Rutter wins eighth Macau crown to stretch record
The King of Macau proves fastest yet again despite his advancing years to claim another Guia title ... and he's not about to rest on his laurels
"The King of Macau," runner-up Martin Jessopp called him, and no one came close to dethroning Michael Rutter as he extended his record number of Macau Grand Prix motorcycle wins to eight yesterday.
The SMT Racing rider put in another consummate display on the track he loves, popping a wheelie over the line as he finished nearly five seconds ahead of Jessopp to add 2012 to 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2011 on his list of titles.
"Every one of them's special," Rutter said. "Going out there and winning my eighth one - I never even thought I'd win one so it's fantastic."
The motorcycle race had been scheduled for Saturday but a downpour made the track unsafe and it was held over until yesterday.
Jessopp blew his chances with a bad start, and though he pushed it to the limit trying to catch Rutter, coming frighteningly close to the walls, he eventually conceded. Simon Andrews was third in his first race since he shattered the right side of his body in the Isle of Man TT.
"We had a good bike and a good team and it's easy when you're out in front and can control the pace," added Rutter, who aims to extend a record that looks unbeatable. "I love coming here and we'll keep coming back," said the 40-year-old. "These young boys are catching me up, I'm getting older, but as long as I can I'll keep coming back. I'm happy with eight, but if I can win another one great."
Jessopp was also second last year and had to doff his cap to "His Highness".
"It would have been interesting to see if I could have chased Michael with a good start, but he's the King of Macau so it still wouldn't have been easy," he said. "I was definitely pushing, I was trying hard but once the tyre wore a bit it was clear I wasn't able to catch up and I settled down a bit and tried to leave a bit more room between me and the walls."
Andrews' third place felt like a victory. "I smashed into the mountain [at the Isle of Man] and just smashed myself up and this was the first race back. I snapped all the right side of my body, my wrist, my shoulder, my ankle," he said, further underlining the danger of the sport after the death of Portuguese rider Luis Carreira here on Thursday.
"I was wheelchair-bound for a month or so, lost the use of everything apart from one foot, had to learn to walk again and feed myself.
"This was the goal and what we've been working for and it's all paid off really, so hopefully everyone will have a smile on their face when we get back."