Top teams and riders continue to withdraw from 2020 Macau GP| Phil Wain | TT and Roads
This year’s Macau Grand Prix looks increasingly in jeopardy with more and more riders and teams confirming their withdrawal from November’s event – including three-time champions Peter Hickman and Global Robots BMW – due to the isolation rules laid out as a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Event organisers have insisted all riders and team personnel must isolate in a Macau hotel for two weeks prior to the event getting underway.
Those two weeks combined with practice, qualifying and the race itself as well as the isolation period required upon arriving back in the UK essentially means anyone willing to contest the 2020 race would need to take almost five weeks out of their normal daily schedules and working lives.
“Macau’s a great event, one that’s been really good for us but it’s just not viable for us at the moment to even contemplate going there this year,” said Darren Jones, Global Robots BMW Team Co-ordinator.
“Most of the lads in the team have day jobs and families and they can’t take the amount that would be required away from them. We’ve informed the organisers that we won’t be taking part this year and will use the time instead to focus on our 2021 preparations.”
“Like I say, it’s a shame as we all love going out there and Pete and the team have had a lot of success over the years.”
RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team principal Lee Hardy echoed Jones’ comments with his team, who had intended to run Paul Jordan, also having made the decision to pull out of November’s event.
“The risks of going to Macau this year outweigh what you get out of going,” said Hardy, speaking to BikesportNews.com. “I totally understand the quarantine rules and why they’re in place and we’d abide by them if we were to go.”
But from a team manager’s perspective, I have a duty of care to my team members. We all like the event but what would happen if we got there and the pandemic worsened? What medical cover are the organisers offering us? How would we get home if the lockdown rules and regulations were increased? If you fell ill and were stuck in Macau with no way of getting home, you’d be very, very isolated.”
“Nothing’s been mentioned from that side of things and I’m not sure if the organisers realise the ramifications of everything. I’m very surprised they’re still planning to run the race but we’ve already officially informed them that we won’t be going.”
“A lot of team members are self employed and would need wages covering for at least a month, something I – along with many other team’s - won’t be able to do.”
John McGuinness has also indicated he won’t be travelling to the Far East this year whilst leading Irish riders Derek Sheils and Michael Sweeney have also withdrawn. Hardy believes the organisers would be better served by cancelling this year’s race, rather than running a scaled down version, and focus more on 2021.
“It would make more sense for this year’s race to be cancelled with the view of making next year’s event bigger and better. With the F3 car race already having been cancelled, some kudos has been lost so the time should be used to look at what could be improved, what could be made slicker.”