Ten With: John McGuin­ness

We catch up with McPint to check on his fit­ness and his TT plans.

Fast Bikes - - CONTENTS -

FB: Where are you fit­ness-wise?

JM: Per­cent­age wise, I have no idea re­ally – I was never the fittest guy in the world any­way! I was dy­ing to get the big cage off my leg, but when I did I only man­aged three weeks be­fore re-break­ing it walk­ing on the beach… I wasn’t even do­ing any­thing daft. Even the sur­geon was gut­ted and said it doesn’t usu­ally hap­pen. When it re-broke I lost a bit of heart and had a cou­ple of months feel­ing down in the dumps, but now it’s healed I’ve been able to get back out on the bikes and do some stuff. Thank­fully, it feels al­right – the ac­tual leg doesn’t hurt, the prob­lem was I broke my back in four places and all my ribs, which hurts more to be hon­est. I used to spend loads of time do­ing mo­tocross and minibikes and stuff to keep bike-fit, so it’s bloody hard work now I’ve had so long off.

FB: Can you get back to the same level of fit­ness?

JM: I’m at a bit of a cross­roads. I’m 46 now and I need to work harder to get to the same fit­ness, but it’s def­i­nitely pos­si­ble and that’s the aim. I’ve got to lose a bit of tim­ber as well, as ex­tra weight on the legs doesn’t help. I don’t want to fin­ish my rac­ing ca­reer up­side down on a golf course in Ire­land, es­pe­cially as I didn’t do any­thing wrong. A bro­ken leg and bro­ken back isn’t ideal, but I’m sure I can get back on it.

FB: Will you take on the TT again?

JM: The mas­ter­plan is the TT, but I re­ally wouldn’t mind do­ing some­thing a bit dif­fer­ent, like the Du­cati Tri-Op­tions Cup with BSB too – Bri­tish cir­cuits are mega and I need a bit more di­rec­tion, as Nor­ton is great but I want to do more than just the Isle of Man TT. The ul­ti­mate goal is to line up there next year and be com­pet­i­tive again. I need to have it in my head that I can still win it. If I’m not lin­ing up know­ing there is a chance I can stand on the top of the podium, I don’t want to be there.

FB: What’s the draw for bike rac­ing?

JM: I love rid­ing bikes. It’s noth­ing to do with any glitz or glam­our, I’ve got great spon­sors, great peo­ple around me and there’s no bet­ter feel­ing. I get paid money to live an awe­some life­style and there’s noth­ing bet­ter than be­ing the star of the show. I still love get­ting the camper ready, go­ing to the races, set­ting up and just crack­ing on. It’s a great life to lead.

FB: What do you make of the pace of the top lads at the 2018 TT?

JM: I’ve been study­ing it a lot and I think it’s a com­bi­na­tion of things. The one that sticks out is the amount of test­ing they’ve done, go­ing to Spain, do­ing some rounds of BSB and hit­ting the ground run­ning in per­fect con­di­tions. They’re push­ing on hard as well, the bikes are good, and they’ve got the tools to make it work. I’ve been in that po­si­tion be­fore – they’re just good, strong lads. Dean (Har­ri­son) and Pete (Hick­man) were spe­cial this year and the cream al­ways comes to the top, no mat­ter what.

FB: Were you sad to leave Honda?

JM: I was part of their jour­ney for over 10 years and we had a lot of suc­cess with them… I pretty much ei­ther broke down or won. I’m dis­ap­pointed with how it panned out, es­pe­cially as I went through a fence be­cause their bike ac­cel­er­ated at 42% throt­tle into a cor­ner. No mat­ter what ex­pe­ri­ence you have, if that hap­pens you’ve had it. I thought morally they’d have done more for me af­ter ev­ery­thing, but that was that. I was just a tooth in their cog at the end of the day…

FB: What’s Nor­ton like com­pared to Honda?

JM: Smaller, tighter and more en­thu­si­as­tic to be hon­est. They’re a bunch of lads in a small firm tak­ing on the world, who want the Hol­ly­wood story. I didn’t have many op­tions to be hon­est – I was sit­ting there with a cage on my leg when Stu­art (Gar­ner, Nor­ton’s CEO) gave us a call and it went from there – he con­vinced me pretty eas­ily, es­pe­cially with the po­ten­tial of Josh (Brooks) and Davo (John­son) the year be­fore. I reckon we can get it on the box!

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