The most successful rider in the history of AMA Superbikes, Mat Mladin, has announced he will retire from the sport at the end of the 2009 season.

The Australian has swept all before him since joining the series in 1996, winning the title on six occasions, while his race victory tally currently stands at a record-breaking 82 triumphs.

Nonetheless, in the year that the 37-year-old is well on course to end his career with a seventh AMA Superbike title, Mladin has confirmed he will hang up his leathers at the final round next month.

"After so many great years of racing in the USA, I will retire from AMA racing at the end of the 2009 racing season in New Jersey," read a statement from Mladin.

"My career has been long and above and beyond my wildest expectations. I won my first national championship on dirt bikes back in 1981 and have had an amazing career ever since. If I had my time again, I would not change a single decision I have made, in life or in racing.

"I would like to thank my team for their constant hard work. Without these guys, the 80+ race wins and multiple championships would not have been possible. I wish to thank my fans. I want you to know that you all have helped me achieve so much. I will miss you.

"I want to thank my mum and dad for getting me involved in such a fantastic sport that turned into my profession. I love you both. My brother and sister for all the miles you done cramped into the back of a little pick up in the early days. These were great times and the ones in racing I will cherish the most. You mean the world to me.

"My daughters are growing fast and it is time I put my efforts into their future.

"My wife, what can I say? You have unselfishly given your time and efforts to this lifestyle of ours. Racing had its down days, but with you by my side it was easy to get up and smell the fresh air, and realise how lucky I am. You have been a rock for so long, and if I could live another 100 years I still would not have the time to repay you for your commitment. I love you babe."

As well as AMA Superbikes, Mladin competed in 18 World Superbike races between 1992 and 2003, his best performance coming in that final year when he scored a pole position at Laguna Seca and finished in fourth.

After winning the Australian Superbike Championship in 1992, Mladin had moved straight to the 500cc World Championship with Cagiva, taking a best finish of sixth on his way to 13th in the championship in what was his first and last world championship campaign.

1994 saw Mladin return to Australia, but hopes of a second home title were hit by injuries on and off the track, including a plane crash in 1995. Mladin still finished second in the '95 championship, then made the move to America where he raced the likes of MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden, WSBK champion Neil Hodgson and 2009 WSBK star Ben Spies.

Mladin, who chose not to race at last weekend's Heartland Park Topeka round for safety reasons, holds an 83 point lead over nearest rival Tommy Hayden with just four races to go.

Mladin has won all his AMA titles with Suzuki.

Mladin has been openly unhappy with the changes made to the AMA SBK series this season and had been loosely linked to a WSBK switch following the stunning success of his former team-mate and title rival Spies.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment