Mcguin­ness life sto­ries

He’s hav­ing a tough week, but he’s had an epic ca­reer, as re­vealed in his new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Michael Guy SPORTS ED­I­TOR

Open John Mcguin­ness’ au­to­bi­og­ra­phy on any page and you’re al­most guar­an­teed to find a story that will ei­ther have you laugh­ing into your corn­flakes or the hairs on the back of your neck stand­ing on end.

His story is one of ded­i­ca­tion and per­se­ver­ance as he has climbed through the ranks of short cir­cuit and road rac­ing to ul­ti­mately be­come the great­est liv­ing TT racer. And while his suc­cess is un­prece­dented, like his all-time hero Joey Dun­lop, Mcguin­ness has stayed true to his roots. He’s a fam­ily man, liv­ing to this day in his home­town of More­combe. There are no rac­ing di­ets or hard­core gym ses­sions, but he’s still mates with Valentino Rossi and he likes a bit of What­sapp ac­tion with Jorge Lorenzo!

In a week he’d prob­a­bly rather for­get (see p4), we grab some high­lights from his fas­ci­nat­ing new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy...

Rossi… he calls me MCF***!

I re­mem­ber sit­ting about with Rossi, Mark Web­ber and Ja­son Crump feel­ing mas­sively out of my depth. Look­ing back, I had no real rea­son to feel like that. I was def­i­nitely part of the gang that day, but in my head I was think­ing, ‘Je­sus Christ, that’s Rossi and Web­ber, sat next to Crump and the guy who de­signs For­mula One cars for Red Bull. I’m just Jon­nie Mac, the brickie from More­cambe. What the hell am I do­ing here?’

It was good though, be­ing ac­cepted by com­pany like that.

Rossi and I started chat­ting to each other through Twit­ter. Even­tu­ally we swapped num­bers and he in­vited me out to his dirt track ranch in his home town. Un­for­tu­nately, I’ve not had a chance to get out there yet be­cause of my rac­ing com­mit­ments, which is

mas­sively frus­trat­ing. We still share text mes­sages and weird pic­tures of stuff. He calls me MCF***. We have a good craic when we can.

The only way I can de­scribe how it feels to have the great­est mo­tor­cy­cle racer of all time look­ing you in the eye on the TT podium with com­plete adu­la­tion is that it feels cool. It cer­tainly greases your ego. That man is en­ti­tled to ev­ery penny that he’s worth, but ev­ery now and then I think about what he’s earned and reckon that maybe I should have earned more than I have for do­ing what I’ve done. Ap­par­ently he’s worth £110 mil­lion. Am I worth that? No, I am not!

Maybe if I’d have had a man­ager from the start I’d have a few more shillings in my pocket and wouldn’t have cause to think like that. Ei­ther way, to be able to call Valentino Rossi my mate is very cool. I speak to Jorge Lorenzo on What­sapp as well. The magic that

‘Ap­par­ently Rossi is worth £110 mil­lion. Am I worth that? No, I am not! ’

those guys do makes them he­roes to me. They con­sis­tently make it look easy. Guys like you and me can only ever imag­ine how it must feel to be able to do what they do on a mo­tor­cy­cle. They’re finely honed guys who can per­form day in and day out, while car­ry­ing enor­mous pres­sure on their shoul­ders. They go big, ev­ery sin­gle time. It’s great that I’ve had the chance to be mates with them. It’s good to know that if I was pass­ing through, they’d stick the ket­tle on for me and vice-versa.

In awe of David Jefferies

If I shut my eyes and think about David Jefferies my pal, rather than DJ the TT racer, the first thing I picture is him do­ing dough­nuts in his truck in the pad­dock at Oul­ton Park. I can see him hang­ing out the win­dow laugh­ing his head off while Suzy screams at him to stop. Glen Richards and some­body else in the pas­sen­ger seat and there’s f***ing smoke ev­ery­where.

Lis­ten­ing to this truck be­ing tor­tured is deaf­en­ing, but Dave is laugh­ing. He was still laugh­ing when he skid­ded over a ca­ble and knocked out the power to the whole pad­dock.

When I think about DJ the TT racer, I see him edg­ing away from me in the dis­tance with a big black line com­ing off his Pirelli tyre. He’s on the back wheel of the V&M R1 and his fat arse is hang­ing off. He’s us­ing that ex­tra in­gre­di­ent, that lit­tle piece of some­thing that I just didn’t have at the time. I’m frus­trated and com­pletely in awe of what he’s do­ing.

We al­ways won­dered if was he push­ing too hard , but he’d come in and jump off his bike and there wouldn’t be a drop of sweat. He was never blow­ing out of his arse. It was easy for him. He was never ner­vous and was al­ways taking things to the next level. When I was flap­ping be­fore a race, Dave would just be taking the piss. He was made from dif­fer­ent gravy from ev­ery­one else. He had no kids as well, he didn’t leave a mas­sive trail of ag­gro be­hind him when he died which l al­ways think makes things eas­ier for ev­ery­one.

I know who’d I want in my team….

The way I look at it, if a man­u­fac­turer wants to win TT races, they just need to pick up the re­sults sheets. Hutchy, Michael Dun­lop and me are em­ployed, but we three must surely be the guys ev­ery­one wants on their bikes. I know that if I was putting the team to­gether and I had the bud­get, I’d be straight on the phone to Michael and Hutchy, ask­ing what they want to come and ride for me. I’d be my third choice rider, then Peter Hick­man, as I be­lieve he can do it. There are one or two other riders I be­lieve in. Conor Cum­mins is def­i­nitely one of them.

Un­for­tu­nately, there’s a busi­ness el­e­ment to rac­ing that not ev­ery­one thinks about. Some­times things that you think are com­pletely ob­vi­ous and should def­i­nitely hap­pen don’t come to­gether be­cause of busi­ness. Pas­sion and tal­ent will only get you so far.

At the sharp end, busi­ness mat­ters as much as any­thing else. That said, I know that if I was on the bones of my arse and had no money to go rac­ing, I could jump in the car and head for Bat­ley where Pad­getts are. I’d tell Clive I was f***ed and ask for help. I know for a fact that he’d give me a bike.

That’s love for you. The PBM Aprilia shares John’s Day­tona ho­tel room in 1997

Mcguin­ness on the TT’S top step... with some crazy Ital­ian fan Mcguin­ness aged 21 in his dad’s front room. It’s quite a haul, but he’s cap­tured a few more since then Mcguin­ness ac­costed by crazy Ital­ian stalker on the TT’S top step...

Mcguin­ness is noth­ing if not fru­gal, sav­ing wear and tear on his front tyre

Mal­lory Park, 1992, rac­ing in the FZR400 Shell schol­ar­ship

John on crutches in Tener­ife, with long-suf­fer­ing wife Becky

‘If I was flap­ping be­fore a race, DJ would just be taking the piss’

Early days glam­our. In the back of his van with his brother and fu­ture wife Becky

Mcguin­ness taking full ad­van­tage of a car­a­van, fol­low­ing years sleep­ing in his bat­tered old van

His first T T in 1996; team boss Paul Bird is ready with a drink


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