Every November the streets of the former Portuguese colony of Macau (now a Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China) have come alive to the thrills and spectacle of motor racing. It began in 1954 as a cars-only event but in 1967 motorcycles were added to make Macau the only car and motorcycle street race in the world.
The 6.2 km (3.8 mile) circuit twists and turns through the streets with only metal barriers for protection. Tight first gear corners, long fast straights and a rise and fall of 30 meters (100 ft), test man and machinery to the limit.
This year for the first time, BMW Motorrad machines were among the action, with no less than seven S1000RRs battling it out for the honors in one of the world’s great road races. The RR has proved itself countless times during 2010 on racetracks across the world in Superbike and Superstock competitions, and in Macau it was American racer Jeremy Toye who added his name to the RR success story with a hard-fought third place podium finish.
The Lee’s Cycles / San Diego BMW entry was on the pace right from the first practice session. The world’s leading exponents of the art of street racing were all there and Toye and his S1000RR were matching them lap after lap, session after session, and he finally qualified a respectable fourth place on the front row of the starting grid.
The race began with Toye in the heat of battle and up into third place behind British favorites Michael Rutter and Stuart Easton. Unfortunately the race was Red Flagged on lap seven after American Chris Peris came off and hit the unforgiving wall that lines the track. Fortunately he was okay but the race required a restart.
This situation caused the team a deal of trouble in deciding which tires to select for the S1000RR for the remainder of the race. With a limited choice available they chose to go with a used race tire to hopefully last the nine remaining laps, as the only other option was a soft qualifier.
The restarted race followed a similar pattern, with Toye sitting just off Rutter and Easton. The tire was holding but the electronics were causing concern for a while until the situation appeared to resolve itself. Jeremy just concentrated on riding smoothly and kept getting quicker and quicker. In a last lap frenzy, his superior speed allowed him to secure the final podium position, thus not only becoming the first BMW rider to reach such heights but also the first American for 10 years to stand on the rostrum at Macau.
“I don’t know where to start, I’m so happy,” said Toye at the end of the epic weekend. “With the competition here, any weakness will show, and with open rules we tried to build a Lear Jet on two wheels! I cannot thank my team enough, as the S1000RR had awesome power all weekend.”
The S1000RR has taken on all before it on the track and also won many media awards but for Jeremy Toye it was the sheer enjoyment of pushing himself and the RR to new levels of performance — and a place in BMW Motorrad history. BMW Motorrad factory rider Leon Haslam’s father, Ron Haslam, enjoyed six wins in Macau. Who knows, maybe somebody can persuade ‘pocket Rocket’ Leon to compete in this race on an RR in 2011…