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Mar 24, 2015

Canadian Dan Kruger Finishes On The Pan Delta Superbike Podium In China

Dan Kruger (71) in action at Zhuhai International Circuit. Photo by Darren Marlowe, courtesy of Dan Kruger Racing.

KRUGER RE-INJURES WRIST IN PRACTICE CRASH YET STILL MANAGES PODIUM IN OPENING ROUND CHINA PAN DELTA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP

Zhuhai, China

Riding a brand new Kawasaki ZX-10R, Dan Kruger salvaged the weekend with a 4th and a 3rd in the opening two rounds of the China Pan Delta Superbike Championship leaving him tied for 3rd overall in points. Kruger had a practice crash in official practice 1 after putting in the 3rd fastest time in that session and re-injured his right wrist from last year’s Suzuka 8 Hour race. “I was preparing a new set of brake pads for the race on my “B” bike and the brakes unexpectantly grabbed heading into the fast T1. I tucked the front end and had a low side. I immediately knew I had injured my wrist again. We went off to the hospital for confirmation and some pain medicine.”

Here is where things turned weird… Since Kruger missed official practice 2 (At hospital) the rules say he should have automatically been put in the 2nd qualifier with the bottom 22 riders. Apparently, official practice 1 is not actually official and doesn’t count for anything. They only consider practice 2 lap times. The team went out in Qualifier 1 assuming this was the correct session and was even waved out onto the circuit by officials. Dan managed to provisionally qualify in 3rd and looked to be starting on the front row. However, when the final grid sheet was posted, it had Dan back in row 15 in 44th and last position with no time recorded “officially” in qualifying.

Race 1: Dan got a great start and had moved up into the top 10 within half a lap. The next 10 laps would be a struggle picking off one by one and also managing his wrist injury at the same time. He had managed to climb up to an amazing 4th place by the checkered flag and banked some valuable points towards the Championship.

Race 2: Starting from 4th position on the 2nd row, Kruger struggled off the line and fell back to 5th into turn 1. He stayed with the lead group and by lap 2 had moved into 4th. There was a red flag after a massive incident that saw 2 bikes and a rider on the racing line of the circuit. The restart saw Dan tuck in behind his long-time rival and the next 8 laps would be an epic battle and wheel to wheel racing. With 4 laps to go, Kruger went for the pass heading into the very fast turn 14 and made it stick. All 30,000 spectators were on their feet, they were watching 2 separate battles in the same race. One for the win and one for the final spot on the podium. In the end, Kruger grabbed the final podium spot which was a little unexpected due to his wrist injury. “Not really sure what to make of the weekend. I felt great to get a podium but at the same time, it wasn’t much fun giving up Championship points to the others and never really being in the fight for the win. I also need to heal up fast as the Northwest 200 is coming up soon and you need to be fit for that Road race. With top speeds in excess of 200MPH and the crazy BMW power, those bumpy roads require as much strength in your hands and upper body as possible.”

The Pan Delta was a sold out event and with 44 bikes on the grid, it was one of the best races of the weekend according to most. Kruger and his entire team dedicated the weekend to the late Jimbo Dawson who was a huge part of the team and the paddock in general. At 42 years old, he was taken too soon and the races will never be the same in China without him. He will be deeply missed but never forgotten. RIP Jimbo.

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