20 February 2014
Dan Hegarty out to prove TT credentials in 2014
'Things haven't worked out for me with Norton this year but the bike has a great chassis and if they can get more power out of it then I think it's capable of running high 120mph laps' - Dan Hegarty
Nottingham's Dan Hegarty is relishing the opportunity to return to the Isle of Man TT races in 2014 as he bids to show his true potential on the legendary Mountain Course.
The 26-year-old joined Ian Mackman at Norton last year as the pair continued to develop the SG2 racer. He was ruled out of the Superbike TT with a brake problem before finishing 36th in the blue riband Senior event, setting the fastest lap for the team at 122mph.
This year, Hegarty – who is returning to the TT four the fourth time – has a new Kawasaki ZX-10R Superbike and a ZX-6R Supersport machine at his disposal.
The former National Superstock 1000 challenger was the fastest newcomer in the Superbike race at the TT in 2011, lapping the 37.73-mile course at 118mph.
Hegarty hopes to branch out on the roads this season and is targeting his debut at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix in Northern Ireland, dependant on his racing budget.
“I've got backers for my new Kawasaki Superbike, which is a bike Michael Rutter was planning on riding at the TT in 2012 I think, although he never actually rode it in anger I don't believe,” Hegarty told Crash.Net.
“It's going to be a good TT bike and I have two sponsors on board in Woodcock Joinery and Classic Joinery who have purchased the bike for me, plus I've got a brand new Kawasaki ZX-6R as well so things are starting to come together.
“Now I'm just on the lookout for some help with running costs and if I was able to get something together then I could probably look at doing the North West and possibly the Ulster Grand Prix as well as the TT.
“I'm quite fond of the roads because there's a lot of respect among the riders and I like the way the events happen. I did circuit racing for a long time but it just seems like you get looked after better when you're doing the roads,” he added.
“The racing is serious when it needs to be, but it's also great craic when it needs to be as well.”
Hegarty believes he has yet to show his true pace at the TT but is confident he can take a big step forward in June with more competitive machinery beneath him.
“I really enjoy riding the 600 at the TT and I think I rode the bike really well last year, although the lap times didn't really come and I was just under 120mph,” he said.
“I know I can go a lot faster, it's just that our bike last year was 10mph down through the speed trap on the likes of Michael Dunlop.
“It's a huge disadvantage and you can't make that up, but we've a new bike this year and it will be more competitive. The engines will be prepared by RLR Motorsport and we've got technical input from SPR Racing.”
Hegarty rode the Norton SG2 at the TT last year and although the bike was in the early stages of development, he believes it has the potential to lap in the high 120mph bracket if the team can squeeze more power from the bike.
“The Norton project was a great experience but things just didn't turn out according to plan. I would never say anything bad about Norton because it was a great opportunity for me, but the bike was still in the early stages of development,” he said.
“I still ended up being the fastest rider for Norton, even if Ian Mackman got the better results. I got our fastest lap over the fortnight in the Senior race when we got the bike going in the end.
“Things haven't worked out for me with Norton this year but the bike has a great chassis and if they can get more power out of it then I think it's capable of running high 120mph laps,” Hegarty added.
“My total focus this year is on the TT and we don't have the budget to do any British championship racing really.”
If you would like to be associated with Dan this year, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his business, RTR Motorcycles. Tel: 01949 837140 or 07403344021.
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