Schwantz faces Macau

Published: 11 November 2006

Race legends Kevin Schwantz, Ron Haslam and Mick Grant, plus modern-day riders Michael Rutter, John McGuinness and Cameron Donald will take part in special lap of honour preceding the Macau Grand Prix this Saturday.

The celebration is to mark the 40th Anniversary of racing on the notoriously demanding 3.85-mile Guia Circuit which is made up of Armco and wall-lined roads around Macau pensinsula, 43 miles south west of Hong Kong.

Schwantz’s Macau victory came in 1988 riding an RGV500 Suzuki when he famously rode most of the circuit on the rear wheel of the fearsome GP two-stroke.

Now he’s looking forward to his first visit to the GP since 1989 when he attended the event as a guest television commentator.

He said: “I’ve heard so much about how Macau has grown and that it’s real similar to Las Vegas now. I think it will be neat. It will be interesting to see, as a race, how the event’s grown as well.” Quality bikes for sale: Click here.

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Product reviews: Click here. Macau may have changed almost beyond recognition, but the Guia circuit is virtually unaltered since his day, and Schwantz has not forgotten the challenge it presented 18 years ago.

He said: “I look back on that and wonder how Suzuki ever even thought about letting me do it.

"As big a kid as I was and as much stupid stuff as I dis on a proper racetrack, wow, what might I do there with all those walls and how bad could I have got hurt!

“It took quite some time to learn the track. It’s got some real tricky uphill blind left-right corners and certain parts of it are really, really fast too. It’s no walk in the park by any stretch.”

Not only did Schwantz conquer Macau, he did it in spectacular style. So convincing was his win – much of it on his rear wheel - that Brit racer James Whitham suggested at the time that the countless wheelies may have been necessary to preserve his front tyre.

Schwantz recalled: “Whitham came down after the weekend and asked: ‘Were you shortened on your tyre budget because every time I saw you, the front wheel was in the air!’”

For this year’s celebrations the Macau GP Committee has teamed up with the Classic Auto-cycle Museum of Hong Kong to assemble a collection of 60 classic motorcycles.

Forty of them will be used in the Lap of Honour on Saturday before the GP bike race and for a three-lap display on Sunday prior to the F3 car GP.

The remaining 20 motorcycles will be used for a static display in Macau at Largo do Senado and Fisherman’s Wharf from Monday to Sunday of the Grand Prix week.

Schwantz (former World Champion and winner in Macau in 1988) along with other former Macau stars Haslam (six-time Macau winner) Belgian GP racer Didier de Radigues (Macau champion in 1991); TT hero Mick Grant who took two Macau victories in the 1970’s and 80’s; and former TTF1 Racer German Peter Rubatto (multiple Macau runner-up), are among those taking part in the celebratory laps on old bikes.