Interview with Brandon Cretu. “I’m over with the TT. As for Macau…”

He was the youngest american rider to have aver competed in the Tourist Trophy and one of the few to have ever done it. Brandon Cretu, though, announces now his retirement from the Isle of Man TT. 

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Brandon Cretu, Bimota, 2015 IOMTT (ph: Denis Pian)

Yes, because the 33 years old from Felton (Pennsylvania) has decided to withdraw just from the main International Road Race, for some reasons that Brandon explains us with his words and heart.

Cretu made his pure road racing debut at the 2009 Ulster GP, then he was newcomer at the TT the following year.

After the first years with Wylie Racing, the american moved to HEL Performance Honda and then to Splitlath, for which he rode the exotic Buell at the 2013 Macau Gp and the following Isle of Man TT. In 2015 Brandon was back with his old mate Ben Wylie riding the Bimota BB3 for Amore Moto (Bimota UK) Team.

But this is all over for Brandon and the TT loses the second USA rider in few months.

 

Brandon, you have just announced your retirement from the biggest International Road Race, the Isle of Man TT, even if you sent your entry for this year. Why did you take this important decision?

My 2016 season was filled with a lot of really great things and a lot of things in the background that really challenged me as a rider and person in general. By the end of the season I was pretty exhausted mentally and physically. I guess it caused me to lose some of my passion for what I had focused on for so long (the TT) and it was time to pursue a new challenges in the sport. If you aren’t 100% committed to the TT, then you shouldn’t do it…and if you aren’t enjoying it anymore, then you shouldn’t do it. So for me it was a little bit of both of those elements that led me to my decision. There are always new challenges to take on in life and I’m excited for each of them.
Is this a decision related just to the TT? What about other road races like Macau GP and the North West 200?

The decision was most closely related to the TT as that has been where my passion has always been for the past seven years. However, I decided last year that I was also done with the Irish road races as well, I just didn’t make any kind of announcement about it as I hadn’t been involved in those as much, even though they are fantastic events as well.  

To be honest, I would still like at least one more go at Macau (or a few if they’ll have me!) as I absolutely love the track and it is a very close knit group of people that are involved in the event (competitors and organizers)…I’d be sad to leave entirely.  I have also considered competing at Imatra, as the World Supersport team (Kallio Racing) I am involved with this year in a rider management role, is based right there so it would be cool to do with them.  We’ll see though!
Imatra is a great historical race, I really hope you can ride there.

After 2016 TT other riders like Mark Miller and Steve Heneghan suddenly announced their retirement from the event. Did anything that happened during 2016 TT influence your decisions, in your opinion?

The passing of Paul Shoesmith had a slight influence on it but it definitely wasn’t the cause of it by any stretch.  I know if Paul heard me say that now he would call me a wanker and tell me to get on with it though! Regardless, the root cause is that my heart just isn’t in it anymore and the risk versus reward isn’t there for me to continue on with it.
Are other racing plans already on the cards for you?

IMG_5111I’ll be racing in the Endurance World Championship this year for Team Rabid Transit which is a satellite team supported by YART.  

It is a great opportunity for me to race in an amazing series and also learn the ins and outs of managing a team from people as experienced and successful as YART.  Beyond that I don’t have a ton of plans other than trying to hit up some local club races in America, possibly doing Imatra, and a hopeful return to Macau.

 
You were the only USA competitor on the Isle of Man alongside with Mark Miller in these recent years. How do you see the relationship between TT Races and USA in the forthcoming future? Do you know if there is any young gun wanting to compete there?

This is good question.  I really hoped there would be another American(s) ready to take over mine and Mark’s spots there.  The USA is obviously a big target market for the TT where Mark and I had a fairly large following.  I don’t see the relationship really changing other than the fact that it may be while before they have an American back on the grid in any of the big bike classes.  I have heard there is an American competing in the Lightweight/Supertwin class this year at the TT though so maybe he will be able to do us proud!  I think the next American to get over there in the next year or so and do well will be JD Mosley.  He is racing at the Northwest 200 and Post-TT races this year and is a Pikes Peak winner so I think he has what it takes to do well there.  I would love to support and help an American racer there if I can!

 

In 2016 your Macau GP entry was not accepted, even if you competed in the Guia event many times. Can you explain what happened?

There are only so many spots on the grid and lots of top quality riders that want to race the event.  The organizers reduced the grid size from 32 to 28 riders and I didn’t make the cut in that instance.  My 2015 results were a big influence in that as I really struggled that year  and was quite a few seconds off my 2014 pace.  I know I can improve there and earn my spot on the grid…I also feel I bring much more to the event than just a rider filling the grid.  I am working with another established rider and team there this year and hope our proposed package allows me that chance!
Which is your favourite memory of your IOM TT career?

I want to say it was the first time I set off down Glencrutchery Road, but that would be a lie as I was scared shitless! My favorite memory is definitely my first 120+ mph lap in 2015.  I had been hitting 119mph lap after lap and seemed to have hit a plateau…even getting one 119.99mph lap!  I set off for a single lap of practice the Wednesday night before the Senior tucked in behind my Bimota teammate, and close friend, Ben Wylie.  Everything on that lap just clicked for me and it was awesome…it’s those laps and those moments I’ll miss the most about riding around the TT Mountain Course.  That lap was from a standing start, it was short lapped, I got held up in three spots, and I hit 121.7mph!  I guess I’ll always wonder what I could’ve done on that lap…I think my ideal lap would’ve been around 123mph but now we’ll never know!  I’m happy with what I’ve done and accomplished though.

 

Thank you very much Brandon and all the best!

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