Isle of Man legend, John McGuinness, to race at 2014 Island Classic
Australia beware – Isle of Man phenomenon John McGuinness has been confirmed as a starter for the United Kingdom team in the 2014 Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic historic motorcycle meet at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, next January 24-26.
Thanks to its extraordinary depth, Australia has completely dominated the International Trophy teams battle in the Island Classic to date, but with 41-year-old McGuiness heading Down Under to strengthen the UK roster the reign of home-town ‘terror’ could be over.
UK squad leader, Roger Winfield, is preparing a Honda powered Harris F1 for the 41 year old McGuinness, in what will be his first appearance on Australian race soil.
McGuinness is a motorcycling legend, and any Isle of Man fan knows his incredible scorecard at the world’s toughest road race – a remarkable 20 Isle of Man TT victories, and 41 podiums picked up along the way.
From Lancashire, McGuinness started racing at the Island of Man back in 1996, with his first victory in 1999 when he won the Lightweight 250 TT.
His most recent TT scalp was in late August, when he took the Senior TT for the sixth time – and also set a new lap record of 131.671mph in the process. His 20 victories betters the feats of Mike Hailwood, and stands McGuinness second only to the legendary Joey Dunlop in the TT history books.
As well as ‘pure’ road racing, McGuinness, a bricklayer by trade, is also a regular on the world endurance circuit for the Honda TT Legends team, with a best finish of sixth so far in 2013.
The UK team has never lacked class at the pointy end of the International Trophy field – Jeremy McWilliams has scooped the individual honours in two of the last three years – but now it’s adding even more muscle with not only McGuiness, but also fellow British road racing guns Gary Johnson and Steve Brogan.
Johnson won the Superstock TT at the Isle of Man in 2011, while Brogan has collected two British road racing titles in the last six years, including the ‘Evo’ Superbike class in 2010.
Also joining the UK squad are four-time British national champion, Mike Edwards, and Mick Godfrey who last year finished sixth overall in the International Trophy. There will be a total of 13 Brits in the line up, five racing in the newly formed “Experts” class, five racing in the “Clubman” category and two reserves.
“John McGuinness is a superstar, “ said UK team captain Keith Higgs. “If you have always wanted to get to the Isle of Man to see John race, you’re in luck because I’m thrilled to say that John is heading down under. Where else, apart from the Isle of Man would you want to see him race, but Phillip Island. I can’t wait to see him carve up the place.
“We have an awesome team this year and I think we will give the Aussies a massive run for their money.
“Jeremy is eager to win back the individual trophy, and Mick Godfrey rode particularly well last year, getting faster in every race.
“Brogie struggled a little previously with clutch problems, but that is behind him and Gary Johnson is a very experience racer on all sorts of machinery, and an Isle of Man winner.
“All I can say is the poms are coming, so get ready for a historic showdown!” said Higgs.
America and New Zealand also compete in the International Trophy, with the composition of their 2014 teams to be announced shortly – along with the riders who will defend Australian pride.
The UK squad are well down the road in terms of preparations with Keith Higgs’ coordinating the expats out of Australia, and UK based bike builder Roger Winfield looking after the British troops. Winfield is preparing F1 Harris machines with capacities from 1100 to 1250 cc for McGuinness and his counterparts.
So serious is the Brit campaign, that Winfield is bringing eight mechanics to Australia to ensure they have as much talent in the pits, as they do on the track.
Tickets are available at www.islandclassic.com.au; by calling the toll free number 1300 728 007; or at the gate at the 2014 AMCN Island Classic from January 24-26. For more information visit www.islandclassic.com.au
Honda TT Legends Senior TT Report – McGuinness makes it 20 in epic Senior TT
Honda TT Legends rider John McGuinness wrapped up the 2013 Isle of Man TT races with a superb win in today’s Senior race, taking his 20th TT win and 41st podium in total. Team-mate Michael Dunlop took a close second place to end with four wins and a second from his five races whilst third Honda TT Legends rider Michael Rutter placed sixth, posting his first 130mph+ lap in the process.
The initial race was red flagged after a racing incident and so the race was re-run at the later time of 4.30pm and it was Dunlop who led from McGuinness at the end of the opening lap, the gap between the duo just 1.4s. There was little to choose between the team-mates in the early stages but a lap of 131.272mph gave McGuinness a 2.3s lead at the end of the second lap as the riders came in for their first pit stop.
