Retro Rewind: John McGuinness's 23rd and latest Isle of Man TT win may go down as his greatest ever
Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness claimed his 23rd and most recent victory around the Mountain Course with a stirring performance in the 2015 Senior.
The Morecambe man had earned his 22nd TT success with a second consecutive win in the electric bike race earlier during race week on the Japanese Mugen machine, defeating team-mate Bruce Anstey.
And the 43-year-old edged even closer to Ballymoney great Joey Dunlop’s benchmark of 26 wins with a sensational victory in the PokerStars Senior race, leaving McGuinness requiring only three more wins to draw level with the ‘King of the Mountain’.
His Senior triumph was arguably McGuinness’s finest hour at the iconic motorcycling festival, with the popular English rider smashing the lap record for the race from a standing start with a speed of 131.850mph before becoming the fastest rider in TT history with a phenomenal speed of 132.701mph on lap two.
"Huge question mark" over North West 200 in 2023, warns Mervyn Whyte
‘Still hope for North West 200’ says Ulster road racing legend Phillip McCallen
Linfield hit by two-goal lead loss in late Europa first-leg drama
Phillip McCallen optimistic Ulster Grand Prix will return in 2023 as talks resume with Tourism NI
Oran Kearney pays tribute to Gareth McConaghie on his retirement
After a relatively subdued week by McGuinness’s high standards, his imperious performance in the blue riband race to land the sport’s most prized trophy proved that he still had plenty left in the tank.
McGuinness was now within touching distance of Joey’s record and said that drawing level with the Northern Ireland hero on the roll of honour was a distinct possibility.
“I get reminded of it all the time [Joey Dunlop’s record]. It’s a dream come true to win one TT and I never thought I’d be sat here at my age with 23 wins,” said McGuinness, who has won the Senior TT seven times - putting him on en equal footing with Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood as the most prolific winners of the historic trophy.
“I don’t know where it’s coming from but I just keep plugging away and doing my own thing, but we just keep pinching one here, there and everywhere and we’re real close to Joey now.
“To match Joey’s 26 and hang my boots up would be a great thing to do but we still need three wins, I’m getting older and these guys are getting stronger and stronger.
“I’ll have a good sit down with my family, with all my loyal sponsors and Honda as a manufacturer and see if they still believe I can win,” he added.
“If they get behind me again and everybody does then… I don’t want to retire, I just love racing my bikes too much and this place won’t let go of me – this TT track has got hold of me. It’s like a drug and it won’t let go.”
McGuinness - fourth in the Superbike race - defied odds of 16-1 to stun his rivals with a breath-taking ride on the Honda Racing Fireblade, securing victory by more than 14 seconds from James Hillier on the Quattro Plant/Muc-Off Kawasaki.
He blasted the race record for a four-lap Senior TT, previously set by comeback king Ian Hutchinson during his record-breaking five-in-a-week romp in 2010, by more than a minute.
The race was restarted over the shorter distance after Jamie Hamilton sustained serious injuries in a high-speed crash after Molyneux’s at the end of the Cornk-y-Voddy straight.
Yorkshireman Hutchinson, who was on target for a four-timer, lost vital ground on lap two after running on at Signpost corner, eventually dropping back to third behind Hillier after developing a hole in the exhaust of his PBM Kawasaki.
It was a sensational finale to a race week that had everything and once more it was old warhorse McGuinness who had the final say, announcing his comeback from the injury that plagued him in 2014 in indisputable fashion.
McGuinness, who almost cracked the sub-17 minute barrier on his second lap with a time from Cronk-ny-mona to Cronk-ny-mona of 17m 00.046s, said: “I probably doubted myself a little bit to be honest through the week but my mates said ‘you can still do it’, and Neil Tuxworth still believed I could do it, so I pushed as hard as I could and here we are with seven Senior wins and 23 TT wins.
“I can’t believe it. I’m an old codger now with a bit of a belly around the old waist and stuff but my bike worked awesome and I used all my 19 years of experience into those four laps.”
Guy Martin finished fourth on the Tyco BMW ahead of Michael Dunlop (Buildbase BMW), who was left battered and bruised after crashing out of the Superbike race on the final lap when he collided with a slower rider.