John McGuinness insists career will end on his terms

John McGuinness at the Vauxhall International North West 200.  Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press
John McGuinness at the Vauxhall International North West 200. Photo Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

John McGuinness has insisted he will retire on his own terms as he continues his recovery from a career-threatening crash.

The Morecambe Missile suffered serious leg injuries as well as breaking his back and ribs after a high-speed accident during practice at the North West 200 in Northern Ireland in May.

Now 46, the Isle of Man TT legend says he could return to the event in 2018 but admits big superbikes may be too much for him in the future.

There are plenty of other options for McGuinness who has enjoyed success around the Mountain Course on the TT Zero for electric bikes and in other races.

“It is possible that I will race at the North West again, in the smaller classes, on a 600 or a Supertwin maybe,” McGuinness said.

“The big bikes might just be out of my reach after the injury but we will see what happens.

“The recovery has been tough but bike racers are made of different gravy.

“I’ve done the North West for 24 years and only crashed once before when I slipped off at Juniper chicane in 2004.

“There’s no way I want to end my career upside down on a golf course!

“If I do retire, I want to retire under my rules.”

The 23-time TT winner is a legend of the sport and a popular figure with road racing fans.

That support has been a big help since the incident that saw him miss this year’s Isle of Man festival.

“The fans I’ve met all want me to come back,” McGuinness said.

“I’ve been racing for a long time and I have missed it.

“I still think I have a little bit left but I don’t have anything to prove.”

North West 200 event director Mervyn Whyte said: “John has been a strong supporter of the North West for over two decades and has been of great assistance to me and the race team during that time.

“He is always willing to help promote races, to offer any advice we require and we are very grateful for that.

“We wish him a speedy recovery and he will always be very welcome at the North West 200 whether he is racing or not.”