What with consumer confidence in the US dropping faster than the engine capacity of the Daytona 200, while price of gasoline and home heating substances are shooting up, we here at Soup can feel your pain and know the question that must be on your mind: will Mat Mladin and Miguel DuHamel have to find jobs this off-season in order to sustain themselves until next March?
We answer that with an unequivocal "uh, probably not".
Being a factory paid rider still pays really well here in the United States, as Mladin's '05 season and DuHamel's FX race at Road Atlanta demonstrate.
Knowledgeable sources say that Mat Mladin made just over four million dollars in salary, purse, bonuses and sponsor payments in 2005, what with winning his sixth Superbike championship. Moreover (again, knowledgeable sources) say DuHamel, meanwhile, made somewhere just short of $300,000 in one day when he won the Formula Extreme championship at Road Atlanta last month. This is beyond his fat Honda salary and sponsor payments. $300,000 in one day!
We've come a long way in fifteen years. That's when Doug Chandler was paid a reported $60,000 when he won the title, or 1989 when Jamie James won the Superbike championship while sleeping on his father-in-law's couch and paying for his ride. For many years in the 1990s, paddock talk had it that Suzuki factory rider Thomas Stevens was the highest-paid rider in the seriesat $85,000 a year.