JOHN McGuinness made it Isle of Man TT win number 16 on Saturday when he took a superb victory in the six-lap Superbike race, the opening event of the 2011 festival.
Riding the Honda TT Legends Superbike machine, the Morecambe man was embroiled in an early tussle with fellow Honda rider Bruce Anstey in the first two laps. But when the Kiwi went out on lap three, John was able to control the race from the front with his eventual winning margin being a commanding 56 seconds.
Starting at number one, John set off at a scorching pace and by Glen Helen on the opening lap, he was leading, albeit by just one second.
Anstey was matching him mile for mile though and at the end of the first lap, John’s speed of 130.786mph saw his lead stand at just one second.
Second time around and the duo were scorching round the Mountain Course and although John increased his speed to 131.199mph, Anstey lapped slightly quicker to lead at one third race distance by just under a second.
However, a superb pit stop saw John leave the pits back in the lead by some 12 seconds, an advantage that remained until later in the lap when Anstey was forced to retire.
That meant John now had a lead of 20 seconds over new second placed man Guy Martin.
For the remainder of the race, John was able to control affairs from the head of the field, his gap over Martin staying constant but when the Suzuki retired on the fifth lap, John was over a minute clear of his nearest rival and able to fully enjoy the race.
With the Honda Superbike running faultlessly, John could ease off slightly in the closing stages and he crossed the line for his 16th TT win and 30th podium, 56 seconds ahead of fellow Honda rider Cameron Donald.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted John said; “I’m speechless really and it’s unbelievable to be sitting here now with another Superbike win to my name, for some reason I never thought I’d do it. Bruce was pushing really hard at the beginning and I dropped back a bit as I was a bit tense and blowing a bit whilst my arms were also pumping up a bit.
“I had a real good go on the second lap and only just stopped in time when I came in to the pits so probably made up a bit of time there but the pit stop was terrific and the boys did an awesome job on both occasions. They’re people who I trust and who have been with me a long time and that gave me a bit of breathing space whilst Bruce going out soon after obviously helped.
“Going off at number one and riding for essentially a new team created a bit of pressure and I was definitely nervous today but as the race wore on I felt stronger and stronger so all the riding in World Endurance has definitely paid off. Seeing such a huge crowd out there cheering me on was a really special feeling and I want to thank them and also let my good mate Stuart Easton know that win’s for him.”