May 27th 2015 – Our TT correspondent Glynne Lewis catches up with John McGuinness ahead of this years Isle of Man TT race.
Road racing is at an all time high at the moment as we lead up to this year’s Isle Of Man TT but before heading over to compete on the 37 ¾ mile circuit one has to put ones house in order, apart from the usual testing of man and machine there are other little things that matter, like mowing the lawn etc, one job amongst others that John McGuinness religiously does before he crosses the Irish sea!
It’s been reported that John McGuinness had split from Padgett’s after a long and successful friendship, whatever the reasons behind this whether they are true or not read on for my description of what has occurred.
Padgett’s whom have a sponsorship deal with Valvoline Oils whilst Honda Racing use Motul Oils, (Do you see where this going?) John has a long relationship with Honda as everyone is aware of; it’s simple to the extreme that John could not compete on a Padgett’s super stock machine wearing Valvoline sponsorship, this left John with a choice to make, he had to decide which super stock machine he was going to race and for whom!
Not an easy decision by any stretch so John decided to buy his own Honda Fireblade and race it at this year’s North West 200 and at the Isle of Man TT with the main backing coming in from EMC2, a company owned by a friend of his.
Talking to John at a test session held at Oulton Park in Cheshire recently he said “It was a decision I had to make due to the conflict in the two oil companies backing Padgett’s and Honda, and yes I paid for this out of my own pocket” he mentions with a wry smile on his face.
Asking him about his prospects this year he said “I have been racing 25 years now and it’s not going to be an easy time at the TT it never is. There are 10+ top riders out there all wanting what I want. They are all hungry guys and are more than capable of winning the Blue Riband senior race”.
He went on to say “I have trained hard this year especially after the disaster of getting injured before the start of the season last year which plagued me throughout the whole season, I am like new now with no injury problems and I am much fitter than I was last year”.
I also asked John about the stories going around of the 133 mph lap record, ”Ah yes he said it’s not what you intentionally go out to do if everything is flowing and conditions are right then maybe but the main thing is to win the race and if the lap record goes then it’s certainly a bonus”.
I haven’t seen John look so conditioned and determined for a good while, he is hungry you can see it in his eyes and the way he is aboard his machine, looking more and more comfortable the more miles he gets under his belt.
Watching him at the NW200 this year he looked confident and well in control, sticking to his lines on every lap as he gets to grips with the bike (Which I might add is one of the nicest looking paint schemes I have seen for a long time). He certainly won’t be giving it just enough, he will be going out to prove he still has the will to win and I personally feel John who will be riding with the number 1 plate again this year will be the man to beat at the TT…
Words and images by Glynne Lewis
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