Nov 26, 2001
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From an AMA press release:<BR><BR>MLADIN EARNS FINAL AMA/SPEEDVISION PRO ATHLETE OF THE YEAR NOMINATION<BR><BR>PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Australian racing sensation Mat Mladin is the fourth and final nominee for the 2001 AMA/Speedvision Athlete of the Year. Mladin is coming off another outstanding season in AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship competition – winning his third straight title. Mladin is the first rider to produce three-consecutive championships in AMA Superbike since Motorcycle Hall of Famer Fred Merkel accomplished the feat in 1986. Next year he will attempt to become the first four-time AMA Superbike champion. <BR><BR>Mladin, 29, started the 2001 racing campaign with his second win in the prestigious Daytona 200. He then went on to victory on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSXR750 at Road Atlanta, Road America and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, bringing his season tally to four wins. Mladin is now tied for fifth on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list with a career total of 14 wins. Mladin also became the leading all-time AMA Superbike pole winner this season. <BR><BR>Mladin joins Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport champ Eric Bostrom, AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross and AMA EA Sports Supercross winner Ricky Carmichael and Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track titlist Chris Carr as the nominees for this year's Pro Athlete of the Year award. <BR><BR>"I really have to thank my team for the work they put into helping me win the Superbike Championship this year," said Mladin, a former Australian Superbike champ who has raced in the U.S. since 1996. "It's very much a team effort and I happen to be fortunate to have the best team behind me." <BR><BR>This is Mladin's third time being nominated for AMA/Speedvision Pro Athlete of the Year. He won the award last year. He has the chance to become the first rider to win back-to-back Athletes of the Year since Rick Johnson and Bubba Shobert were named co-winners in 1986 and 1987. <BR><BR>The AMA/Speedvision Athlete of the Year winner is awarded $5000 and will have their name enshrined alongside some of the all-time greats of the sport. <BR><BR>The 2001 AMA/Speedvision Pro Athlete of the Year will be announced during the 27th annual AMA Pro Racing Champions Awards Banquet Dec. 7, 2001, at the luxurious Desert Springs Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Springs. To purchase tickets to the awards banquet, contact AMA Pro Racing at (614) 856-1900.