John McGuinness, a road racing legend, has said he will retire at the end of the 2022 Isle of Man TT. He wants to ride high in this commemorative event for the Morecambe Missile’.
McGuinness is the second-most successful mountain course rider, with 23 wins since 1996. He is three wins behind Joey Dunlop, the all-time great rider.
This record earned him an MBE (Member of the Order for Services to Motorcycle Racing) which he received from Windsor Castle this week in a ceremony given by Princess Royal after he was awarded the honour in The Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours List.
McGuinness’s accomplishments have been a highlight of a career that has seen him become a legend in the discipline. However, McGuinness admits that he is nervous about the 2022 event after a few years of not being in action.
Despite his success in the Classic TT in 2017, McGuinness’ fortunes in main event have been less stable in recent years. McGuinness suffered serious injuries in a crash on the North West 200. He was also forced to retire from the 2017 and 2018 TT’s. In 2019, he switched to the non-competitive Norton.
McGuinness was originally signed to Bournemouth Kawasaki in 2020, but COVID-19 cancelled the event the next year. McGuinness now holds a prominent seat at Honda Racing in 2022.
He will be making his 100th start in the TT. It also marks the 30th anniversary of the Honda Fireblade, an iconic Honda Fireblade that he has been a part of much his TT success since 1999.
McGuinness is now considering whether it would be a fitting moment for him to say farewell to the sport. He also suggests that he may have done so if his 2019 TT had not been so disappointing.
He told Press Association that the last time he raced there, he didn’t have a great finish to my racing career and didn’t want to end my racing career with a breakdown. However, he said this: “This, never stated it before, could be my last TT. But I wanted to go there with all the things crossed and do it, and just enjoy it and see what happens.”
McGuinness, who will be joined in the Honda Racing team by Glenn Irwin, a TT debutant, admits that the prospect of crossing 200mph without much practice is daunting after COVID has wreaked havoc on road racing schedules over the past two years.
He continued, “Getting back into racing, we’re all just a little nervous, all of us riders especially,”
“We did some COVID racing, but not road racing like in the Isle of Man. So we’ve been gone for two years.
“The bikes are getting faster. None of us have been there before so there’s lots of anxiety. But, you can see, once we get there, it will flat out at 200mph. We’ll keep doing what we do.
“But, you’ll know, it’s leading to my 100 starts, my century of starts, which is probably the oldest on the grid. It’s also 30 years since the Honda Fireblade’s anniversary, which I ride so there are lots of little boxes to tick.”