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Sep 5, 2008

Updated: Denial Of Mladin Appeal Means Spies Is 2008 AMA Superbike Champion

It was a long and winding path that ended early and strangely, but the result is that Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies is the 2008 AMA Superbike Champion.

The Championship was finalized Friday afternoon, but it wasn't decided with a cunning maneuver in a corner or a heartbreaking mechanical failure. It was decided with a shuffle of papers and the issuing of a couple of press releases.

At 2:48 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (5:48 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) Friday, Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki issued a press release announcing that it had met the AMA deadline of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and had officially filed appeal paperwork disputing the disqualification that took away Mat Mladin's pair of race wins August 16-17 at VIRginia International Raceway.

Just 13 minutes after the press release was issued by American Suzuki's PR agency, AMA Pro Racing issued a statement that it had denied the appeal, ruling it was "without merit."

The exact time spread between the receipt of the appeal paperwork by AMA Pro Racing and the denial of the appeal is unknown.

The disqualifications took 74 points away from Mladin and boosted Spies' points lead to 101. With only one race and 38 points still available, Spies' lead is insurmountable and he is the AMA Superbike Champion.

Reached on his cell phone Friday afternoon, Mladin said he had not heard the news of AMA Pro Racing's denial of his appeal. When informed of AMA Pro Racing's ruling, Mladin said he had no comment.

Roadracingworld.com could not reach Spies on his cell phone before post time.

AMA Pro Racing charged that the crankshaft in Mladin's race-winning GSX-R1000 at VIR differed from the homologated, control crankshaft that Suzuki had provided to the AMA in terms of markings, texture, edge finishes, the oil supply holes and the color.

Mladin's team contended that the crankshaft was a production crankshaft and the same as the crankshaft AMA Pro Racing inspected when Mladin finished second at Auto Club Speedway earlier this season.

The Championship is Spies' third straight, making him only the fourth man to ever win three consecutive AMA Superbike Championships. Reg Pridmore, Fred Merkel and Mladin have each won three consecutive titles. Mladin has done it twice.




More, from a press release issued by AMA Pro Racing:

BEN SPIES WINS THE 2008 AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY PARTS UNLIMITED

AMA Pro Racing offers its congratulations to Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Ben Spies on his third-straight AMA Superbike Championship.

In another hard-fought, season-long battle with teammate Mat Mladin, the 24-year-old traded wins--as well as points for pole positions and most laps lead--with the six-time champ in most of the 2008 season races.

Last Sunday, Spies captured a dramatic win in the second Superbike race at Road Atlanta. After Mladin built up what appeared to be an insurmountable lead, the reigning champ clawed his way back and was poised to strike by lap 19. Running down the back straight, Mladin looked back to see how close his rival was, only to get an eyeful of Spies' #1 plate. Both men pulled identical wheelies and wobbles as they crested the hill. Spies made the pass and took control of the contest, riding to an eventual 7.107-second margin of victory.

The victory on the 2.55-mile, 12-turn track in Braselton, Georgia was the Texan's 10th race win--and eighth pole--of the season. It was also the year in which Spies earned seven victories in a row, breaking the six-race Superbike win-streak record shared by Mladin and Honda Racing's Miguel Duhamel. In his eight-year AMA professional road race career, Spies is now a four-time national champion as well as a 45-time winner, including 28 victories in Superbike.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. AMA Pro Racing series include the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Flat Track Championship, the AMA Supermoto Championship and the AMA Pro ATV Championship.