I recently attended a Welcome/Opening Dinner event for the Special Olympics Golf Masters Macau where I happened to bump into Dan Kruger.
Dan was heading back to the USA via Hong Kong after completing several testing days at the Zhuhai International Circuit. One of the reasons for Dan’s test days in China was to see how his injured wrist (damaged in the first Pan Delta event in March) was recovering…Although not fully mended Dan couldn’t have been happier, his lap times were good and he was looking forward to the rest of the season.
We started discussing his upcoming racing calendar, which was to include the North West 200, the second Pan Delta event in Zhuhai, a Superbike support race for MotoGP in Germany and the Suzuka 8hr Endurance Race in late July.
For some reason I thought the North West was to be held later in the year however Dan reminded me that the event was scheduled for the week of May 10th to 16th (just over three weeks away).
For those of you not familiar with the North West 200, it is a road race meeting held annually (every May as it turns out) in Northern Ireland. The course is a street circuit, 14.436km in length, which is made up of public roads running between the towns of Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush.
Known as the ‘Triangle’ it is one of the fastest and most dangerous street circuits in the world with speeds in excess of 200mph (320kmh) achieved, all on public roads. Never fear though, to improve track safety, street signs are removed in certain sections of the track and ‘hay bales’ strategically positioned to protect riders from the many lampost’s and poles that line the circuit. The week long festival is one of the regions biggest sporting events with more than 130,000 spectators watching trackside…a must see event if your into road racing (hell, a must see event even if your not).
This year, the Canadian Kruger has again signed with the BMW Motorrad Penz13.com team run by Rico Penskofer for the event. Dan will join ‘local man’ Stephen Thompson and 13 time race winner, Englishman Michael Rutter onboard the German team’s BMW S1000RR’s
I know that Dan will be competing with a ‘heavy heart’ following last years tragic loss of best friend Simon Andrews, who unfortunately succumbed to injuries he suffered following a high speed crash during the Superstock race.
For this year I’ll have to rely on the internet for racing highlights and results however I’ll definitely be adding this event, along with the Isle of Man TT on my ‘must do’ calendar for next year.
This from Kruger:
“I am really happy to be part of the Penz13 BMW team in 2015. I have a year of road racing under my belt and also a year with this team. They prepare the best bikes in the paddock and are a really good team to race for. The North West 200 will be a tough one with Simon still dearly missed but I am looking forward to seeing all the guys and to improve on my 2014 times. Having the chance to have Michael Rutter as a teammate is mega. He is a living legend when it comes to the roads and even in circuit racing. I feel really fortunate to be part of the team. I have a busy season ahead with both road racing, circuit racing, and some World Endurance, I’m counting the days to the first race.”
Good luck to Dan and the Penz13.com team for the upcoming ‘Festival of Speed’ at the North West 200.
Photographs: ©2014-2015 by Darren Marlowe | Octane Photography – All Rights Reserved