17 Nov 2012

Balls of Steel - Onboard lap of the Macau Grand Prix

Motor racing has become ever safer.  The tracks are wide, the run-off areas huge and the safety equipment is the best it's ever been.  It's for these reasons that Formula 1 hasn't suffered a driver fatality since 1994.

Motorcycle racing can never be as safe as car racing, for the simple reason the riders are exposed.  There's no safety cell around them.  Even MotoGP can be a dangerous place, despite running on F1 style circuits with F1 style medical facilities plus carbon crash helmets and airbags in the riders leathers.

We all know the Isle of Man TT circuit is an insane place to run a motorcycle race but every year tens of thousands of fans and a hundred or so riders make the pilgrimage to that last island of speed, thrills and danger in a sea of safety and gravel traps.

Image courtesy of www.stayontheblack.com
But then, in November, the street racing circuit descends on Macau, China, for the only street circuit racing event in the world to have car and bike races running alongside each other.

And if you thought the Isle of Man TT circuit was the most dangerous place in the world then have a look at this video.  It literally is a street circuit.  Macau is like the Monaco Grand Prix circuit but with bikes racing on it.  200bhp superbikes that can exceed 200mph.

All the big names of the TT are there: John McGuiness, Michael Rutter, Gary Johnson, Conor Cummins.  The Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix takes place today, Saturday.  One rider and one touring car racer have already died at this year's meeting.  It's a dangerous place and the competitors have balls of steel.

We salute them.

The video features a rider called Sean Dwyer during morning warm up for the 2011 Motorcycle Grand Prix.