think there are some great riders there? YES. In the end, if Europe is your dream, and racing GP is your dream, then Valentino Rossi can bust anyones balls as good as I can, and while he might smile to your face (unlike me) you can be assured he is thinking of ways to make you feel really bad.Could I do with the competition Blake will certainly bring one day? Yes for sure, it may be what I need to keep going, but if Blake wants to race the World Championship, don’t listen to all the armchair experts that tell you, you need to race here for years before you try and make the move. Just go. The top of the tree over here is a good level, if you are young and close, you are good enough to move on.I will write a column regularly and post it for your enjoyment (or dart practice) depending on you views I guess!Ride smart and be safe



Mat Mladin