British rider Glenn Irwin, winner of last year’s Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, has said that he won’t return to race at the Macau Grand Prix over safety concerns, after last year’s fatal accident which claimed the life of fellow Briton Daniel Hegarty, according to a BBC Sport report on Wednesday.
Last November, 31-year-old Hegarty lost his life in a crash on the Guia Circuit. Hegarty, who was taking part in his second Motorcycle Grand Prix in Macau, crashed into the barrier at Fishermen’s Bend during his sixth lap of the 6.2-km Guia Circuit.
The race was stopped after the accident with the British rider dying of his injuries. The race organisers decided not to restart the race and declared Irwin, who was in pole position, the winner. There were no celebrations on the podium after the trophies were awarded.
According to the BBC report, Irwin, who won on his second visit to the Guia Circuit, said: “Last year’s incident is very, very fresh in my memory and I won’t be returning to race there, certainly not…I may go back if I could be involved in some way to maybe improve safety.”
A press conference about this year’s Grand Prix was held by its organisers at Macau Tower Thursday.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Pun Weng Kun, president of the Sports Bureau (ID) and coordinator of the Macau Grand Prix Organising Committee, was asked by The Macau Post Daily whether the committee had received any notification from Irwin about his not returning this year.
Pun said, “[For] the 65th Macau Grand Prix, many good racers are willing to come to Macau and some are even returning after racing here many times…no matter whether it is superbikes, Formula 3, and touring cars [racers]…they love the Macau circuit …of course, there are some racers who have their own concerns…and decide to race somewhere else [in November],” adding that the official registration for racers has not started yet.
Pun reaffirmed that the head of the International Motorcycling Federation Asia (FIM Asia) inspected the city’s Guia Circuit early this year, and gave a “very positive feedback”, describing it as a “very good street circuit”.
Some motorcyclists who have competed in the Macau Grand Prix many times told The Macau Post Daily on the sidelines of last year’s races that the Guia Circuit appeared to have got bumpier over the last few years.
Asked by The Macau Post Daily whether he had received any formal complaints about the circuit’s condition from bikers, Pun said that for every year’s Grand Prix, the Macau Grand Prix Organising Committee prepares every part of the race according to FIA standards, whether it’s the track’s or the pit’s condition, adding that “safety is our big concern”.
Pun said that he and his committee were not worried about racers possibly not returning as many found the local street circuit challenging, admitting, however, that some racers “have other plans”.
According to the press conference, the committee will hold “The 65th Macau Grand Prix Celebration Guia Circuit Fun Run” on November 11, a fun run for about 2,000 local residents who would like to “get a feel” of the local circuit.