The organisers of the Macau Grand Prix have visited the 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 today in a move that signals a closer working relationship between the Northern Ireland and Chinese events.
Macau officials Carlos Barreto, Clerk of the Course, Paul Butler, Deputy Clerk of the Course and Patrick Castro, Track Manager met the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Michelle Knight-McQuillan and a large delegation of North West 200 racers in the race paddock today.
“This is our first trip to Northern Ireland and the North West and we have seen a very good circuit, great facilities and a really good race organisation.” Carlos Barreto said after the presentation.
“We have been very impressed and it has been very interesting to compare our racing procedures with how things work here.”
Barreto said that the Macau delegation had also visited the Joey and Robert Dunlop Memorial Gardens in Ballymoney as well as Joey’s Bar during their trip. Both Joey and Robert Dunlop and current stars Michael and William have all raced in the Chinese race on the 3.8 mile Guia circuit. The delegation’s visit will include Thursday and Saturday’s race days at the north coast event.
Barretto said there was a desire for greater co-operation between the North West 200 and the Asian race but he expressed concerns about the proposed TT World Series.
“Speaking personally I see the possibility of the North West, TT and Macau being part of a series but not as part of a TT World Series.” he said.
“It is important to maintain the identity of each event.”
“Without volunteers you have nothing and speaking as a fan I think if you turn these races into a business this will go.” he added.
Barreto also expressed concerns about how moving these road races on to a business footing might lead to their demise if profits are not forthcoming.
“If things do not work out in the first two or three years then everyone will just walk away and you will lose everything.” he explained.
“Like Macau and the TT the North West is very important to the local areas and they are also internationally important.” he said.
“They are all different events in different places and help promote their countries.”