Satisfying Seventh in Macau for Lee Hardy Racing
Lee Hardy Racing based at Marham in Norfolk teamed up with Morecambe’s John McGuinness for the 61st Macau GP. The team have never competed at this event before and were looking forward to taking part in such an iconic road race around the city of Macau.
McGuinness has had an injury-interrupted 2014 road racing season however at the weekend he finished with a satisfying seventh place at the Macau Grand Prix. Riding the Pirtek Pro Bolt Honda, the 21-times TT winner came through from tenth on the grid to claim his 15th top ten finish around the 3.8- mile Armco-lined course.
The 42-year old was having his first outing since taking third overall in last month’s Stars at Darley meeting and the week started well when he placed a strong fifth in the opening qualifying session. John went quicker still in Friday’s second and final session, reducing his lap time by eight tenths of a second to 2m 29.986s, but a number of his rivals improved by over two seconds and the end result was that he found himself bumped back to tenth overall.
It all meant he would have to start Saturday’s 12-lap race from the fourth row of the grid.
Riding the Lee Hardy Racing CBR1000RR machine ridden this season in the British Superbike Championship by Peter Hickman, a solid start by John saw him complete the opening lap in ninth place and for the next few laps he was locked in battle with BMW riders Jimmy Storrar and Steve Mercer. By half race distance, he’d moved up to seventh as he overtook Mercer just as Storrar retired and it was here where he took the chequered flag for yet another strong Macau GP finish.
Lee Hardy Racing teamed up with Lee Johnson who rides the Pirtek Honda for the event giving a team name of Pirtek Pro Bolt Honda, this team was made up of John McGuinness and Lee Johnson, Lee qualified front row on his Pirtek Honda and fought hard to try and stay in a podium position, suffering with Macau flu Lee pushed hard but slipped back to 4th at the finish. John brought the Pro Bolt Honda home in seventh winning the overall team award which was an incredible achievement for a first time team at Macau.
John McGuinness: “I’ve been coming to Macau since 1998 and whilst I’ve won before and stood on the podium a number of times, I’m satisfied with the result this year. It’s an incredibly demanding course, both physically and mentally, and also very technical so it’s all about being in the groove and finding a good rhythm. Everyone else out there has had a full season of racing under their belts so it was always going to be difficult for me given the little track time I’ve had due to my wrist injury but I couldn’t fault how the race went. The bike went well, I felt strong and competitive and enjoyed myself so a big thanks to everyone in the team for all their hard work.”
Lee Hardy: “This is my first time at Macau and I owe this opportunity to John Mcguinness for making it possible, John rode really well considering he has such little time on any bike this year let alone ours, we have no data for the track so set-up was always going to be hard and we never hit that sweet spot during practice or qualifying, when racing a circuit like Macau you need to have a bike that gives you the confidence needed to go smooth and fast. The team will definitely go back next year for another shot at being on the podium, thank you to Pro Bolt, Mother Hubbards Fish & Chips, Honda, Macau GP and everyone else who helped with the trip.