Pain in Spain as John crashes out

John McGuinness''Pictures by Honda Racing
John McGuinness''Pictures by Honda Racing
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JOHN McGuinness was denied a top four finish at the latest round of the World Endurance Championship when a crash in the final hour brought his race to a premature end, fortunately without injury.

Competing in the eight-hour race at Albacete, Spain, the Morecambe-based rider and Honda TT Legends team-mate Steve Plater had enjoyed a strong weekend of competition and were lying in fourth place when the crash occurred with just 50 minutes remaining. The bike was too damaged to continue.

Up until then, everything had been going to plan and with dry, sunny conditions, first qualifying saw Plater set the pace for the majority of the session before ending up second quickest, and when it was John’s turn he was able to record consistent lap times before a small crash brought his session to an end.

The third member of the team, Keith Amor, although not racing, practiced also and the combined average time of 1.32.65 was good enough for a fine fifth place.

Remaining in fifth after second qualifying, hopes were high going into the race and, sure enough, their good form continued.

By mid-race distance they were up into fourth place with both riders lapping consistently but in John’s final stint, it literally went wrong in the closing seconds and, just before he pulled into the pits to hand over to Plater for the final time, he slid out of the action.

With the bike too damaged to get it back to the pits for repairs he reluctantly had to retire from the race, a cruel end to what had been an excellent weekend.

Speaking later, John said: “In the first practice session Steve and I were on a similar sort of pace and the development we’d done on the bike at the Bol d’Or was really paying dividends.”

See The Visitor (25-05-11) for full story.