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Wednesday
Dec112013

2013 Macau Grand Prix race report on #47 Brandon Cretu



For a few lucky riders from around the world, November is something to look forward to every year, a month where one of the oldest and most prestigious road races in the world takes place...the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix.  For those unfamiliar with the event, the Macau GP is a true test of a riders mental and physical strength, challenged only by the Isle of Man TT in terms of what it takes to compete.  The 3.7 mile course snakes through the streets of Macau, China, considered by the world to be the Las Vegas of Asia.  The course is lined entirely with steel armco barriers in their recognizable yellow and black color scheme.  Behind the barriers are hotels and casinos lining the course, it is one of the most unique places to race a car or a bike in the world.  It has become an infamous circuit in which there is no room for error, no run-off for making mistakes, and there is no availability for a lapse in concentration.  It is also one of the few races that combine the top car racers in the world, running races in conjunction with the best bike racers in the world.  You feel like a gladiator entering the arena when you go onto the streets of Macau.   There is absolutely nothing like it...

2013 marked my third journey to Macau and my second appearance as a competitor there.  The people involved in the event; organizers, teams and competitors alike, have become like a second family to me and I look forward to going back every year.  This year at Macau was already looking extremely positive and I had high hopes for what could come out of it.  I had worked hard from the time the TT ended to put together a solid effort for Macau, I wanted to show up with a professional and fully capable team, we did that and then some!  I was lucky enough to have long time supporter, sponsor, and friend, HEL Performance, come back onboard along with MOTUL to back my effort.  With this backing I was able to bring AMA Superbike team, RS Racecraft, along for the journey with their unique EBR1190RS superbikes.  The EBR1190RS is Erik Buell's own creation after he created EBR and was able to have full reign to build the one and only, proper American sportbike.  I was so excited to ride this bike at Macau, it is a loud and nasty beast of a bike.  No rider aids like traction control or anti-wheelie.  It is a riders bike, ride hard and ride fast, the only traction control is your throttle hand.  Luckily we had the full support of Dunlop USA to ensure we had the best tires available to put all that horsepower and torque to the ground and have us running at peak performance.   Once people found out that the EBR would make it's debut at Macau everyone got excited, all American team, f*ck yeah!  The owner of the British based team, Splitlath Redmond, contacted me and decided they wanted to get involved in the effort and get a second EBR1190RS on the grid with fellow American rider, Mark Miller.  The owner of the team and Mark Miller are both good long term friends of mine who I had always wanted to work with so it was happening, my dream team was coming together.  Two American superbikes, two American riders, all American crew, now that's a story!

We arrived in Macau about a week early to do some media events with the organizers, this year marked the 60th anniversary of the Macau GP so it was an especially big celebration.  While in Macau waiting for our chance to get out on track we trekked over to Hong Kong to do some PR work for Brammo's Hong Kong distributor where I also got to ride my first electric motorcycle.  Going away from riding a fire-breathing EBR1190RS, the electric bike was completely silent but it was the surprise of a riding career in the way it delivered power and the way it handled.  I was completely taken aback and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  The whole thing worked out quite well considering I was also working with Icon Motorsports for the first time at Macau which also has heavy involvement with Brammo's racing projects.  Racing an electric bike in the future....stranger things have happened!

First practice would come around early Thursday morning on November 14.  The bikes are let out on track at 7:30AM, a bit early for my liking but I was just pumped to get back on a bike and back on the infamous and challenging Guia circuit.  I was surprised and thrilled that the circuit came back to me fairly easily.  Every turn at Macau is completely blind, you can't see your exit and you just have to trust in your course knowledge and riding ability.  I was able to pick right back up where I left off last year and by the end of practice I was nearly back to my best lap time from 2012.  Words can't even express what it feels like to race a bike at Macau, you are just surrounded by yellow and black steel armco.  The barriers and walls control where you do and do not go, you ride it with respect but it gives you a definite adrenaline rush when you take it all in.  At no other point in my life am I that centered and focused on the task at hand, mediocrity is unacceptable.

