Gary Johnson claimd top six finish as tragedy strikes Macau GP

Gary Johnson in action at Dona Maria during the first practice session at the 2017 Macau Grand Prix EMN-171120-130444002
Gary Johnson in action at Dona Maria during the first practice session at the 2017 Macau Grand Prix EMN-171120-130444002

Road racer Gary Johnson rode to a sixth-place finish at a Macau Grand Prix overshadowed by the death of Nottingham rider Dan Hegarty.

Johnson, from Broughton, near Brigg, was lying sixth when the race was abandoned at five-lap distance following a serious accident involving Hegarty who sadly died shortly after.

Riding the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki ZX-10R, the Lincolnshire rider completed his qualifying in 10th place.

Speaking after qualifying, he said: “I’ve been having a really good Macau Grand Prix and have been working really hard with all the team, adjusting the bike to the demands of a road race as it’s highlighted a few issues as expected.

“It’s been very positive throughout, but unfortunately, in qualifying, I got held up on my fast laps and my position of P10 doesn’t reflect how well myself and the bike are working.

“After qualifying we’ve highlighted some areas where we can make further improvements to the bike so we’re really looking forward to the warm-up session in the morning.

“Hopefully, we will have some strong pace and be able to show what we’re capable of in the race. A massive thank-you to all the team, we’ve gelled instantly so a good start to the race will set us up nicely.”

Starting from the third row, Johnson knew he had to get away from the line well to avoid getting sucked into the pack.

He made his move on two other machines on lap one into Lisboa to put himself right where he needed to be.

Getting into a rhythm is key around the Macau Street circuit and Gary settled well into the task in hand as he set about making his way through the field.

But the race was brought to a premature end on lap six of 12 when the red flag halted the action because of Hegarty’s crash.

It soon became obvious that it was a serious incident and the riders were sent back to the pits.

With the sun going down rapidly there was no time to restart the race and a result was declared.

But the race result paled into insignificance as the riders learned of the loss of their fellow rider.

Johnson and the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki team expressed their condolences to Dan’s family and friends.