While it may be difficult for anyone who knew Mat Mladin when he raced in America to believe that the hard-edged, confrontational and unforgiving Mladin could be a victim of, well, anything, to hear him say he was a victim of domestic abuse and that he used alcohol or illegal drugs suggests that anyone, seemingly, can be a victim of domestic abuse and mis-use illegal drugs like cocaine.
While numerous riders–Mick Doohan, Ben Bostrom, Wayne Gardner, Miguel DuHamel, Ben Spies, Eddie Lawson and Kevin Schwantz– transitioned quickly and easily from racing to the non-rider life, Mladin’s life seemingly spun out of control after he stopped racing and moved back to Australia.
Mladin’s post on social media details his struggles:
For anyone who is a victim of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE”
I am “MAT MLADIN”. Surely I could not be the victim of DV, especially how all of you know me as the racer.
But away from the track I’m known as “Doof” by the two most important people in my life, Em and Jess, my two beautiful daughters. Yes 18 and 15 and they still call me Doof, the name my eldest gave me when she was just 2.
“He says it as he sees it”, “brutally honest”, “hard man”, “a machine”, “boring”, “prick”, “asshole”, and the list goes on. These are the things I was known as by the people that didn’t approve of how I went about things and probably by most of my competitors when racing in the USA. When you do a bit of winning you could be Harry Potter and they will call you these things. But truth be truths, on occasion I was all of the above. What you don’t know is that my life away from the track was very different. I didn’t believe I had to be defensive like I was at the track. I trusted people, I rarely hid anything from anyone. As one of the three witnesses in my case said, “too honest for his own good”. People that knew me well would say “he is so different at home compared to the track”. I could go on, but suffice to say I really screwed up my personal life after racing had finished. I should have treated my personal life like my professional life and I know now, I would have been much much happier if I did. I have screwed up some things and hurt some people and for this I can only improve and not allow things like this to happen again.
Because of the lies that landed me in this crap, the past two years of my life have been spent doing the best I could to prepare my now 18 year old uni student daughter and my 15 year old homeschooled daughter who is on the autistic spectrum, to prepare them for some years without their father and the possibility of having their mother depart their life at some point (a little on this later). Some would say that if I knew I was innocent, why would I worry about doing this? Anyone on this FB page knows most of my success on two wheels, from my first Australian dirt track championship win in 1981 through to my last and seventh American Superbike championship win 28 years later in 2009. To be able to have such success, one thing you have to learn first and foremost is to prepare for the worst because I can tell you from much experience that when you win as many motorcycle races as I have, a lot of the time you do so with some sort of problem (mechanical, sickness etc) that can mostly be overcome by being organised and prepared. So I started preparing my girls the best way I knew in March of 2020. That’s over 2 years of not knowing what my future held and worried sick about my daughters and their mum. It was the heaviest burden to carry.
My message to you: do not wait to go to the police because you think the DV you are suffering from will get better, it will not. If you are told “I love you, I’m sorry and I won’t do it again”, do not believe it – it will never get better.
My abuser would sneak up to my property with no worries about others seeing or hearing as the property was in the middle of nowhere. As per usual the tears and the sorry’s and the I love yous were the first thing, and when you didn’t accept these things once again and you verbally abuse them because that’s all you have, then that way of them trying to get back in is quickly replaced with yelling abuse and calling you everything under the sun and last but not least as they are walking away telling you to stop abusing them. Yes they change that quickly when they are not getting what they believe they deserve. They use every tool they have to make you feel like you are the abuser and they are the victim. My closest friends and my family have no idea at the depth of abuse I was subject to. Some have witnessed it, but for the most part I denied it was that bad. If video footage and CCTV from my security systems wasn’t available, few would believe it.
Throughout the past years, even though the relationship was on again off again, but by far mostly off, I endured constant stalking, mental and emotional abuse and physical violence, break and enter to my homes (whilst I was there and not) and the list goes on. I was dining with another woman in my local town, I was confronted, verbally abused, as was my date and chased out of the restaurant. I have been physically abused on the street and hoped that no one would see it, only to be asked later by a business owner across the road, who I’d known for 30 years, was I okay and if I wanted him to call the police. No I said, thinking it will “get better” and not wanting the abuser to get charged and so on.