After one free practice session teams and riders would get two timed qualifying sessions.  My first qualifying session went well but I was still about a second outside of qualifying time for the race which is 110% of the fastest riders lap time.  We were working hard to get the bike dialed in during the first practice and qualifying as we struggled with the unique handling characteristics of the bike and since we had absolutely no data to work off of from previous years at Macau we were just making improvements with the knowledge we had available.  The team was 100% competent and we were confident we were working in the right direction in terms of bike setup.  Second qualifying came around, I went out to do a few laps and then popped back into the pit lane for the team to quickly put on a new Dunlop rear tire.  This was a brand new rear that Dunlop USA had developed from their AMA Superbike and National Endurance development.  Needless to say from the word "go" I was thoroughly impressed.  Within 3 laps I had put in a personal best lap time and gotten within the qualifying cut-off.  Unfortunately that is when the only hiccup we had during the whole event happened.  Coming out of Fishermen's Bend, I shifted up to 4th gear and heard a loud pop and suddenly had a loss of power, sh*t.  I quickly shut the bike off and coasted into pit lane...the motor had blown.  I watched the rest of qualifying from our garage as Ian Hutchinson and Michael Rutter continued to battle back and forth for pole position.  Qualifying ended and even with only getting 3 solid laps, I had made the big show.  I would be entering the proverbial arena to do battle with 31 of the best real road racers in the world.

The team worked feverishly to get the new engine in the bike on Friday afternoon, within three hours they had the bike looking back to showroom condition and purring like a kitten...errr more like a lion!  We mounted up a new set of US made Dunlop's and I was ready for race time.  This was the first time in a long time I had gridded up for a race and been completely focused, completely centered, completely content with how the whole endeavor was shaping up.  I was having fun, I was pumped to ride.  Words can't express how good that feels.  We had an awesome team and great sponsors behind us, let's put it all out there!

Race time came, the EBR1190RS is a monster off the start.  I passed a few bikes by the first bend and tucked in behind the pack heading through the fast 5th gear right hander, "Mandarin", before heading down the main straight, clocking in upwards of 170mph.  As I came into the first turn I saw what looked to be a pile up of bikes occuring...apparently another riders ambition got the best of him and he came into Lisboa a bit hot, taking out another rider and subsequently causing quite the disarray of bikes as riders avoided each other and tried to get back into a formation to continue the race.  Luckily no one was injured and no red flags were thrown so the race continued, business as usual.  I put my head down and continued to click off consistent lap times but was in my own race for about 4-5 laps, just chugging away, until a faster rider came by me, at that point it was game on.  By the sixth lap we had a group of about 4 riders battling for a top 20 finish and it was a back and forth dog fight through the armco lined streets of Macau.  I had quite a few shoulder scraping incidents as I pushed harder and harder, which also landed me a personal best lap time of a 2:37.4!  Something about racing with a group of great guys you've known and trusted for years around a course like Macau just gives me a different level of excitement and accomplishment.  It was really some of the best racing I had ever had the privilege to be involved in.  On the 13th lap a fellow competitor crashed in the esses on the mountain section of the course which brought out a red flag as his bike was in the middle of the track.  Since the race was more than halfway complete, they called it a finish.  I was in 20th when it occurred which meant I had just landed my first top 20 at the Macau Grand Prix!  Stoked doesn't begin to describe my feelings after the race.  My goal going into the event was to have fun, get a top 20, and run a personal best lap time...I would say we accomplished that and then some!

The 2013 Macau Grand Prix was truly my favorite and best racing endeavor of my career in retrospect.  We had an amazing team, all a great collaboration of minds and talents that pulled it all together to show the world some awesome new bikes, the EBR1190RS.  Our sponsors were all with us 100% and we couldn't ask for a better group of organizations to be involved with and these words don't even express how honored we are to represent them at an event like Macau.  Time will tell what the future brings but things are already in the works for 2014 and I can't wait to make some announcements in the near future!  Thank you everyone and stay tuned...


Monday
Oct212013

Cafe Racer XXX to support Brandon Cretu in Macau GP

For Immediate Release:


American Cretu Adds New Sponsor For Macau Grand Prix

Four-time Isle of Man TT competitor, Brandon Cretu, is proud to announce the signing of ICON for his second appearance at the prestigious, invitation only Macau Grand Prix in China.  Cretu will be wearing the ICON Airframe Carbon helmet along with ICON's Overlord glove to ensure he has head to toe protection around the infamous, armco-lined, Guia circuit.  Cretu will be teamed up with fellow American Mark Miller aboard Splitlath Redmond Racing backed EBR1190RS American superbikes sponsored by Motul and HEL Performance.

