Ian Hutchinson has won the Macau GP, putting three years of heartache to bed in the process.
The Englishman fended off Michael Rutter and Gary Johnson to secure his first win at the 3.8-mile Guia Street Circuit.
“It’s probably one of the most special wins I’ve ever had with what’s gone on in the last few years, but hopefully now I can move on to carrying on back where I left off three years ago,” Hutchinson told Motorcycle News.
Hutchinson had a horrific crash at Silverstone during a British Supersport Championship race three years ago, and complications in his recovery brought doubts about whether he would ever return to racing.
The 34-year-old began the race at the Chinese circuit on pole but was overtaken by Rutter, Johnson and Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness in the early stages.
After a brief tussle with Johnson and McGuinness, the Milwaukee Yamaha rider worked his way back up to second before passing Rutter on the turn into Fisherman’s Bend.
“Hutchy” then began to impose himself from the front, opening up a lead on Rutter which, to his credit, the SMT Honda rider battled back from.
However, once Hutchinson had dealt with five backmarkers on lap 12, his lead stood at a comfortable 7.2seconds and looked to spell the end for Rutter’s challenge.
That was true, but in unexpected circumstances as a few laps later a huge crash that rider Dean Harrison luckily walked away from saw the red flag come out.
With the 15-lap race having run 75% of its scheduled distance, officials declared the race complete.
Results were determined by the lap 11 running order, and Hutchinson had secured a memorable Macau GP just three years after that career-threatening injury at Silverstone.
“I had about 10 plans of what to do whatever situation happened before the race,” said the Bingley man.
“I didn’t really have a plan for the one that did happen but I knew that once Michael got past Gary I needed to get past Gary and to go with it.
“I got past on the same lap and worked away. I’d rather have stayed behind Michael for a few more laps to be honest as the laps just got faster. I took the lead and just put the hammer down for a few laps to see where we were at."