MCGUINNESS OUT OF THE TT
Just before going to press, Isle Of Man TT legend John McGuinness had something of a horror smash at the North West 200, which now means he’ll miss this year’s Tourist Trophy. This sadly casts doubt on his racing future in its entirety, too.
The NW200 was the first competitive outing for the official Honda squad, as they tried to get the new Fireblade sorted in time for the TT. Testing prior to the NW200 had been difficult for both John and his team-mate Guy Martin, as they’ve struggled to get the new bike up to speed. They’re not alone, with bikes arriving late it’s been a rush against time but they were hoping that some NW200 action would see them fit to compete at the world’s most famous road race to their usual high standard.
During the qualifying session for the Superbike race, McGuinness crashed at Primrose Hill. After being taken to Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast he was diagnosed with a compound leg fracture, four broken vertebrae and some broken ribs. That’s a nasty list all in. Up until the qualifying session things hadn’t been going swimmingly, with Martin especially off the pace. Following John’s accident Honda withdrew from the races entirely, preferring to analyse the incident at their HQ before letting the bikes back on track. Whether or not the woes many other teams are experiencing with the new Honda in various racing series has anything to do with John’s accident, or not, remains to be seen.
As for John, and given his age and the fact of what he’s achieved within the sport up until now, could this mean the end? He’s in his mid-forties, he’s won pretty much everything you’d want to in the road racing sphere, he could probably be a Honda ambassador for life when retired, and he’s also suffered from injury in the past.
A wrist injury held him back for quite a while a few years back, but the litany of injuries sustained at the NW200 will take rather longer to recuperate from, although when fixed may not be as limiting as wrist injuries when it comes to riding a bike, as nasty as they sound. This would be the only bright light for McPint fans who want to see him return, and for John himself if he doesn’t believe he’s done just yet.
McGuinness’s legendary status is already assured. He has won 23 TT races, only three short of Joey Dunlop’s all-time highest tally of 26 victories, and whatever happens next his place in history is secure.