Ducati rider Glenn Irwin has won the 51st edition of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, an event marred by the death of Daniel Hegarty at the halfway point of the Saturday race.
Hegarty, 31, was an experienced rider and a frequent contender at the Isle of Man TT where he debuted in 2011. He has held the title of privateer champion in that race, which has been considered the most demanding and dangerous of all road competitions since 2016. That same year, he finished 11th place in the senior TT.
Hegarty, who was riding a Honda from Topgun Racing, lost control of his bike during the sixth of twelve laps at the braking zone of the infamous Fishermen’s Bend, and was flung out of his motorcycle at high speed, hitting the circuit protection barriers. He lost his crash helmet and one protective boot in the collision.
Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee (MGPOC) president Pun Weng Kun read a statement on behalf of the committee, which said, “It is with great regret that we have to announce that the British rider succumbed to his injuries en route to the Conde S Januario Hospital.”
The statement added that the committee had already contacted his family and ensured that any necessary assistance would be extended to them.
Organizers halted the race immediately after the accident. Riders in the pits were unable to hold back their tears, and consternation and shock was evident on many people’s faces.
Peter Hickman – the winner of the last two editions – had taken the lead for the first two laps before Irwin retook first place in a perfect maneuver. Eight-time winner Michael Rutter and Martin Jessop also battled for the lead but appeared to lose steam with every lap.
Irwin led the front group with some margin until the fifth lap, when Hickman seemed to be pushing harder to catch up, before the tragic accident cut the race short.
The results were eventually attributed according to the classification of the previous lap, which saw Tak Chun Racing – represented by Irwin with a PBM/Penz13 team Ducati rider – cross the line in front of Hickman and Rutter, both riding BMW machines from SMT/Bathams by MGM Macau.
Jessop of Riders Motorcycle BMW came in fourth, and Connor Cummins Padgett’s Motorcycles, riding a Honda, completed the TOP5.
Although riders tried to call it off, the podium ceremony eventually took place amid much discomfort.
The post-race press conference was cancelled, with the riders and teams taking shelter in their pits.