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