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Sep 30, 2001

Mladin Crashes and His Bike Burns In Final Superbike Practice At VIR

Copyright 2001, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin lowsided his GSX-R750 Superbike at the end of Sunday morning's Superbike final practice session at Virginia International Raceway, and the bike burned.<BR><BR>Mladin was unhurt after a long slide and got up to turn off the bike's ignition, only to discover that the bike was beginning to burn.<BR><BR>Then, as seen on a Speedvision replay, Mladin began to motion to cornerworkers that a fire extinguisher was needed on his bike. Before Mladin returned his view down to his bike, flames burst from the downed machine and enveloped Mladin's legs.<BR><BR>According to Suzuki's Kevin Schwantz, Mladin "felt himself getting hot." Mladin then looked down to see the flames surrounding him and immediately jumped back.<BR><BR>Seconds later, cornerworkers arrived on the scene and began to use fire extinguishers on Mladin's burning bike. Unfortunately, the fire extinguishers seemed to have little effect on the raging blaze that could be scene from hundreds of yards away on pit lane. After a few moments the flames were finally extinguished but to many observers the fire fighting efforts seemed to take too long.<BR><BR>"The fire extinguishers didn't seem to have too much effect, did they?" said Yoshimura Suzuki Team Manager Don Sakukura. "It seemed like it took forever for them to put it out. Mat's tank was punctured."<BR><BR>What appeared to be plain water coming out of the fire extinguisher used on Mladin's fire was actually a mixture of water and a fire suppressant called "Cold Fire", according to VIR's Assistant Director of Emergency Services, David "Cowboy" Crumpton. "It's mixed 24 ounces to two gallons of water, then pressurized with air into canisters," said Crumpton. "It's the latest stuff. We've used it with good results in car fires. It's what is used in fire extinguishers at all of the Winston Cup tracks." Crumpton then said that rescue vehicles at VIR carry an equal number of "Cold Fire" and conventional CO2 canisters.<BR><BR>On the effectiveness of the "Cold Fire" on Mladin's bike, Crumpton said, "The problem was that the fuel was still leaking out feeding the fire."<BR><BR>Sakukura said, "Mat's going to have to race on his back-up bike now." It was also confirmed by Yoshimura Suzuki that Jamie Hacking's Superbike would become Mladin's new back-up bike, as Hacking was injured when he crashed in 600cc Supersport practice on Saturday.<BR><BR><BR>Chevy Trucks AMA Superbike Practice Times, Sunday Morning:<BR>1. Doug Chandler, Kawasaki, 1:26.491<BR>2. Mat Mladin, Suzuki, 1:26.503<BR>3. Nicky Hayden, Honda, 1:26.941<BR>4. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki, 1:26.961<BR>5. Kurtis Roberts, Honda, 1:27.063<BR>6. Aaron Yates, Suzuki, 1:27.249<BR>7. Miguel Duhamel, Honda, 1:27.335<BR>8. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha, 1:27.608<BR>9. Larry Pegram, Ducati, 1:27.936<BR>10. Steve Rapp, Ducati, 1:28.196<BR>11. Pascal Picotte, H-D, 1:28.470<BR>12. Andreas Meklau, Ducati, 1:28.684<BR>13. Tommy Hayden, Yamaha, 1:28.849<BR>14. Jordan Szoke, H-D, 1:30.686<BR>15. Mauro Cereda, Suzuki, 1:31.953<BR>16. Anthony Lupo, Suzuki, 1:32.298<BR>17. Greg Fryer, Yamaha, 1:32.580<BR>18. Tony Meiring, Suzuki, 1:32.637<BR>19. Robert Jensen, Suzuki, 1:32.645<BR>20. Andrew Deatherage, Suzuki, 1:32.662<BR><BR>600cc Supersport Practice Times:<BR>1. Aaron Yates, Suzuki, 1:28.741<BR>2. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki, 1:29.197<BR>3. Kurtis Roberts, Honda, 1:29.367<BR>4. Miguel Duhamel, Honda, 1:29.429<BR>5. Tommy Hayden, Yamaha, 1:29.559<BR>6. John Hopkins, Suzuki, 1:29.626<BR>7. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha, 1:29.631<BR>8. Roger Lee Hayden, Honda, 1:30.242<BR>9. Jake Zemke, Honda, 1:30.370<BR>10. Josh Hayes, Honda, 1:30.540<BR>11. Grant Lopez, Suzuki, 1:30.908<BR>12. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha, 1:31.071<BR>13. Jimmy Moore, Suzuki, 1:31.349<BR>14. Chris Caylor, Suzuki, 1:31.539<BR>15. Lee Acree, Suzuki, 1:32.207<BR>16. Vincent Haskovec, Suzuki, 1:32.284<BR>17. Robert Jensen, Suzuki, 1:33.737<BR>18. Daigoro Suzuki, Kawasaki, 1:34.039<BR>19. David Ortega, Suzuki, 1:34.285<BR>20. Tyler Wadsworth, Yamaha, 1:34.439<BR><BR>