IRRC winner David Datzer: “It was overwhelmingly emotional!”
Munich. Sunday, 15th August 2021, is a day that David Datzer is not going to forget in a hurry: one day earlier, he had secured his first podium in the International Road Racing Championship in Hořice (Czech Republic), and now the BMW racer from the MTP Racing team was celebrating his first win in the series. Hořice was where he had made his first guest appearance in road racing in 2015. The 29-year-old German rider has been a fixture in the IRRC starting field since 2016.
Datzer lives in Vilsbiburg in Bavaria. Work and racing are both family affairs for the Datzers. He works as a mechatronics engineer for his father’s company, and the Datzer family are also involved in road racing. He also features as a test rider for BMW Motorrad. In this interview, David Datzer describes his emotions on the rostrum in Hořice. He also chats about the fascination of road racing, the legendary Isle of Man, the BMW family and his other sporting dreams.
An interview with David Datzer.
Congratulations – it was a great weekend in Hořice. In race one, you overcame an open airbag to record your first podium in the IRRC, and then claimed your first win in race two. What does this success mean to you?
David Datzer: “This success really does mean a lot to me. Since 2015, I have been dreaming of reaching the podium in the IRRC. It was just crazy to grab the win as well – and it happened in the dream setting of Hořice, where I had made my very first guest appearance in road racing. Doing all this in front of those superb spectators and recording some personal bests: I’ve always dreamed of that and now we've done it.”
How did it feel to fulfil your dream and take your place on the top step of the podium?
Datzer: “Those were just amazing emotions. It had been a struggle as we weren’t racing at the same level for so long, and now we were so competitive with the BMW S 1000 RR. We were also physically fitter. Everything went through my mind at this moment. It was overwhelmingly emotional. Especially because 17 years ago, I had presented my first podium to my Mum on her birthday, 15th August – back then I was twelve years old and riding in the ADAC Mini-Bike Cup – and now, 17 years later, I have chalked up my first win in the IRRC on my Mum’s birthday.”
You mentioned the bike: BMW is extremely competitive in road racing. What are the strengths of the bike?
Datzer: “The engine performance and the handling, definitely. I feel that the bike is very, very nice to ride and the overall characteristics of the BMW are just amazing.”
What do you feel is so attractive about road racing?
Datzer: “We got involved in road racing because we wanted to prove ourselves on an international stage, but we didn’t have the money for circuit racing. It was simply too expensive. So, we decided to get a taste of road racing. I had always been really interested in it, especially on the Isle of Man. I then discovered the IRRC and we joined it. The great thing about the series is that the spectators are so close, instead of being hidden away behind locked paddock gates. We really liked the openness of the IRRC.”
The IRRC really does seem to enjoy a family atmosphere...
Datzer: “Yes, absolutely. It is one big family. Everyone assists one another and although it’s very competitive, which is totally normally on the track, in the paddock it’s all about helping out. It doesn't matter whether it’s in the IRRC or at the Isle of Man TT – everyone is so helpful, it’s one big community.”
What do you need as a rider to be successful in road racing?
Datzer: “We started off small, moving from the circuit to road racing, and we took years to check it out. We were improving all the time, step by step. I'd put it like this: you've just got to be up for it, take it slowly and use your brain. That is the key to success in road racing.”
What are your all-time favourite events in road racing?
Datzer: “My all-time favourite event up to now is the Isle of Man TT, where I competed for the first time in 2019. Back then, I was a newcomer on the 600s, and now we are an integral feature with the BMW in 2022. Hořice and Imatra are also right up there. Hořice because that’s where I started in road racing and because the people in the Czech Republic are just great. Imatra used to be a world championship track and it was brilliant to be the first ones competing out there after decades away. The Finnish mentality is also wonderful, it’s a lovely country and I really like the circuit.”
From a rider’s point of view, why is the Isle of Man TT such a legendary event?
Datzer: “That is always difficult to explain. Competing at the Isle of Man TT is a dream for any road racer. We were able to live this dream when the organisers invited us. It is almost impossible to describe why it is so legendary. It is simply the ultimate road racing event and you have to make use of absolutely everything you have learned. You just cannot describe how it feels for a rider to be able to race there, or when you cross the line. It is awesome and the most unbelievable event in road racing.”
Macau is another legendary race – would you like to race there?
Datzer: “Of course, Macau has been on my bucket list for a few years. We would have had the chance to race there last year, but the Coronavirus pandemic put paid to that. If everything goes well, we are planning to compete there next year.”
It is really great to be part of the BMW family.“
You have also been competing in the BMW Motorrad Race Trophy for some years. To what extent do you feel like you are part of the BMW family?
Datzer: “That is brilliant. I won a minor title in the Race Trophy in 2016, as best newcomer not to fall. It is really great to be part of the BMW family. There is always plenty of assistance available and the Race Trophy features the best of the best BMW riders. It is superb that I am able to be involved in it.”
Is there another dream that you would like to fulfil?
Datzer: “Actually, my dream already came true with my participation in the TT and the victory in the IRRC. Macau would be the next place on my list, and the other international road races like the Northwest 200 or the Ulster Grand Prix. Those would be the racing events I still dream of.”