With weather conditions less than ideal, the Penze13 Team Manager advised all 4 of the riders they would be sitting out of the Newcomer practice session due to bad weather. FP1 was no better and they finally got out on the former Grand Prix Circuit for FP2. Dan went out on rain tires but after 4 laps had to call it a session due to the long front straightaway being dry and having no way to keep the tires from overheating. It was enough to learn the circuit layout but put Dan on his back foot for qualifying.
Qualifying was dry and Dan could only manage 25th out of the close to 40 entries. Starting on the 9th row for both races would prove to be crucial to get good starts. The team was working on setup and simply ran out of time as it was a short qualifying session.
In Race One Dan got a great start and was up to 11th heading into the first Chicane. Unfortunately, he was hit from behind and although he remained on his bike, several riders behind him crashed and covered the track with debris and the race was red-flagged due to necessary medical attention needed for several of the riders.
The re-start saw Dan get another good start but he then struggled with several things including front suspension, brake fade and a visor fogging issue. He ended up salvaging a 16th.
For Race Two, the team put in lighter fork springs and adjusted the electronic suspension. Different brake rotors and a smaller rear sprocket and Dan changed to a rain visor as the weather was constantly drizzling with heavier rain at times. All 4 riders went out on dry slicks even though the race was declared a Wet Race. Dan got another great start and was running in 14th. Teammate Martin Jessop retired with a quick shifter issue on lap 4 and a lap later teammate Jamie Coward was taken out by a back-marker as his bike lay in the middle of the racing line. IRRC Series front runner Didier Grams also crashed heavily ending his race early on. The last 3 laps saw the rain intensify but Kruger managed to bring it home for a respectable 11th place while Teammate Danny Webb took the win to extend his lead in the IRRC Championship.
The Penz13 Team heads to the Chimay Round in Belgium and then over to Horace in the Czech Republic for the next 2 rounds of the IRRC before the big season Finale for their home race in Frohburg, Germany in late September. Kruger has been offered a Wildcard Entry for that event and will decide within the next 2 weeks if he will participate. He last raced there in 2015 and finished with a pair of 6th places. He would need to fly directly from the China Superbike Championship round to make it in-time for FP1 in Germany.
The IMATRA Event this past weekend brought many of the top International Road racers that also race the Isle of Man TT, Macau GP, and the British Superbike Championship. There were 38 Entries in the Superbike Class from 13 Different Countries. Kruger being the only entry from North America. Although the weather wasn’t great, 40,000 spectators lined the streets and grandstands. The event was well-organized and the Penz13 BMW Motorrad Team had an impressive hospitality tent, celebrated Team Principal Rico Penzkofer’s birthday and saw Former World Championship Moto3 Rider and teammate Danny Webb take a commanding lead in the IRRC Series. To find out more on the event, photos and all the results, check out www.facebook.com/dankrugerracingteam or www.irrc.eu/ and https://www.imatranajo.fi/