In 2018, I had the chance to work directly with a young man and get back involved in road racing, which for a few reasons I was excited about. I got to go to the track again and get my hands dirty in a different role, this time as a mechanic. I had big shoes to fill. If you ever saw my boys work on my bikes you would understand. I enjoyed giving back to the sport that has afforded myself, my daughter’s and their mum a very comfortable life. After all the abuse, I thought this will get me back on track and to be able to get away from my abuser. How wrong I was. When they see you slipping away, the abuse, the stalking, the complete invasion of privacy gets far far worse. Then you find yourself being told you are this and that, words I won’t use here because I’m sure some kids are reading, then you start feeling it’s your fault and that you are making this person abuse you and it’s exactly what you are being told by them.
Being charged with what I was, thrown in jail and then living the past two and a half years in silence waiting for my turn to speak, was very hard. But as I did in my racing days, I have and am taking all the positive things that have and are coming out of this tumultuous time in my life and have become smarter and better from the experience. We could hold onto the negatives and allow these perpetrators of DV to win and allow them to still control our lives indirectly but I won’t, never. I thank my abuser for the experience I have gained at the hands of her abuse. Mine and my daughter’s lives will be that much richer because of it.
I talk openly, actively and honestly with Em and Jess, about DV, among other things (unfortunately Em witnessed a lot of it). But I won’t let this very negative part of my life go forgotten without drawing on the positives. I did this in my professional life so I sure as heck won’t miss this opportunity this time in my private life.
When your life and privacy are constantly under threat of violence in one manner or another, you quickly turn inward and for me, being financially set and not having to go to work and also my daughters being with their mum fifty percent of the time, I had plenty of spare time and I started to drink alcohol, far too much at times and my cocaine use was out of control at times also. Other than a celebratory drink after winning a championship or a Daytona podium swig of the champers for example I never became a drinker until the abuse entered my life in my early 40’s. Even after the rough years of retiring from the sport I loved, I never touched a drink for three years after retirement. The first time I used drugs was not long after the first time I was physically abused as an adult when I was 43 years old. The drugs started for the first time not long after my abuser stormed into my house (on a property in a national park with just one private road in and my nearest neighbour 2kms away) when I had returned from a round of the Australian Superbike championships in 2015, with a woman I was seeing. We got home at midnight from the Queensland road trip. Half an hour after we were settling in for the night, my abuser bust through the door into my house and verbally abused my friend and this was the first time I was physically abused. The drugs allowed me to escape the abuse. These years could have all been a non event if I just took care of myself and not worried so much about others.
DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR ABUSER NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY OR HOW MUCH THEY APOLOGIZE. IF IT HAPPENS ONCE, IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN AND OVER TIME IT WILL GET WORSE!
One last thing, I wanted to clear something up as the lovely person who looks after this FB page has told me that some people may be a little confused and may be thinking that all of this is about by my X wife. It is not. Absolutely couldn’t be further from the truth. We were trogehter for nearly twenty years. My X wife and I are still good friends. We share our girls 50/50 and have done from the first day of our separation. There are no court orders in place to make sure we stick to this verbal agreement because we never needed that. We have both done everything we can to soften the landing as much as we can for our girls in what was a very hard time. We have remained very cordial for the past 10 years since our separation. The girl’s mum is going through her own very tough time battling brain cancer. The past twelve months have been very hard for her and of course us and her mum, dad and siblings and her close friends. She was the first person to put her hand up for me to come to trial as a character witness but her health just didn’t afford that. She was the third person to give me a tight squeeze (after our daughters) after all this stuff got sorted. I continue to support her through her fight and would do anything for her. She is the best mum and a loving, caring and compassionate person. And if I need an ear she was always there until the day her communication became a bit hard for her. She is the woman that gave me my beautiful daughters and until I take my last breath I will be there to support her.