Macau Grand Prix

Tragedy as British rider Daniel Hegarty dies in crash at Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix

Topgun Racing Honda rider, who was 31, struck barrier on sixth lap of Guia track with organisers cancelling the race before confirming his death

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 November, 2017, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 November, 2017, 10:11pm

Tragedy struck the Macau Grand Prix on Saturday when British rider Daniel Hegarty died after a crash during the feature motorcycle race.

The 31-year-old hit a barrier at the notorious Fishermen’s Bend during the sixth of 12 scheduled laps. Replayed footage showed Hegarty laying motionless on the track, with debris around him.

The race was immediately called off and fears for the Topgun Racing Honda rider’s condition were heightened when the post-race press conference was cancelled.

President of Macau’s Sports Bureau and co-ordinator of the Macau Grand Prix organising committee Pun Weng Kun then addressed the media at 6.30pm, reading a statement from the event organisers that reported Hegarty had initially suffered “serious injuries”.

“It is with great regret that we have to announce that the British rider succumbed to his injuries en route to the Conde S. Januario Hospital,” the statement said.

“Daniel’s family and team have been contacted and the committee will ensure every assistance is extended to them.”

The committee extended its “deepest sympathies” to Hegarty’s family and friends and no questions were taken.

The Nottingham-based Hegarty was a former short-circuit rider and privateer racer – meaning he had competed without direct support of a manufacturer – and had made his Macau debut last year after recovering from a career-threatening crash at the Thruxton Circuit in Hampshire in 2010 that saw his elbow smashed in 23 places.

It took a series of operations across the following four years before Hegarty could seriously compete again, and he had a breakout season in 2016 when he won the TT Privateer’s Championship and made his debut in the prestigious North West 200 and Ulster GP races, before finishing 16th on debut in Macau. He had signed with the Topgun Racing team towards the end of 2016.

Hegarty had told last year that he had turned to the road events because that style of racing “didn’t hurt my elbow so much”.

The last fatality at the Macau Grand Prix was in 2012 when Portuguese rider Luis Carreira died during qualifying. The 35-year-old also came off his Suzuki at Fisherman’s Bend.

The previous fatality had been that of French rider Bruno Bonhuil, who was killed during the motorbike race warm-up session in 2005. That was the first fatality since 1994 – although in 2000, a mainland tourist was killed when a car went off the track.

The sport of road racing has long been acknowledged as among the most dangerous there is due to the twists and turns of the streets courses the riders pit themselves against – at high speed – as well as because of the effect weather conditions can have on the circuits.

Saturday’s Motorcycle Grand Prix was won by Northern Ireland’s Glenn Irwin – after five completed laps – in front of Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter.

All three riders were visibly upset when they mounted the podium, and there was a tense atmosphere among teams gathered in pit lane as fears for Hegarty spread around the track.

It brought a tragic end to a day that had seen multiple crashes across Macau’s Guia track, including a 16-car pile-up in the SJM Macau GT Cup – FIA GT World Cup.