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4-time champ reports in after laguna seca
We had the bike to win on Sunday, but the red flag was bad timing for us. My bike was starting to work really good and I felt comfortable.

Unlike the Formula Extreme race red flag on Saturday, the one in our race was necessary as the crashed bike had leaked a lot of fluid onto the circuit. I found it amusing on Saturday when Jake's Extreme bike started smoking, that by the time the red flag came out there had to have been thirty bikes pass through the so called affected area and not one crash. The other funny thing was how long it took them to find no oil and restart the race.

Unlike the Superbike race on Sunday when there were fluids on the track and a clean-up performed, we were back out there with just enough time to grab a drink, use the gent's and put on a dry helmet. It had a lot of people and teams in the paddock saying that there's a reason the red flag is red.

If the clean-up for Superbike took the same amount of time, we would have changed a clutch and may have got a better start in leg two.

It all leads back to the fact that there is this saying at the AMA that says "At our discretion" which means things can be very different from race to race. It certainly makes it hard to organize a multi-million dollar race effort when those three words hold so much weight.

Mat leads Ben Bostrom before the race was red flagged
image by tim huntington
So onto the race. The first part of the race was going really well. We got about ten laps into it and my bike started feeling better every lap. I played a couple of tricks to see if Ben was just sitting or if he was pushing and I believed after a few laps that he was pushing. I settled in and started to make a game plan. After we hit the first two groups of traffic it was still even on the race track. I got an advantage in the first bunch and Ben made it all back up when we hit the second bunch in turn eleven. We then had a bit of clear track and I put my head down to see what Ben had. The gap grew steadily for two laps until the red flag was thrown.

It was unfortunate because short races bring a lot of people back into play as witnessed in the thirteen lap re-start. Back in the pits we couldn't get a solid answer on how long until we were green again so we couldn't take the risk of changing our clutch.

There is not much to say about the second leg. I couldn't get the start I needed to race with Ben who was turning a good pace. By the time I got past Aaron, I was 2.5 down with maybe seven to go. Ben was in the drivers seat and just had to stay solid to get the win. I got to within 0.6, but that was it. Laguna got away from us. Even though we stretched the points out slightly, I really wasn't happy with second.

Laguna has always been a real struggle for me and it has become a big challenge within myself to win there. I feel if I can win at Laguna, I can win anywhere, barring mile long front straights.

Congrats to Ben for his win. You could see the relief in his eyes on the podium. It was along time between drinks for him. He rode hard, good and deserved the win. He done his job from the front which is not easy. There are guys you don't mind winning and there are guys who you can't stand to see win. Ben is someone who is always gracious in defeat, always gives congrats if he's on the podium with you and rarely makes excuses or points the finger if he's not getting it done. It's racers like that who you don't mind losing to. Anyway, congrats to him and his team, you deserve it for your hard work.

It was a good weekend, and the fans certainly sounded like they had a good time. They were cheering and were really into it all weekend. It was good to see so many in attendance.

The last GP was interesting. Bridgestone put the cat amongst the pigeons when Tamada won. Kenny done a great job to put the Suzuki on pole. He was down on speed badly and it must have been a good lap to get pole. When I was watching the race I was thinking I know how you feel as everybody peels your stickers off on the straight. The GSVR looks like it is working fairly well but horsepower is horsepower and sometimes there is not much you can do.

Rossi going to Yamaha was the best thing that could have happened for that series this year. I remember last year when he got off the bike after winning, he hardly had a sweat. This year he looks like he has just got out of the shower. It also shows how important it is to have the right team behind you: Jerry Burgess knows a thing or two about winning GP championships and I wonder if Rossi would have switched camps if Jerry didn't. Either way, it has been the best year in a long time to watch. Rossi goin' at it is impressive.

Away from the track, I have been going through flight school to become a pilot. I have had a fascination with flying since I was a kid. I am in the process of buying an airplane and hopefully will have it very soon. It has been fun and a challenge, something new to get into. If everything progresses well I should do my first solo within a few weeks. People I have spoken to who have done it recently, tell me it's a big buzz to go solo for the first time.

Other than that there is not a lot to report, I'll check back in after Ohio. Stay safe and ride smart.
Mat Mladin



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