Lucky Mladin

Larry Lawrence
by Larry Lawrence
By Larry Lawrence

We almost had a championship race on our hands Sunday. But Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin happens to be not only good, but lucky. How else do you explain his factory GSXR750 Superbike surviving a crash on the high-speed entrance to Road America's famous carousel? He went down on lap three of Sunday's rainy final, but was able to get his machine going again well back in the field.

Now Mladin and his bike have survived a 100 mph crash and a lap later he pitches it away at the top of the hill in turn six...

A little bad luck this time: gravel from the first crash caused his bike's throttle to stick open. After his second crash Mladin knows he's done. His bike is toast; the impact ripped the face shield off of his helmet. Game, set, and match.

Just like that his 37-point lead in the series evaporates. Eric Bostrom and the rest are back in the title hunt right?

Wrong.

Did Jamie Hacking's pit board read in big bold letters "CRASH NOW!" and in smaller print read, "And make sure your bike ends up in the middle of the track in a section that corner workers dare not try to remove it, so as to cause a red flag?"

Maybe not, but I bet it at least crossed their mind.

So Hacking crashes and the bike ends up in the middle of the track where the corner workers dared not to attempt to remove it. And the race is stopped. Mladin rushes back to the pits where a fresh bike is waiting his arrival.

Race restarts, Mladin runs a conservative race to finish seventh.

Bottom line - the dude crashes twice in one race and comes away losing only two points to Bostrom. Instead of leaving Road America with a 10-point lead, he leaves with a 35-point lead. Now tell me the guy doesn't have a little bit of luck going his way.

Now the series turns to Loudon, where Mladin is very good.

Check please.

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