Mat Mladin leads Nicky Hayden in their race-two Superbike battle at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2001. Photo by Henny Ray Abrams

With MotoAmerica set to bring AMA Superbike racing back to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 16-18, we’re taking a closer look at past Superbike races at the iconic racetrack in Lexington, Ohio.

Kawasaki’s Eric Bostrom arrived at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2001 riding the wave of confidence after winning two AMA Superbike races in succession. The wins looked to have given him at least a slim chance of winning the 2001 AMA Superbike title, but Mid-Ohio changed all that.

Actually, Mat Mladin changed all that. Well, Mat Mladin and a tire failure.

With Bostrom’s efforts of a podium finish thwarted by a chunked rear tire in race two of the doubleheader after he’d finished second in the first race, Mladin took full advantage of the situation with the Australian taking a win and a second-place finish in the two races.

The title chase wasn’t over with four races to go, but it sure did look like it.

Mladin was dominant in race one on Saturday, beating Bostrom by 1.8 seconds after maintaining a three-to four-second lead for most of the race. to earn his first Mid-Ohio victory. The next day, Mladin finished second to American Honda’s Nicky Hayden after a battle that went almost to the finish. Mladin was a bit lucky in that one as his engine failed him on the final lap (“the old girl expired”) yet he was able to coast across the line in second.

Superbike race-two winner Nicky Hayden is flanked by Mladin and Miguel Duhamel.
Photo by Henny Ray Abrams

Hayden’s weekend was a good one with the youngster finishing third in the first race before bike improvements saw him emerge victorious from race two.

“A couple of times it looked like he (Mladin) was going to get away from me,” Hayden said after race two. “A few lappers would either help me or hurt me and one really helped me, and I was able to get back on him.”

“It wasn’t really a goal to worry about winning at Mid-Ohio because I hadn’t won here,” Mladin said. “It was a goal because I felt I had to win because I figured Eric (Bostrom)… if I didn’t win it would probably be Eric. That was my motivation for this race, and everything turned out pretty good. It’s nice to have a win at a place you haven’t won at, but at this time of the year and this weekend, it’s important to win.

The win was the 14th of Mladin’s career, and it came after the Yoshimura Suzuki rider had earned his seventh straight pole position of the season.

Notably missing from the 2001 Mid-Ohio National was three-time race winner Aaron Yates. The Georgian was at his home, recovering from a broken wrist suffered at Laguna Seca.

Website | + posts