John Burrows hopes Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix returns in 2022

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As was the case in 2020, a revamped three-day meeting will still go ahead from November 19-21, albeit exclusively for cars and restricted to drivers from Hong Kong, Macau and China due to tight controls in place related to the Covid-19 situation.

John Burrows hopes Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix returns in 2022
© Derek Sheils on the Burrows Engineering/RK Racing Suzuki during qualifying at the Macau Grand Prix i…

A prohibitive 21-day quarantine period – up from 14 days in 2020 – had initially been required for overseas competitors wishing to enter the event, but the Macau GP organising committee has now barred foreign racers altogether.

Burrows, whose Dungannon-based RK Racing team first made the trip to the Macau GP in 2013 with Crumlin rider Stephen Thompson, said it had been clear for months that the motorcycle race would not feature on the schedule again in 2021.

“We knew this was going to be the outcome again this year and it comes after we lost the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT for the second year running,” he told the News Letter.

“It’s confirmed now and we all expected it, but it’s another loss to the sport in 2021. Hopefully, 2022 will be a more normal year and we will be able to get up and running again with a lot more races.

“One thing I do now is that we wouldn’t be going to the event if there is any quarantine involved because it’s just not feasible.

“It’s a long enough trip to Macau and everyone has work and family to think about, so unless it’s opened up fully next year I can’t see ourselves or any other team wanting to go.

“At the end of each year, Macau is a very relaxed race meeting to go to and for me personally, it’s more of a chance to thank the team for all their hard work during the season.”

Burrows has aired some concerns over the future of the motorcycle race – first held in 1967 – in Macau in terms of its importance to the organisers, although he doesn’t expect the two-wheel discipline to disappear from the schedule in the short-term.

“The motorbike race is cancelled again this year but for the second year they are still able to hold the event for the cars, although it is limited to mostly Chinese competitors,” he said.

“You do wonder if they may think they don’t need the bikes in the future and I’d be sorry to see that happen, because it’s been a feature of the event for so many years.

“It’s probably not likely any time soon and one thing the motorbike race has going for it is that Faye Ho of FHO Racing has very strong connections in Macau, and certainly she will be pushing for the bikes to happen in 2022.

“With the uncertainty over the Ulster Grand Prix, it would be unfortunate to see another major road race ticked off the calendar, but that’s just my own view and it’s probably more likely that the race will return again when it can.

“If the race does comes back on the calendar next year it’s most likely we would go back as a team.”

Michael Rutter was declared the winner of the 2019 motorcycle race for a record ninth time in controversial circumstances, with the result taken based on positions after just one lap following a second red-flag incident.

Over 100 drivers are set to participate in six races in November around the 3.8-mile Guia street circuit in the Formula 4 Macau Grand Prix, Macau GT Cup, Macau Guia Race, Macau Touring Car Cup, Greater Bay Area GT Cup, and Porsche Carrera Cup Challenge events.

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