MCGUIN­NESS OUT OF THE TT

Fast Bikes - - UPFRONT -

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.

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