Isle of Man TT: John McGuinness - I’m more motivated than I have been for a long time

John McGuinness tops the podium after winning his 20th Isle of Man TT race the Pokerstars Senior TT.
John McGuinness tops the podium after winning his 20th Isle of Man TT race the Pokerstars Senior TT.
  • McGuinness motivated ahead of Isle of Man TT
  • Road race great feels he has a few years left
  • Morecambe Missile finds form and fitness after tough 2014

John McGuinness knows exactly when it will be time to call it quits.

The resort’s Isle of Man TT legend turned 43 last month but isn’t going anywhere just yet as he looks ahead to the 2015 festival of racing getting underway on Saturday.

John McGuinness leads Bruce Anstey at Ballacraine during opening qualifying at the 2014 Isle of Man TT. Picture:  Pacemaker Press International

John McGuinness leads Bruce Anstey at Ballacraine during opening qualifying at the 2014 Isle of Man TT. Picture: Pacemaker Press International

After a wrist injury limited his efforts round the famous Mountain Course last year it would have been easy to call it a day.

But McGuinness is back again with one thing on his mind – winning.

“I’m more motivated this year than I have been for a long time,” said the Honda rider, who will have a week of practice before racing gets underway on June 6.

“We’ve worked hard to get everything right, everything how we want it.

There’s two, three or four years left in me if I really want to do it

“Last year it would have been easy to say I’ve had a great career with nothing to prove but I want to get on that top step.

“It feels good. There’s two, three or four years left in me if I really want to do it.”

McGuinness knows that it is his drive that will determine how many more times he packs up the unmistakable family motorhome and heads across the water from Heysham to the Isle of Man as he doesn’t want to simply make up the numbers.

“I hope it goes sooner rather than later to be honest,” he said.

“I don’t want to keep going back and back and falling through the field.

“When you’ve been successful the enjoyment bit is winning.

“Last year was the first time I’d been waved past the winners’ enclosure and I didn’t like that.”

Winning may be a motivator but McGuinness insists it isn’t with breaking the record for number of wins on the island in mind.

It is a topic the Morecambe ace will answer questions on several times between now and June 12 when the 2015 festival finishes as he sits on 21 wins, five behind the late, great Joey Dunlop.

He does concede however that it would be the perfect way to cap a legendary career.

“I never ever think about it until someone brings it up,” said McGuinness. “And it’s brought up all the time!

“It would be the unbelievable icing on the cake, it’s just job done isn’t it?

“To match Joey would be unbelievable. I’ve had a few cheeky little threats from over the water (Dunlop was from Northern Ireland).

“I don’t know whether they’re genuine or not. I wouldn’t want to work it out!

“But if you started off racing and somebody dealt you a pack of cards and said you’re going to win five TTs you’d probably go, ‘I’ll have that’.

“I’ve got to win five more on top of what I’ve already won to even equal it. I don’t think about it but it would be awesome to do it. It would be nice to hang your boots up at 26 wins.”

History and the form of his current rivals suggest McGuinness does have time on his side when it comes to the record but he knows it is a tall order.

“The facts are Joey won three on three different bikes at 48 which is unbelievable,” he said.

“I don’t know how long it could take.

“Bruce Anstey the lap record holder is 45. He looks leaner than ever and was on the podium at the North Wests (in Northern Ireland earlier in the month).

“He doesn’t test, doesn’t ride, he just turns up. He’s a magician, a complete and utter freak of nature. We’re riding, we’re testing, going to Le Mans or Spain and he just rocks up, gets out of bed and boom he’s on the pace.

“If I keep my fitness up and the enthusiasm up then I could match Joey.

“I still think five is a lot to win. I’ve lead five other races and broken down so maybe I should be there already.”

Whatever the end number is one thing is clear. Every time John McGuinness tops a podium it feels like a bonus.

“I never thought I’d win 21,” said McGuinness.

“When I was flying round the streets in 1990 with the missus on the back I should have been in jail or through a hedge really.

“It’s been unbelievable. It goes by that quickly too.

“Where did 21 wins come from? How am I 43?”

Like time, the Morecambe Missile certainly flies when he’s having fun.

McGuinness feeling fit and strong

John McGuinness is looking forward to being fully fit at the 2015 Isle of Man TT races after being dogged by injury last year.

A wrist problem hit the Morecambe Missile’s chances 12 months ago with McGuinness admitting it maybe wasn’t wise to have raced at all.

He said: “I feel good. 
“Last year I was under the cosh a bit with the injury. I probably shouldn’t have really gone in hindsight but it’s easy to say that now.

“When you’re a racer you just think you’re fit and everything’s alright and I wasn’t really.

“I got through it the best I could but it was difficult last year.

“My mate (former team mate) Simon Andrews got killed at the North West, the wrist was still sore, I had a bad TT, I went to the Classic TT and broke down.

“And I was like ‘maybe it’s not meant to be’.

“I was struggling with some things over the winter but when my deals came together I got massively motivated once again.

“I’m all in gear, I’m ready for the next chapter.”