Ahead of the 50th edition of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Times spoke to South African motorcycle rider Allan-Jon Venter, who is set to race under the colors of local team “CF Racing Team 32”. The Times wanted to learn more about the races, the prospective winner and hear about the racer’s thoughts on this year’s edition. Allan-Jon Venter made the 20th best time during yesterday’s first qualifying session.
Macau Daily Times (MDT) – This will be the fourth time you will be racing in Macau. What has changed so far?
Allann-Jon Venter (AJ) – For me, it has changed a lot, I am learning more. This is my third time racing with Joāo [Fernandes, team owner] and having him help me means a lot. They [the team] do a lot of organization and have put a big effort into all this, which makes it a lot easier for me. Coming into Macau and having someone local [who has already prepared all the things] makes it a lot easier. This time, I will be racing my own bike from South Africa so I think it will be also easier for me to adjust. Of course the bike would not be as quick because it is only a standard bike but being able to bring a bike, I know it is much better. You can “push more” because you know the limits of the bike.
MDT – How do you see the competition this year?
AJ – This year the competition is tough! If I can come in top 10 it will be something really special. I am riding a Superstock bike, but in that sense I want to reward João and the team with something good because of all the effort they put in. At the same time, Macau is Macau, the festival, the people, it is massive. The racing is big, the city, the clubs, the party, everything… It is a special event that you look forward to.
MDT – This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Motorcycle Grand Prix. How do you feel about being part of such a milestone?
AJ – It is a privilege, it has to be a privilege because there are 28 people from around the world that are allowed in [this race] and I am very fortunate to be one of them.
To celebrate the 50th is special and you know that on this side of the world when they celebrate things they go over the top.
MDT – You mentioned earlier that to be in the top 10 would be really special. Is that what you are aiming for as a result?
AJ – Last year I finished 14th and the year before I finished 15th, so I want to improve. But on the other end you have to look at the conditions, the bike and the track, and have to take it easy. This year, there are a lot of really good riders out of the UK and of the British Superbike Championship that are really quick so I have to be realistic. To be racing here is already something special, to be running for top 10 is a dream. Unfortunately, it will be harder this year, but I have to move forward and make it better than last year. If one does not set goals, they will never get there! So if I can run around Top 10, maybe 11th or 12th, I would be very happy.
MDT – On whom do you put your “bet” to win this year?
AJ – Oh, that is really tough. SMT boys have three really good riders with Hickman, Rutter and Easton. Besides those, you have Jessop, who is phenomenal, and McGuiness, a living legend in everything he does – he is a role model for me. So, I really do not know, you have “Hutchy” [Ian Hutchison] on a Tyco BMW and he is very quick here as well. I think it is a gamble! Maybe I am guessing “Hutchy.”
Macau Daily Times is CF Racing Team 32’s