John McGuinness says he will hang up his leathers if he manages to draw level with Joey Dunlop’s record haul of Isle of Man TT wins.
Almost 17 years after his death, Dunlop remains the most successful rider ever around the Mountain Course with 26 victories to his name, the last of which he achieved in 2000 when he clinched a treble – including the Formula 1 success he so badly wanted on the Honda SP1.
McGuinness is only three wins away from joining Dunlop at the top of the TT’s most-wins table and the Morecambe Missile, who turns 45 next month, says he would call a halt to his illustrious career if he achieves the feat.
He claimed his most recent win in the shortened four-lap Senior TT in 2015 and is hoping Honda’s brand new CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 will give him the extra edge he needs to climb the top step again in the blue riband race in June.
“I genuinely think so (will retire) if I get 26 wins,” said the Honda Racing rider, speaking at the official launch of the TT.
“I’ve been thinking about retirement a lot and about all the races I’ve won around here.
“Looking back, the 2015 Senior would have been a great time to do it.
“I’ll be 45 in a few weeks and I’m becoming an old man, but Joey was still winning when he was 48.
“I wouldn’t like to do it on the electric bike, I’d want to equal Joey’s record on a petrol bike.
“There’s a new bike out this year and I want to see if I can still cut it.
“If everything is right on the day then there’s no reason why I can’t win another big bike race.”
This year’s Isle of Man TT festival kicks off on May 27 with McGuinness switching from number one to number five.