Dunlop took back a third of a second on the third lap but another 131mph+ lap by McGuinness fourth time around saw the lead go up to six seconds and it gave him the breathing space he needed. The Morecambe Missile added another four seconds to his lead in the final two laps and he was able to come home for his sixth Senior race victory, one fewer than Mike Hailwood. Dunlop was comfortable in second and with Kiwi Bruce Anstey in third it was another Honda 1-2-3.
Rutter, meanwhile, had, arguably, one of his finest ever TT rides and on the opening lap he broke the 130mph barrier for the first time, a lap of 130.137mph on the Honda TT Legends CBR1000RR placing him in an excellent fourth. Although he slipped back two places by half race distance, two more 130mph+ laps, including a final lap of 130.637mph saw him take sixth place at the chequered flag.
“It feels absolutely fantastic to win today and if there’s one race to win, it’s the Senior. I’ve had a good week but a win’s escaped me so do it today with the sun shining and thousands of fans waving me all the way is brilliant. The conditions were incredible, the bike was fantastic and with two superb pit stops we got the job done. I still feel really sharp and I hit all my apexes on the final lap so with a Honda 1-2-3, the job’s a dream!”
“It was a good, enjoyable race and John rode lovely so fair play to him. I had him in sight early on and there wasn’t much between us but I got held up a bit by backmarkers, catching them at the wrong times, and I lost a bit of time there and at the pit stops. No excuses though, the bike was mint and I’m going home with four wins and a second place so I can’t complain with how my week’s gone.”
“I’m thrilled to get sixth place and get my first 130mph lap but it was a hard race as, apart from passing a couple of the later runners, I never saw anyone the entire race! Lapping on your own is never easy and I’d have loved to have been involved in the dices on the roads like John and Michael were in but I’m happy enough. The bike never missed a beat and I’ve really enjoyed myself at this year’s TT.”
— Honda TT Legends Overall TT Report
The 2013 Isle of Man TT has been a resounding success for Honda and the Honda TT Legends, with six out of the seven solo races being won by the team’s riders and seven of the nine solo and sidecar races being won on Honda machinery. Honda’s tally of TT wins now stands at 170.
The week began in spectacular style on Saturday with the Superbike race, which ended in an all-Honda podium. Honda TT Legends’ Michael Dunlop stormed to victory to bring home his first TT win for Honda, 30 years after his uncle Joey Dunlop achieved the same feat. Team-mate John McGuinness took third place behind Wilson Craig Honda’s Cameron Donald and in doing so set a new outright lap record of 131.67mph.
Saturday also hosted the first of the Sidecar races with quadruple World Champion Tim Reeves taking his first TT victory alongside passenger Dan Sayle aboard their Honda-based machine.
The following day saw the first of the Supersport races with Michael Dunlop securing his second win of the week, this time with his own MD Racing Honda team. By the afternoon and the end of the Superstock race, his double had become a hat-trick as he took yet another win and set a stunning new lap record of 131.220mph. McGuinness was also on the podium in third with HM Plant Honda by Padgett’s Motorcycles.
After a day of rest, the races returned on Wednesday with the TT Zero Challenge, the second Sidecar event and the final Supersport battle. Honda TT Legends’ riders Michael Rutter and John McGuinness impressed on their respective electric bikes, with Rutter snatching the win from McGuinness by just 1.67 seconds. The Sidecar race saw former World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall leading from start to finish aboard their Honda machinery to take their first TT victory.
In the Supersport race, Michael Dunlop put in another blistering performance with his MD Racing Honda to secure the win and set another new lap record of 128.667mph. Bruce Anstey and John McGuinness – both riding for HM Plant Honda by Padgett’s Motorcycles – placed second and third respectively to complete another all-Honda podium.
With the majority of the racing complete, all eyes turned to the final and most anticipated battle of the Isle of Man TT – the six-lap Senior. With four wins already in the bag, Michael Dunlop was aiming for five out of five, while John McGuinness was on the hunt for his 20th TT victory.
It was McGuinness who triumphed in the final race, which was delayed following a red flag after an incident on Bray Hill on the opening lap. The Morcambe Missile’s 20th TT win and 41st podium coming after an epic battle with Michael Dunlop, who finished second to crown an incredible personal week, with Kiwi Bruce Anstey completing yet another Honda 1-2-3