Jamie Hamilton ready for Macau ride
Rookie rider Jamie Hamilton grew up idolising former Macau winner and TT legend John McGuinness, but there will be no hero worship if the pair go head to head on Saturday.
Hamilton, 21, looks like being the latest star in Northern Ireland's long tradition of road racing, having made a big impact in just over a year. He was fastest newcomer at his first Isle of Man TT this year and is looking to announce himself to Macau fans in similar fashion on his debut.
"My hero as a kid and even now would be John McGuinness, I completely admire everything he does," said Hamilton, British Junior 600cc Superstock champion in 2009 before switching to road racing last year. "I used to look up to him as a kid, complete hero to me. I beat John at the Scarborough Gold Cup at the end of last season, but it still feels unbelievable that I'm up there with these guys.
"But I'm a great believer that to be the best you have to beat the best. I want to be just like him and to do that I've got to beat him and everyone else that's out there."
The Ballyclare, Northern Ireland, native was a highly regarded soccer player on the books of Bolton and Leicester, but once he sat on a motorbike that was the end,
"A lot of people told me I was too young [for Isle of Man], but I showed what dedication I had and put in a lot of homework and it worked out for me," Hamilton said
"I never had the same adrenaline rush playing football as you get going 120mph into a right-hander. It's a massive thing in Ireland, I've been to all the road races and used to watch them with my family.
"The other guys have told me stories about Macau and I've watched it on TV for a few years, so when the chance came up I was over the moon."
Michael Rutter is back to defend the title he won for a record seventh time last year, while McGuinness, Isle of Man native Conor Cummins and Gary Johnson are also likely to contend.