Road racing will be all the poorer this year for the expected absence of popular Kiwi Bruce Anstey.
The enigmatic 48-year-old is facing another cancer battle after his partner, Anny Ramsey, revealed the sad news on her Facebook page during the week.
A uniquely gifted rider, Anstey has been a permanent fixture at the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix for the past 16 years.
Although he is in the twilight of his career – Anstey will turn 49 on April 29 – he proved he remained a force to be reckoned with after clinching a sensational victory in the feature Superbike race at last year’s Ulster GP, riding the Padgett’s Honda RC213V-S.
Anstey also achieved a milestone as he won the Lightweight race at the Classic TT for the second successive year, recording the first ever 120mph lap of the Mountain Course on a 250cc machine.
A prolific winner at the major road races, Anstey’s place among the best in the game is secured.
He has chalked up countless victories across a range of classes, underscoring his versatility from 250cc machinery up the range to the 200bhp Superbikes.
Anstey has been there and done it all, yet his seeming indifference to the incredible feats he has achieved is a trait that has endeared him to so many admiring fans.
The road racing community is praying for his swift recovery, and a welcome return to what the ‘Flying Kiwi’ does best in 2019.