John McGuinness has unfinished business at Isle of Man TT
John McGuinness has vowed to return to the Isle of Man TT in 2022 after admitting he cannot allow his illustrious career on the island to finish on the low point of his failed venture with Norton in 2019.
The 23-time TT winner is also determined to line up on Glencrutchery Road next June to complete a milestone 100th race start.
McGuinness will be 50 by the time the TT returns in 2022 (May 29 to June 10) following back-to-back cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Morecambe man isn’t ready to hang up his leathers and helmet just yet.
Following a golden era in his illustrious career that ensured his place in the TT history books, McGuinness endured a difficult few years after a crash in qualifying at the North West 200 in 2017.
He missed the event again the next year through injury before signing with Norton for 2019.
However, it proved a frustrating move for McGuinness, who failed to register a finish in the Superbike and Senior TTs.
Now, the renowned English rider intends to set the record straight next year, when McGuinness is committed to racing at the TT again – 26 years on from his debut at the event in 1996.
“I was riding today at Donington and I feel like I’ve been run over because I’m a little bit old and fat, and a bit unhealthy, so I need to sharpen my pencil a little bit,” said McGuinness, speaking during last Friday’s TT ‘Switch-On’ announcement of major new changes due to be introduced over the next few years.
“I was at Donington to tick a box and that’s to get myself sharp for 2022.
“I’ve had a rough time, 2017 injured, 2018 I wasn’t recovered, ’19 as we know didn’t work out and ’20 is gone, ’21 is gone, so I just can’t leave it like this – I can’t finish the TT on a broken engine bolt at the Bungalow, watching that Yorkshireman (Dean Harrison) winning the Senior!
“Fair play to him for winning it but it’s not a great thing to be watching it.
“I’d like to cross the line again and then at some stage take a back step, but at next year’s TT I’ll be 50-years-old, which is old, but it’ll be my 100th start and it’s really important to me to do 100 starts.
“I’ve done over 50,000 miles around the Isle of Man and every time I ride a bike I’m always thinking about how it’s going to work at the Isle of Man, how it’s going to be through Glentramman, and how the stability is going to be, so I’m always thinking about the TT,” he added.
“But it’s on the radar and if I’ve still got two arms, two legs and I’m still operating, then I’ll definitely be lining up on the grid next year.”
Reflecting on the first successive cancellations of the TT since the Second World War, McGuinness said the absence of the iconic motorcycling festival had left a huge void in his life.
“It’s been frustrating and it’s been my life. I’ve done so many starts and it’s been my structured life for the last 25 years, so it feels really strange,” he said.
“But it’s less than a year away now… I’m super looking forward to it and with more races in 2023 I might have to pull back a little bit because I don’t know about (eight) races for an old bloke like me!”
Major changes on the way at the TT include live streaming coverage of the event from 2022 on a dedicated digital channel.
An extended race programme is planned for 2023 - subject to consultation with the Manx public - including an extra race for the Superstock and Supertwin classes and a new Saturday slot for the blue riband Senior race.
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