John McGuinness is the recipient of this year’s Sunshine Ambassador Award.
Chosen by The Visitor editorial team. ‘The Morecambe Missile’ has been honoured for his achievements in motorsport which have helped put our town on the map.
John has notched 23 wins in the annual TT road races in the Isle of Man, placing him second on the all-time list behind his hero Joey Dunlop.
He has earned plaudits all over the world for his nerveless skills on a motorbike around the dangerous 38-mile (61km) street course.
Books have been written about him and he will soon be the centrepiece of a lasting tribute to his talents, a mural on a shop wall in Morecambe town centre.
John was presented with the Ambassador Award by Lynne Lord, of our Sunshine Ball sponsors Wright and Lord solicitors, beside the mural outside Colin Brown’s hairdressers on Victoria Street,
“I feel very proud,” he said.
“I was born in the Queen Vic hospital not too far from here. I love Morecambe, we’ve got a really cool place here and I’m proud of it. Wherever I go in the world I always give my hometown a little push.
“I really appreciate this award, thank you very much.”
John, 44, lives in Bare with his wife Becky, son Ewan and daughter Maisie.
He first went on a motorbike at the age of three. His dad John Snr had a bike garage in Morecambe so he was fascinated by two wheels for as long as he can remember.
His first visit to the Isle of Man was in 1982 when he was 10 years old to watch his dad racing at Jurby.
He then made various trips over to the island on his BMX cycle catching the ferry from Heysham to Douglas, to spectate during school holidays
John first raced as an 18 year old and bought his first really serious bike in 1992 when he purchased a Yamaha TZ250 with money made from collecting mussels in Morecambe Bay.
He once said: “When I was 18, I just wanted to ride bikes. I never dreamed where I would end up.”
His first race in the TTs was in 1996 and his first win came in the Lightweight class in 1999, the same year he became British 250cc motorcycling champion on the track.
2006 was his greatest year at the TTs as he won three races (Senior, Superbike and Supersport) and he lowered the outright lap record four times. Then in 2007 he was the first to break the 130mph barrier as he won two more races at the event.
A motocross accident weeks before the start of the 2014 road racing season left him with a bad right wrist injury, and liver and other minor injuries.
But John still raced the TT Zero class in 2014 and won it with an enormous lap record,
Last year earned his seventh Senior TT title around the iconic Isle of Man road course with a record breaking lap, a victory which gave him particular satisfaction as many had written him off.
He also equalled Mike Hailwood’s record of seven wins in the ‘Blue Riband’ Senior race.
John has earned many other honours over the years.
He was awarded the Freedom of Lancaster in 2007 and a recognition award by Morecambe Town Council in 2012.
Earlier this year John was honoured with the Segrave Trophy by the Royal Automobile Club.
In 2012, he won The Visitor Sunshine Award for Sport.
The Ambassador award is sponsored by Wright and Lord Solicitors and is given to a person or organisation who is either a champion of Morecambe or whose achievements have earned publicity for the town.
Sadly John will not be able to attend next Friday’s Sunshine Ball community awards night in person as he will be racing in Ireland in preparation for this year’s TTs.
Previous winners of the Sunshine Ambassador Award:
2010: Ronne Coyles (then known as the Personality Award)
2011: Paul Hayes
2012: The Heartbreaks
2013: Cedric Robinson MBE
2014: Eric Morecambe
2015: Morecambe Football Club