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John McGuinness: An Exclusive Chat With Devitt – Part Two
It’s time for McGuinness to take us through his phenomenal win at the TT in Part Two of our exclusive chat…
“After finishing fourth in the Superbike race, I managed to grab seventh and eight in the two Supersport races and whilst they may not sound that great, I was happy. Some of the other riders weigh considerably less than me so I’m up against it a bit but I lapped at more than 126mph and believe me, that’s not hanging around on a 600!
Eighth was also the outcome on the Stocker and I was pleased to be the first Honda rider home. The Kawasaki’s and BMW’s are phenomenal road bikes and whilst the Honda handles like a dream, we just can’t match the pace of the others. Conor, Bruce, Dan Kneen and myself had our own mini battle so it was good to come out on top.
I knew that I was riding well and knew that I was in decent shape for the Senior race and, crucially, I believed in myself. Race week was hard with the delays due to the weather and I was doing something like 9 laps each day, on four different bikes, which is heavy going so I was glad to get a day off on Thursday just before the final race day. I went out with the family for the day to get away from it all and it really recharged the batteries in readiness for the Senior.
I just wanted to give the other guys a good run for their money and, to be fair, I couldn’t quite believe the end result myself. Setting off at number one is never easy though. As riders, we always joke about the rider who sets off first clears all the leaves, dust and wildlife but you’re out there on your own with no one to chase. You have to do the laps all by yourself so, when you do, it makes it all the more rewarding.
Energy from the crowd…
I was a bit surprised to go as quick as what I did and to lap at 132.701mph when I was slowing down for the pit stop was pretty special. I didn’t leave anything out there and gave it my all. I was mega pumped to do such a fast lap and the third lap, seeing the reaction from the crowd all the way round the course, was pretty awesome.
Proving the doubters wrong…
It’s one of the few laps I’ve done at the TT that I can scarcely remember. I put that much into it and it happened that quick, there’s not an awful lot I can remember. It was the icing on the cake and although lap records don’t normally blow my skirt up, that one did. And to win in that depth of field, when loads of other people were doing 132mph and 131mph laps, felt very, very sweet. A lot of people didn’t think I could do it so it was good to prove the doubters wrong.
Phenomenal TT Zero win…
There was also my win in the TT Zero race on the Mugen. When you’ve got Bruce Anstey as your team-mate, you know it’s going to be hard but I just edged him and I was delighted to take the victory. It’s unbelievable what the electric bikes are doing now. People can say what they like about it not being a proper win due to the lack of entries etc but my response is simple. I lapped at an average of 119.279mph and at times I was doing 150-160mph so if anyone doesn’t think it’s a real race win, they should jump on the back and I’d happily take them round!
It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was watching Steve Hislop do 120mph on an RC30 so to almost do that now is phenomenal, particularly as the bike weighs 260 kilos. Conditions were perfect all the way round the course and it was a real pleasure to ride the bike again.
It’s always a come down after the TT but it was even more so this year as I didn’t have riding to do until August so I definitely felt a bit flat. There was plenty of hand shaking and back slapping plus appearances at festivals like Goodwood, Mallory and Tonfanau but you can’t beat racing so I was glad when I was back out there in August doing what I love.”
Let’s see how you get on with this question…
Coming soon: Part Three of our exclusive chat with John McGuinness…keep a look out for it!
Having started watching motorcycle races all over the world form childhood, Phil Wain has been a freelance motorcycle journalist for 15 years and is features writer for a number of publications including BikeSport News and Classic Racer, having also been a regular contributor to MCN and MCN Sport. He is PR officer for a number of teams and riders at both the British Superbike Championship and International road races, including Smiths Triumph, Quattro Plant Kawasaki, John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor. He is also heavily involved with the Isle of Man TT Races, writing official press releases and race reports as well as providing ITV4 with statistical information.