Mat Mladin has announced today that he will retire from AMA racing at the end of the 2009 season, and also offered a press release (see below) explaining his decision to sit out this weekend’s round of the AMA Superbike championship in Topeka. Here is the press release from Mladin:
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.