Macau GP: Irish road racers aiming to make their mark in Far East

Derek Sheils on the Burrows Suzuki at the Macau Grand Prix in 2017.
Derek Sheils on the Burrows Suzuki at the Macau Grand Prix in 2017.

A host of Irish riders will converge on Macau in south China for the 52nd running of the famous road race, which gets underway next week.

Magherafelt man Paul Jordan will make his debut at the event on the Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki, when he will be joined by fellow Macau Grand Prix newcomer Dominic Herbertson.

Skerries man Michael Sweeney will ride the MJR BMW.

Skerries man Michael Sweeney will ride the MJR BMW.

The pair both rode for the team at the Ulster Grand Prix after Ivan Lintin was ruled out for the remainder of the season, with the Lincolnshire man suffering serious injuries in a crash at the Southern 100, which sadly claimed the life of James Cowton.

Saintfield’s Davy Morgan will also return to the Far East for the seventh time on his DM71 BMW, while southern Irishmen Derek Sheils (MGM by Penz13 BMW) and Michael Sweeney (MJR BMW) will be aiming for solid results to round off the season.

Long-time Macau regular Steve Heneghan will ride the Reactive Parts.com Ducati Panigale V4, giving the much-vaunted new Italian racer its road racing debut around the infamous 3.8-mile Guia street circuit.

Ulsterman Jordan, meanwhile, says he has no expectations as he prepares to make his debut on the Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki Superstock machine in first practice on Thursday.

Paul Jordan from Magherafelt is among the newcomers on the Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki.

Paul Jordan from Magherafelt is among the newcomers on the Dafabet Devitt Kawasaki.

Jordan, who claimed fourth in the rained-off Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix, said: “I’ve got absolutely no expectations whatsoever and I’ll just be going there to basically learn the place and get a feel for it. Anything after that will be a bonus.

“It will be a fantastic experience to go over there, never mind to race, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m making my debut and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

Jordan’s performance at the Ulster Grand Prix has no doubt boosted his prospects for next season, while the Northern Ireland rider also excelled on his debut at the Classic TT, where he was in contention for the rostrum in the Superbike race on the Mistral Kawasaki until a problem on the final lap forced him out.

He was running his own 600 Yamaha on a shoestring budget this year but grasped his chance to showcase his potential at Dundrod and the Classic TT.

Jordan said: “I have a few offers on the table for next year and everything is going down the road of the British championships. Some people are looking money, but I don’t want to be out a fortune because it’s not my priority.

“I’m swaying towards returning to the British championship next year along with the roads if I can get something suitable in place.

“I think that’s the way forward, like what Dean Harrison has done this year.”

Carrick’s Glenn Irwin, who won at Macau in 2017 under tragic circumstances following the death of English rider Dan Hegarty, will not compete this year.

Instead, 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness and Martin Jessopp – so often the nearly man at Macau – will compete for Paul Bird’s Ducati team.

The line-up also includes eight-time winner Michael Rutter on the Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing Honda RC213V-S MotoGP bike, and team-mate Peter Hickman, who will ride a BMW S1000RR.

Other leading lights include Gary Johnson (Briggs Equipment Kawasaki), David Johnson (PR Racing BMW), Horst Saiger (Saiger Racing Yamaha), and this year’s top TT newcomer, Davey Todd, who makes his Macau debut on the Penz13 BMW.

The race will take place on Saturday, November 17.