 
ICON's Joe Gustafson said, "We at ICON always set out to find individuals and riders that both push themselves to the limit, and are passionate about life on two wheels. Brandon Cretu fits these requirements with ease.  Not only has he shown to be a proven competitor on the road racing circuit, but more importantly he is one of the most hard-working and passionate riders we have had the opportunity to work with.ICON is proud to announce our partnership with Brandon for the 2013 Macau GP, and are looking forward to bringing our product in front of an all-new demographic set of riders.  Road racing's challenges continue to inspire motorcyclists the world over, and as a street-based brand we believe this corner of motorcycle is fast becoming the final frontier of engaging, exciting, and innovative motorsport competition."


Cretu also has the pleasure of announcing CafeRacerXXX.com, a motorcycle lifestyle blog which also happens to be sponsored by ICON.  

"CafeRacerXXX is honored to support Brandon Cretu at the Macau Grand Prix this year. Not only is he a solid individual, he is a cafe racer at heart and throttles all out through some of the most demanding circuits in the world" said CafeRacerXXX's Sasha Valentine.


CafeRacerXXX's Kevin Dunworth also said, "Being able to sponsor an American rider, Brandon Cretu, on an American superbike, the EBR1190RS, in a European dominated sport is a true honor for me. I think bringing our CafeRacerXXX fan base to this form of racing and bringing this form of racing to our fan base is our most important job. I'm super excited about the future of this combination."


The 2013 Macau Grand Prix 60th Anniversary begins festivities on November 9 and the Motorcycle Grand Prix commences on November 16. Interested sponsors can still contact Brandon for opportunities regarding the event via email, bcretu@aol.com. Follow Brandon leading up to and during the Macau Grand Prix on his website, www.brandoncreturacing.com, and his Twitter account, www.twitter.com/brandoncretu.

2013 Personal Sponsors:
Motul
HEL Performance
Dunlop USAICONSplitlath Redmond Racing
Colin Edward's Texas Tornado Boot Camp
SportbikeTrackgear.comJason Pridmore's STAR School
Cafe Racer XXX
Drippinwet.com
Motion Pro
Zero Gravity
Moto-Heaven.com
MotoPod
GPR Stabilizers
GB Racing
EBC Brakes
Moto-D Tire Warmers
Fast Frank Racing
Leo Vince SBK
Spyder Leatherworks
NESBA
WERA
Action Motorsports York, PA

Monday
Aug052013

AMA SuperSport- Interview with Hayden Gillim #69

Tell us about your racing roots.

I began racing at 6 years old on an xr 50 flat tracking. I grew up flat tracking and when I was 10 starting road racing on a metrakit 72cc. For the past 8 years  I have dedicated my life to road racing and have slowly moved up the through the ranks. My family has been racing for years and I am glad to be a part of it.

Tell us more about 'who' you are.

I was raised in a small town in Kentucky (Owensboro). I am always trying to have fun no matter what! I am just trying to live my dream as a professional racer! When I'm home I like to go muddin' on four wheelers and like to just chill with friends. I'm big into sports and play basketball almost every day at my house with my family.

When did you start racing?

When I was 16 I got my pro license and started racing supersport! The past 3 years I have been racing in the series and have done better and better every year!


What do you think about while racing?

When I'm racing I am usually focused on what I'm gonna do next on track. When I'm behind someone I'll think of ways to pass by finding out where I'm faster and where I'm slower. I try not to think too much when I'm racing because sometimes it's a bad thing.


What bike do you ride on and off the track?

I race a Yamaha YZF R6 and when I'm away from the track I drive a Ford F-150, but I've always wanted to get some sort of old school ride and be the baddest dude on two wheels!


List some notable accomplishments to date.

In 2006 I won the AMA Youth Dirt Tracker of the Year Award. In 2008 I got second place in the AMA US RedBull Rookies Cup. In 2010 I won the AMA Horizon award for road racing. I've finished second place in 2011 and 2012 in the AMA Pro SuperSport series and look to finally get the championship under my belt this year!

How do you get prepped mentally and physically to race?

Mentally before the race I try to stay calm and focused on the task at hand and remember that I can be the best when I'm focused. Physically I try to prepare my body and stay in shape to be able to go the entire race without tiring out.


Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

In the future I hope to go over seas and win championships on the world stage. That will always be my dream and I am constantly working to get there! Thanks to Cafe Racer XXX for supporting me for the rest of the 2013 season!

 

Sunday
Aug042013

AMA Road Racing- Round 6 at Miller Motorsports Park

 

PHOTOS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BREE POLAND


Live streaming video by Ustream

 

LINK TO AMA PRO LIVE SITE

Saturday
Aug032013

AMA Pro Flat Track- Round 6 at Castle Rock, WA