John McGuinness turned the 2015 Isle of Man TT on its head with an astounding performance to win Friday’s showpiece Senior TT.
In a phenomenal display of skill and talent that bore all the hallmarks of a true TT legend at his magical best, the Morecambe Missile claimed his 23rd victory on the Mountain Course to edge closer to Joey Dunlop’s record of 26 wins.
It was supposed to be the day that Yorkshire’s Ian Hutchinson rounded off a remarkable week with his first victory in the premier class at the TT since his unforgettable five-in-a-week feat in 2010, but 6-1 shot McGuinness had an ace up his sleeve.
The 43-year-old earned respectable applause when he sealed his 22nd win with his second successive triumph in the TT Zero Challenge electric bike race on the Japanese Mugen machine, but two record-breaking laps later the thousands of fans lined around the iconic circuit were in raptures as the old warrior rose to the challenge once more in scarcely-believable style.
The tension was palpable after the drama of a restart for the Senior race following a red flag incident involving Jamie Hamilton, but McGuinness came storming out of the traps to set the fastest ever standing start lap in history at 131.850mph.
The Honda Racing star upped the tempo even further on lap two to slam Bruce Anstey’s year-old 132mph record with a new outright benchmark of 132.701mph as his rivals floundered.
A mistake at Signpost corner at the end of the second lap proved a knockout blow for hat-trick hero Hutchinson, but would it really have mattered in the end?
McGuinness was a man on a mission and just as he had done in 2013 when he mustered a final day master class to thwart Michael Dunlop’s five-timer bid, the second most successful rider in TT history did it again to secure arguably his greatest ever triumph at the mecca of motorcycle road racing.
His magnificent seventh Senior win equalled Mike Hailwood’s record in the historic race as the man with nothing left to prove to anyone proved everything to everybody yet again.