Motorcycle ace John McGuinness says bookies’ odds writing him off fired him up to achieve his most sensational TT race win ever.
The 43-year-old Morecambe speed king said seeing he was an 18/1 outsider – despite his excellent past record of six wins in the event – motivated him to win his seventh Senior TT title around the iconic Isle of Man road course with a recordbreaking lap.
With a top quality field of younger riders all reaching peak form, not many experts tipped our John to equal Mike Hailwood’s record of seven wins in the ‘Blue Riband’ Senior race.
But John’s stunning triumph on Friday afternoon saw him destroy the field, winning by a 14.2 second margin after reaching a top speed of 132.731mph on his Honda bike.
Speaking exclusively to The Visitor after returning to his home in Bare, ‘The Morecambe Missile’ said: “It’s unbelievable, a dream come true. What a race to win.
“It’s something I’m really proud of, winning that race against all those youngsters.
“The bar is going up and up and I’ve got to go up with them.
“I’m 43 now, and I’m not in the greatest shape in the world, but mentally I’m strong.
“When you reach my age, you look crap but I feel great, and I still know how to do it.
“I just needed to find that little bit of heart and determination, and belief.
“On Thursday I had a bit of family time. I just sat on the grass, without a bike in sight, watching seals bobbing around in the water.
“On Friday, I felt fresh.
“I knew I had my work cut out, but the island was bouncing. Coming home on lap 4 was just fantastic. I was controlling the lead and it was the best feeling in the world.”
John was roared home by a partisan crowd who’d gathered on the island for the annual race meeting, hoping to see McGuinness roll back the years.
The huge crowds included his wife Becky, son Ewan, 14, and daughter Maisie, 5, as well as his dad John Snr and other family members.
John and his entourage then went out and celebrated by sampling the local nightlife, with John saying his night ended at 6am on Saturday!
‘The Morecambe Missile’ had experienced mixed fortunes during his six races of the week, finishing in fourth, seventh, eighth twice, but also winning the one-lap Zero Challenge last Wednesday.
“It’s been a tough week,” he said.
“The weather was hit and miss. But there’s a lot of people put a lot of effort in. It’s not just me, it’s the whole team.”
John’s two wins this week have put him within striking distance of Joey Dunlop, who holds the all-time record for the most number of wins at the TT. McGuinness now has 23 to Dunlop’s 26.
“Joey Dunlop was my all-time hero.
“When I was 18, I just wanted to ride bikes. I never dreamed where I would end up. Now I’m knocking on the door. There’s no massive pressure for me to do it. But it would be great to be the greatest of all-time.”