Canadian racer Dan Kruger has had a wild year. From a first-time entry into the IOMTT, roadracing with Penz13 in Europe, a second-place finish in the Pan Delta roadracing series in China, and now this month’s entry into the Macau GP, he’s been wheeling his way at high speed around the globe.
We caught up with Dan via email, and asked him a few questions about Macau. Here’s what he had to say about the risky race. Be sure to check out Dan’s Facebook page here.
CMG- This was your first year at both the IOMTT and Macau. What were the differences?
Dan Kruger – Both were intense but the IOMTT was overwhelmingly intense. Memorizing 37 miles and over 200 corners is simply a mega task. Also, I wasn’t at a good place during the TT with the loss of Simon on my mind. However, there were also a lot of similarities between the two events.
CMG- Which was harder?
Dan Kruger – No question the TT. You are more or less on your own to figure it out and again, it is 37 miles and over 200 corners.
CMG- You got 20th at Macau – you probably wanted better, but you still finished ahead of eight other guys. What did that feel like, crossing the finish line at what’s probably one of the world’s most dangerous motorcycle races?
Dan Kruger – Mixed feelings. I had a specific purpose at the Macau event. I had to qualify, finish the race, ideally not finish in last and not get lapped. These “guidelines” were clear and came from my agent, close friends and people that wanted to see me back in 2015 at the event. Therefore, I accomplished the goals.
There is very limited track time at Macau and I had an electrical issue and missed the entire second qualifying. 45 minutes of valuable learning. Every time I went out, I went faster so I am in a great position to chase for a top 10 in 2015.
CMG- Did you get the chance to spend any time with any of the other racers, or does everyone keep to themselves at Macau?
Dan Kruger – The best part of road racing is the fact that the other racers are all down to earth. We all spend time together and have dinners, do circuit laps in cars together and there are also many press events were we are together for photos or signings.
There is a lot of goofing around but at the same time, I can go to any one of the 31 other racers at Macau and they will gladly talk about Macau, what to expect, and how to get through it. We all want each other to remain safe and there is a bond between us unlike any other sport (Including circuit racing) that I have ever experienced. It is also one of the reasons my wife loves coming to the road events with me. She feels the positive vibe as well.
CMG- What are the most challenging aspects of the Macau GP?
Dan Kruger – The lack of track time and the fact that all the corners are blind. There is also no reference points for braking as the entire circuit is surrounded with yellow and black steel barriers or yellow concrete. With one blind corner being a fifth gear corner… this place definitely separates the men from the boys.
CMG- Do you plan to return next year? If so, what did you learn that will help you?
Dan Kruger – Yes, I will be back in 2015. Like the TT, it is a 2-3 year process being able to go quick at Macau. I will arrive with a base understanding of the circuit and we will also have a Macau bike ready to go. I expect next year could be a top 10 finish.
CMG- What specific challenges did you face going into this year’s race?
Dan Kruger – Several… My race bikes got stuck in China and we had to fly a bike over from Canada last minute. It was a standard street bike that had to be transformed into a race bike in 36 hours. As I mentioned earlier, we also missed a third of the entire track time with an electrical issue in Qualifying 2.
Finally, myself and 7 other riders all came down with a bad flu and were put on antibiotics. At one point, I wasn’t cleared to practice and it would have meant the end of my weekend. The final challenge is the fact that the bikes are out at 7:30 each morning for either practice or qualifying. The roads are open all night and you are dealing with oil, debris and in general, very slippery roads at such an early hour.
Macau is the most dangerous event in my opinion and it demands respect. It feels like a short circuit in a road like environment. It is the danger, lack of track time and high energy that make it such a special event. I was very fortunate to be one of only 32 guys invited to participate and finishing 20th on my first go around was on track with everyone’s expectations. You need to prove to the officials and other competitors that you belong on the grid, are safe, and will take the time needed to tame the course.
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