Bring back Trimby next year, demand bikers
All the hanging around, waiting for the weather to clear and the action to begin must have given the riders in the Motorcycle Grand Prix time to reflect on what course of action to take regarding the last farewell of Mike Trimby.
Trimby has been responsible for co-ordinating the international field of riders for the Motorcycle Grand Prix for the past 35 years, but has seen his contract with the organisers not being extended next year. This has raised concerns that today's re-scheduled race, the 45th edition, could be the last one in Macau.
Led by six-time champion Michael Rutter, the riders yesterday expressed their concern and came out in one voice, telling the world media that Trimby was crucial to the existence of the popular race and maintaining a tradition, which has made a name for Macau around the world.
'We want to say a massive 'Thank You' to Mike Trimby and we would like to see him come back next year. We want this event to continue and feel Mike is important for that to happen,' said John McGuinness, who grabbed the microphone at yesterday's post-qualifying race to express the views of the bike community.
Rutter, who is chasing a record seventh title today, later said: 'We are all very sad. Mike [Trimby] has been running this event for 35 years and next year he won't be back for some reason we don't really know much about. We want Mike back.'
The six-time champion added: 'This might be the last year, and we will have to wait and see. But if Mike is not here it makes it very difficult as far as organising [the field]. With Mike we don't worry about anything and he is a huge part of this race. When someone like that is not around, I don't think they can find another person like him to fill his boots.
'I have been coming here 17 to 18 years. I love coming to Macau and one day when I retire I would like to bring a team and bike out here. It is very important to keep it going.' The Motorcycle Grand Prix is the only remaining bike event on the card in Macau. It has attracted the world's best riders, from Ron Haslam to Stuart Easton, to turn up and thrill the fans.
'I think the crowds love it. We get a lot of press back home, and everyone talks about Macau and it is good for the event. It is the only bike race in Macau, a unique thing and it would be a shame if it stopped,' Rutter said.
All the worry about the future of the race has, however, not diverted Rutter's focus which is to make it into the record books.
At present, he is tied with Haslam on six wins, but believes this could be the year. He backed that with a commanding ride on his Ducati to lap a best time of two minutes, 23.714 seconds, a tad faster than his best lap last year.
On that occasion, Easton denied him a seventh title, completing a hat-trick of wins. But Easton is not back, still recovering from an injury, and Rutter is hopeful that he can break his long wait to enter the record books - his last win was in 2005.
In second place on the grid will be McGuinness who like the rest, has been struggling to cope with all the delays.
The main race was due to be held yesterday but the abandonment of the morning qualifying session due to a wet track, has just compounded the waiting game for the riders.
'It is a bit weird all this waiting,' McGuinness said. 'I have been coming here for the past 14 years and never seen a drop of rain until this weekend.'
One man who is just happy to be back on a bike is Ian Hutchinson who finished with the third fastest time.
'It is surreal for me. Five weeks ago I had a massive operation on my leg and now here I am a frontrunner for the race,' said Hutchinson who one year ago badly broke his left leg at Silverstone.