Road Racing: David ‘Datzi’ Datzer and his successful season.
Munich. The 2021 season saw BMW racer David ‘Datzi’ Datzer celebrate his first podium finish and then his first victory in the International Road Racing Championship. The 30-year-old Bavarian from team MTP-Racing really got going this year to record his best season thus far in the IRRC. He chalked up one win and seven podiums to stay in the battle for the title right to the end. Datzer finished in second place at the Frohburg finale, just behind his Belgian rival Vincent Lonbois, completing the season as the best BMW rider in second place overall.
© Milan Kubin
As well as competing in the IRRC, Datzer made his second appearance at the Isle of Man TT this year - his favourite event by some distance. In this interview, the BMW racer from Vilsbiburg chats about his season, the battle for the title in the IRRC, why the Isle of Man holds such appeal and more.
An interview with David Datzer.
© Milan Kubin
David, congratulations on your best season yet in the IRRC. You were battling for the title right to the end - and the finale at Frohburg was another thrilling event. What was the experience like for you?
David Datzer: “It was definitely very exciting. We were at the top of the table with a lead of three points ahead of the finale. The first race really was lovely. We had tough but fair fights and a lot of fun. I finished the race in second place, as I didn't quite take the same level of risk that Vincent Lonbois did. There were a few drops of rain and it was quite wet by the end. So, I said to myself that before I break the motorbike, I should get it to the finish line safely and see how the second race goes. My BMW brand team-mate Didier Grams went past me into second place on the final corner, he was just faster at that point and was able to take the risk, but he let me by again, rather than taking the points away from me. That was very fair and shows how we work together. I helped him out with some parts at the start of the season, so we’re quits now (smiles).
That meant that I was two points behind Vincent in the second and final race, as he had regained the lead in the championship. It was wet everywhere in that second race. I competed in the Open race before that, finished second and felt great in the rain. My pace was superb and I posted the fastest race lap. That’s when I said: it’s ideal for the IRRC, just how I need it, great weather conditions for me. But sadly, it wasn't to be. I came off due to a highsider right in turn one. I still don't know why. I probably hit a tiny stream of water that made me slide out, as I was the first one to ride over it. But anyway, shit happens, I got up and carried on and made it to 13th place. However, those points just weren’t enough for me to catch Vincent in the battle for the title.”
It was just staggering, and so cool.“
© Milan Kubin
Which feeling came out on top - were you disappointed that it didn’t quite work out with the title, or pleased with that great second place overall?
Datzer: “Of course, the immediate reaction after crossing the line was an outpouring of emotion, and I certainly did have tears in my eyes. But, looking back, I have to say that it was simply a fantastic season. We delivered a good level of performance all season long. I am sure we had a bit of bad luck here and there, with technical problems and falls that weren't my fault, that didn't have to happen. But when you head into the final race weekend with a three-point lead in the championship and then you're fighting for the title, just two points behind someone so strong in the final race - then I have to say, it was just staggering, and so cool.”
Last year, you claimed your first podium and your first win in the IRRC. You chalked up one win and seven podiums in nine races this year. What made you so competitive?
Datzer: “I kept fit by training a lot over the winter and now I feel really good on my motorbike. That makes a big difference, of course. The combination of motorcycle, rider and fitness. And my opponents give me strength. Racing against someone like Vincent Lonbois is a different story entirely. You have to grow into it and I think that I simply found a good compromise between all these aspects. I had very, very good and secure pace. And of course, the success at the Isle of Man TT gave me additional momentum.”
© Milan Kubin
You competed at the Isle of Man TT for the second time this year. You’ve already told us that it's your favourite event. Why does the IoM TT hold such appeal?
Datzer: “It’s just the circuit and the people who ride there. It is the most dangerous circuit in the world. When I raced there for the first time in 2019, I didn't feel quite at home. I was still very cautious. But now, with a strong team in the background, the right equipment and financial resources, I was able to ride more freely. And I was on a motorbike that I have got to know so well over the last year and a half. I really arrived. I felt more secure with each lap, and at some point the routine was the same as when you're out on the racetrack. You get into the flow and I got faster, bit by bit. That flicked a switch in my heart, so that I said to myself that I wanted to go back there, as it was just so much fun. When it’s safe, it's not so different to being on the racetrack or competing in the IRRC.”
You get into the flow and I got faster, bit by bit.“
© Milan Kubin
P20 in the Superstock race and P19 in the Senior TT – how satisfied are you with your performance at the IoM TT?
Datzer: “More than satisfied. In fact, my expectation ahead of the event was just to qualify. Only 50 out of 73 riders can actually qualify for the race. I finished 18th overall in the first practice session and I said to myself: wow, no-one’s asking whether I’ll qualify now. That was how the whole practice week went. It all went so well in the races, even though we had a few minor technical issues. Otherwise, we could have done better than 18th place, but we concentrated on managing it and getting home. Due to a technical defect, I was unfortunately unable to finish the Superbike race.”
© Milan Kubin
On the Isle of Man at the IRRC Frohburg finale, you sported leathers in Bavarian colours. As an international racing rider, how important is your connection to your Bavarian homeland?
Datzer: “That attachment goes very deep. There are not so many Germans, or Bavarians, who ride at the Isle of Man, or do anything quite that crazy in general. It makes me really proud to be able to wear my colours. That was a little goodie from my leathers’ manufacturer. He had the idea for me ride with leathers in Bavarian colours at my first Senior TT. That got noticed and there were pictures in all the media. And people are still delighted to see me wearing them.”
To finish off, let's look ahead. What are your plans and objectives for 2023?
Datzer: “Our plan would be to compete in the Northwest 200 next year, and I certainly want to be at the IoM TT. That should be a definite. And, of course, the IRRC is another option for next year, but I will also be taking a peek at other paddocks.”