MCGUINNESS ‘I EV A TEXT FROM RO
TT hero humbled by support from sports stars, but says he’s not done yet
“I am just a brickie from Morecambe who can ride a bike fast now and again,” that was the humble opening line of John Mcguinness’ acceptance speech as he received the prestigious Segrave trophy in London a fortnight ago.
It is a rare event for bikers to be feted in the plush Pall Mall bastion of the RAC Club but as “the greatest living exponent of the TT” the 23-time TT winner was a worthy recipient of the honour.
“When I was first told about the award I was flat-out testing and I stuck it in the diary, but then I had a bit of a study and thought, wow, this is special,” the 43-year-old said.
“It started in 1930 and the first winners were pioneering guys, pushing the envelope. The first guy to win flew across the Atlantic, and the winner’s list is full of Commodore this and Commander that. Can you imagine those boys in their day? Fag on the go, jumping into a plane not knowing what was at the end of it.”
Few would di sagree that Mcguinness has achieved more than enough in his 25-year racing career to join the ranks of fellow biking greats like Geoff Duke, Peter Collins, Barry Sheene, Mike Hailwood, Steve Webster, Carl Fogarty, Joey Dunlop and John Surtees who are previous Segrave winners.
“Stirling Moss (a double winner) is here today and I got a lovely email from Murray Walker,” an obviously chuffed Mcguinness smiled.
“There were great messages from Martin Brundle and Mark Webber and I even got a text from Rossi. It is nice that everybody likes me, apart from the wife!”
Awards like these are often handed out at the end of long and distinguished careers but retirement remains the furthest thing from the Morecambe Missile’s mind.
“It’s rock n’roll at the moment, the job’s on fire,” he grinned. “I honestly thought I’d be well retired by my age because when I was 21 flying around on my Yamaha TZ I’d be looking at a 43-year-old and thinking what an old bastard he is. Now I’m that old bastard!”
There is an obvious aura of confidence around the Honda star these days and when he is asked if this latest award should be regarded as a footnote to last year’s remarkable performance or a primer for something special still to come the TT legend pulls no punches.
“I can’t see any reason why not,” he says quietly. “Yeah, Hickman is the new show in town and there is Hutchy on the BMW, but I am just working away behind the scenes, under the radar if you like, doing what I do. I am doing lots of laps, lots of miles, and I am ready.
“When that flag drops I’ll be the first bike away, and may the best man win.”