Q: Do you regret not going to Europe?
In honor of his record seventh...
In honor of his record seventh AMA Superbike championship (as well as his impending retirement), Mladin was given the opportunity to run the number one plate at the final event at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
No, not for the last half dozen years at least. I'd already made the decision it's not going to happen. Leading up to probably '00, I definitely considered it, but at the same time I was getting paid contract fees over that were four or five times what I could get from the teams in Europe. So that sort of helped cement what I wanted to do over here. Because when the racing's all said and done, you have to live the rest of your life. And unfortunately all these clowns now that are riding for free, all they're doing is taking it down for everybody-and putting their life on the line for free. And unfortunately, I've always seen it as a profession and believed I should be paid to race a motorcycle because I'm out there trying to market a product for a company. Unfortunately, those days are well and truly on the way out. No doubt about it.
Q: You said that Kansas solidified your decision to retire, but it was a good bit before then that you made up your mind to quit?
Mladin will now be looking...
Mladin will now be looking forward to spending more time with wife Janine and daughters Emily and Jessica-as well as numerous business ventures-back in Australia.
Yeah, I think so, yeah a couple months before then I really started thinking about it. Even leading up to Kansas, I was in some pretty serious talks with people about next year and with the debacle at Laguna and a bunch of the stuff that happened there with the pace car and with all the blame going everywhere else but where the blame deserved to be and then I was thinking about that. Then what happened at Topeka, that was that. And in the end, everybody can talk about safety as much as they like, but I [saw something] that was written yesterday and released from the AMA talking about safety and how they're going to make things safer with no rolling starts and they're going to make people wear headsets and blah, blah, blah, but the biggest thing that needs changing in regards to safety is not even mentioned in there and that's moving concrete walls to make the race tracks safer. So, it's not on their agenda. If you think taking a rolling start out and putting headsets on teams and riders is [going to make the racing safer], then I've definitely made the right decision.
Q: What are you going to miss about racing?
Just the racing. But I won't miss it, because I'm over it. I'm ready to go. Actually the best years I've had in racing from a personal standpoint have been the last three years when we haven't won the championship, but we've won lots of races. They've been the best three years I've had and I wouldn't trade them in for any championship. Made me really get more out of myself, which I really needed to do. So it's been good. But at the same time you've got to move on and I'm happy to move on and do different things and reinvigorate myself. But as far as the racing goes, no, I won't miss it. I might miss the clowns that I have to race now, like Johnny Rock Page, [Larry] Pegram and all those clowns. Won't miss them at all.