Brian McCormack confident he can 'do a good job' on Macau Grand Prix return after four-year absence

Republic of Ireland rider Brian McCormack at Melco Hairpin during the Macau Grand Prix in 2019 (Photo: Macau Grand Prix)
Republic of Ireland rider Brian McCormack at Melco Hairpin during the Macau Grand Prix in 2019 (Photo: Macau Grand Prix)

The Waterford man, like many of the sport’s top names, opted to give the event a miss when it returned to the schedule last year following back-to-back cancellations in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prohibitive quarantine measures remained in place last November when Erno Kostamo became the first Finnish winner of the iconic race at the 3.8-mile Guia street course.

However, McCormack and Macau regulars including record nine-time winner Michael Rutter and Peter Hickman – a three-time winner – are among a strong line-up, with two-time British Superbike champion Josh Brookes making his debut at the event in a formidable three-man FHO Racing BMW team alongside Hickman and Rutter.

McCormack is also riding an FHO Racing BMW with backing from The Roadhouse Macau in a separate venture to Faye Ho’s official outfit.

The 39-year-old plans to unveil a special livery at the 70th anniversary Macau meeting, where the 12-lap motorcycle race takes place on Saturday, November 18 following practice and qualifying on Thursday and Friday of race week.

“With the carnage that happened in 2019 [two red-flag stoppages] we didn’t really get much racing so I’m looking forward to being back there, especially as I’m riding on a Roadhouse Macau with backing from FHO Racing as well,” McCormack said. “It’s a home race for Faye, so it should be good.

“I qualified in 11th or 12th on the grid the last year I was there and in the first start, my gear position sensor went, so I pulled in just before the first red flag.

“For the restart, they wouldn’t let me start from my original grid position and I had to start from the back of the grid. It was actually fortunate because I’d have been caught up in that big melee [six-rider pile-up] otherwise, so I got away with it.

“To go all that way for a couple of one-lap dashes was a bit mad but hopefully we’ll have some better luck and we’ll have a full race this time.

“We’re there for 13 days altogether and it’s a long time for one race, so two races would make more sense but I suppose they have to fit in all the car racing and it’s something that hasn’t been possible this year,” added McCormack, who made his Macau debut in 2012.

“But we’re lucky enough to have the chance to go and race motorbikes on the other side of the world and they look after us quite well, so it’s nice to be able to go even though you’d like more time on the bike.”

McCormack is targeting the top six in the invitation-only race and has underscored the importance of a strong qualifying to aid his objective.

“The further up the grid, the safer it is, so that’s the ambition for qualifying – that’s the most important part of the whole week and I realised that the last time I was there,” he said.

“Things are going well and I just feel I can do a very good job this year. I’m on a very good bike with FHO – a bike that is capable of winning – so there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be comfortably inside the top 10, maybe even the top six.”