McGuinness sets sights on idol Dunlop’s record

John McGuiness during the Supersport race. Picture: Pacemaker Press International
John McGuiness during the Supersport race. Picture: Pacemaker Press International

AS a teenager John McGuinness had a shrine to Isle of Man Tourist Trophy legend Joey Dunlop on his bedroom wall.

And, despite his 2012 experience petering out due to inclement weather, the Morecambe Missile admits he’s already looking forward to edging ever close to the late, great Northern Irish rider next year.

Much like his boyhood idol was to him, McGuinness is a modern-day deity around the 37.73 mile Mountain Course and last week only served to strengthen his legend.

Two more wins – taking the former bricklayer to 19 overall – leaves the 40-year-old just seven behind Dunlop and, but for the island’s fickle weather gods intervening, he might have been six adrift.

The stand-out favourite McGuinness could only watch as the rain washed out his chance of winning the PokerStars Senior TT, raced on the very same machinery which he demolished the field on to win last Saturday’s Dainese Superbike contest.

Another win came on the Superstock machinery – his first ever – and while ultimately frustrated he couldn’t make it three, McGuinness left the island a happy man.

He said: “I think it was the right decision to cancel the Superbike race. I’d love to have been waiting for the sun to shine to race on the Sunday so we could race, but that’s not an option and for me, the track just wasn’t quite right.

“Racing my favourite bike here, starting at the front and possibly winning races is the best thing in the world, but I’m also really nervous about riding the big bikes in patchy and damp conditions.

“It’s disappointing for everybody but tomorrow’s another day and we’re already looking forward to next year.”

McGuinness’ two wins also helped him lift yet another trophy on the island – the Joey Dunlop Championship Trophy – awarded for the overall best-performer across the entire race week.

A pair of top-five finishes in the Monster Energy Supersport races saw him finish seven points clear of Kiwi runner-up Bruce Anstey.

And having once-again confirmed himself as the darling of the legions of TT fans that flock to the Isle of Man, McGuinness insisted his opportunity to thank them on Saturday was a welcome one.

Although the Senior TT was cancelled, McGuinness did a parade lap of the island with MotoGP star Cal Crutchlow and he added: “It was disappointing not to race properly but I tried to acknowledge as many fans as I could around the track, it’s been a long day for all of us.

“The fans have been great all week, I hope they’ve enjoyed. It’s a disappointing way to end the week but it was the right decision, I’ll be back next year in any case.”