For those of us that do not like going "out there"
Dan Ortega is lucky to have good friends. After spending much of his time riding wheelies and racing on the street, a friend of his almost forced him to go to a track day. Dan was instantly hooked (as he knew he would be) and thus began a new era for him. Looking at his rather impressive list of sponsors, we're betting he won't let a one-year membership to Sponsorhouse.com go to waste. Congrats on being this week's Sponsorhouse.com Privateer of the Week!
How long have you been racing?
I started racing towards the end of 2002 on my 2000 Yamaha R6 streetbike with the lights taped up.
How did you get started in racing?
Iíve always been a "street squid", always trying to ride way too fast on the street. I was always getting into too much trouble on the street whether I was doing mile long wheelies or trying to drag my footpegs on the back roads. I think I must of paid for my lawyerís vacations many times over. I always kind of put off doing a bunch of track days at first because I knew that Iíd love it and be hookedóI couldnít afford [track days] then and I really canít afford it now. [Laughs]
But all of that led into me racing. My buddy called me one day in 2002 and told me I had to take this Saturday off and I owed him 150 bucks. Well Iím the parts manager at a Yamaha/Kawasaki dealer and itís hard to take Saturdays off. I was like why? He told me that he signed me up for learning curves and that was itóI was all in. When I went to the school, my buddy and I were going faster in our learning curves school then the guys winning amateur races that weekend!! I was on my stock streetbike with only a slip on and a jet kit done. Iíve been racing ever since.
Why do you race?
I love it! Itís the most fun Iíve ever had and Iím always learning something. Iím always trying to get faster, so as long as I keep improving Iíll keep doing it.
Which racing schools have you attended?
I did Keith Codeís school in í97, Dave Rosnoís Vision Sports in í02, and Learning Curves in í02.
What is your favorite track?
Iíd have to say Road Atlanta. Itís a total trip, blind turns, up hills, down hills, fast "pucker moment" turns, and itís a horse power track!
Whatís your proudest moment in racing?
It was this year winning the CCS regional middleweight supersport championship. I blew off the first two rounds of the CCS schedule at Road America, I did the AMA round at Barber instead. I know itĎs only a regional championship but I really had to work at it to make up the points that I lost. This year the CCS Midwest region has some pretty good talent. The top 5 guys are all AMA guys. But I managed to have a 931.7 performance index and won most of the middleweight supersport races the rest of the year! I also set the All-Time Motorcycle Track Record at Autobahn North Course in Joliet, IL (1:03.754) in route to one of my wins in MWSS.
Your lowest moment?
Crashing 16 times in í05! I crashed out of leads 4 times that year in regional stuff. But we figured the problem and I stopped crashing so much towards the end of the year.
Whatís the best thing about racing?
Winning! Oh, also improving and getting better.
The worst thing?
It costs too much money!
What do you consider your strong point as a racer?
Iím a quick learner. I pick up new tracks pretty good.
Your weak point?
Qualifying, I need to learn how to qualify better.
Who is your strongest competitor?
I have lots of them but Andy Fuersthaler seems to be one of my biggest competitors. I broke his win streak when we were both amateurs and ever since then itís always on when him and I get on the race track! We both seem to wick it up a notch or two when weíre chasing each other.
Who is your biggest supporter?
My girlfriend Allison. Sheís awesome. Heck sheís even changed my tires for me before.
Do you have a favorite racer?
Iíd have to say Mick Doohan I always admired him when I first started to get into street bikes.
What are your future racing goals?
To get faster! I want to top 5 an AMA supersport or Fx race. Win as many regional/club races that I can this year.