Three-time Macau winner vows to return
Triple champion Stuart Easton will be a notable absentee at the 45th running of the Macau motorcycle GP next month, and nobody is more disappointed that the Scot.
Easton, one of the brightest young talents to emerge on the scene, was creating a dynasty for himself after winning his third straight Macau title last year.
But the 28-year-old from Hawick has been forced onto the sidelines and faces a long road to recovery after suffering horrific injuries in a crash in May while practising for the North West 200 in Northern Ireland.
Easton took a heavy spill, shattering his pelvis and femurs, breaking bones in his hands and dislocating his hip. His injuries were thought not to be too serious as first, but further tests revealed that he had broken both femurs and shattered his pelvis in five places. He also broke his coccyx, ruptured his bowel and fractured some fingers.
The prognosis, although not life-threatening, was not encouraging. Doctors expect him to be out of action for at least another six months. But there's good news - he will be able to race again.
'For sure my crash and injuries are the worst of my life but I'm more focused on my comeback than anything else. I feel lucky to be able to race again so I won't dwell on it,' said Easton.
Fortunately, Easton is on the mend and feels so much better than he did five months when it seemed his whole world had collapsed around him. The Scot is confident he will return to the Guia circuit and take back his rightful place as Macau's most dominant rider in recent years.
'I'm very disappointed I can't even [physically] go to Macau never mind defend my title. It's one of my favourite events for sure. The circuit is such a thrill,' said Easton, who is aiming for a racing comeback by mid-2012.
Encouraged that his injuries were healing well, Easton promised to be back in Macau next year better than ever.
'I will be making a comeback in British superbikes with Paul Bird's team which is amazing. I'm sure Macau will be on the calendar,' said Easton.
He is already looking forward to Macau in 2012, and is even cautiously eyeing a fourth title there. 'As always we will see how it goes and not go crazy ... if the fourth win comes then great.'
Easton knows 39-year-old Michael Rutter has a 'great chance' of making it a record seventh win in Macau this year, but couldn't help but take a playful poke at the veteran's 'advancing age'.
'Maybe if Rutter takes his pension it will make life a little easier for me,' added Easton, who knows 'the Blade' has been his biggest rival in Macau.
Rutter had to settle for second place last year after a long and hard battle with Easton, with the Scot pipping the English star to the flag. Rutter will return for another tilt at the title that has eluded him for five years. The Englishman last won in Macau in 2005, taking his sixth title, but his hopes of finally making history - he shares the current record with 'Rocket' Ron Haslam also of England - has been a frustrating wait. He had to play second fiddle to fellow Englishman Steve Plater in 2006 and 2007, and, for the last three years, to Easton. But this might just be Rutter's year.
'I think Michael should take victory and he deserves a record seventh win,' said Easton. 'He's a good racer with good experience. But you never know in racing though ... a surprise could happen.'
Rutter will return to the Guia circuit for another shot at setting the record aboard a Team of Paris Ducati.
While Easton won't be there in person, he hopes he will be remembered by his fans. 'I would like to wish all the competitors and teams a safe and fun race and remember, I'll be back.'