Solid finish for McGuinness at Suzuka 8-Hour

motul1

John McGuinness was back in action for the Honda TT Legends team at the weekend, contesting the second round of the Endurance World Championship at Suzuka, Japan where along with team-mates Michael Rutter and Simon Andrews, he finished 22nd at the end of the 8-Hour race.

The prestigious event again saw an ultra-competitive field with some of the world’s best riders and machines on track and after two busy days of practice and qualifying, John and the team qualified in 29th place. With hot and humid conditions throughout, the team-mates were very evenly matched as they all posted lap times in the 2m12s bracket, Andrews the quickest at 2m12.604s, Rutter on 2m12.808s and John recording 2m12.954s.

The race got underway at 11am on Sunday in sweltering 36°C heat and Rutter took the first stint around the 5.8km circuit moving the team up to a strong 16th. Andrews then took over but halfway through his stint he had to make an unscheduled pit stop due to clutch problems and with the clutch replaced within 14 minutes, John took to the track with the team now having dropped down the order. For the remainder of the race, John and his team-mates made steady progress through the field and, despite suffering a rear wheel puncture, they’d moved up to 25th place as the race entered its final hour. John had the honour of completing the race and although he had to pull in to switch to wet tyres when rain began to fall, he brought the bike home in a solid 22nd place. Sadly though for the team, the result meant they failed to add to their points tally despite their valiant efforts.

Speaking later, a disappointed but philosophical John commented’ “It’s been a tough weekend and to come away with no points is really disappointing as we’ve all worked really hard. There wasn’t much between us during qualifying and 2m12s laps were pretty respectable given the unbelievable quality of field so we were more than hopeful of climbing up the leaderboard during the race.”

“We had a good fuel strategy and we were looking good for seven stops but we had a few issues – the clutch and the flat tyre – that meant we gave minutes away which were impossible to get back. We were outside the top 50 so to come back to 22nd is a great effort but I just felt we deserved a bit more. On the plus side, this is my third Suzuka 8 Hour but it’s the first time I’ve done the final stint and that was pretty special. The atmosphere here really is fantastic and the Japanese fans have been superb throughout.”

The next round of the Endurance World Championship will be the Oschersleben 8 Hour in Germany on the weekend of August 17-18.

Picture by Honda Racing

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

Superb Senior race victory makes it 20 TT wins in total for McGuinness

Picture 1 of 2

Picture by Mark Walters

Morecambe’s John McGuinness ended his 2013 Isle of Man TT campaign with a superb win in Friday’s Senior race, taking his 20th TT win and 41st podium in total, the latter the highest total ever achieved in the history of the event. The Honda TT Legends rider was in imperious form around the Mountain Course once more and eventually ran out the victor by 10.1s from team-mate Michael Dunlop.

The initial race, which got underway at 1.00pm, 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 John 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 the Morecambe Missile a 2.3s lead at the end of the second lap as the riders came in for their first pit stop.

John’s pit crew again excelled at the stop and with another 131mph+ lap on the fourth lap, his lead went up to six seconds and it gave him the breathing space he needed. Circulating at high speed on the roads with Kawasaki rider James Hillier, John added another four seconds to his lead in the final two laps and he was able to come for his sixth Senior race victory, one less than the great Mike Hailwood but one more than Italian legend Giacomo Agostini.

Speaking later, a delighted John said, “It feels absolutely fantastic to win again 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 and I’ve never known a reception like it all the way round the course. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many fans lining the roadside and the Island really is an amazing place. I couldn’t have asked for a better day and the job’s a dream!

It’s now back to National Superstock 1000cc Championship duty for John with the next round taking place at Knockhill, Scotland on June 14-16.

Picture by Mark Walters

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

Further podium joy for McGuinness

Picture 1 of 2

Picture by Pacemaker Press International

John McGuinness enjoyed a strong day of racing at the Isle of Man TT Races on Monday and the Morecambe man was rewarded with two more top four finishes. Riding the 600cc and 1000cc HM Plant Padgetts Honda’s, the TT legend took third in the Superstock race to record his 38th TT podium, and backed this up with fourth in the Supersport race.

In the morning’s Supersport 600cc race, a strong opening lap of 124.608mph left John in seventh place such was the pace at the head of the field but as the race progressed, he got into his stride and continued to progress up the leaderboard. Quickening his pace to 125.538mph second time around, John moved up to fifth and with another rapid pit stop he was able to close right up on Guy Martin. Sure enough, on lap three he overhauled his Suzuki rival and, circulating on the road with eventual race winner Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey, Cameron Donald and James Hillier, he was now in with a chance of the final podium spot. With a final lap of 126.145mph, just outside his personal best on a 600cc machine, he just missed out on a podium but a strong fourth place was an excellent outcome.

With little chance of a break, John was back out less than two hours later for the 4-lap Superstock race riding the larger capacity Honda, and with an opening lap of 128.051mph, he slotted into a strong fourth place. Here he remained until lap three when third placed Guy Martin was hit with a 30s penalty for speeding in the pit lane and, promoted up to third, another 128mph+ lap on the fourth and final lap gave him his second podium of the week, and 38th in total. Dunlop was again the winner with Gary Johnson in second.

Speaking later, a pleased John said; “I’ve really enjoyed the races today and am pleased with the results. I’m riding for some brilliant people and Honda and the Padgetts family keep giving me some great bikes so I keep going out there and doing my best. The 600cc race was a lot of fun and it’s very unusual to have so many of us battling on the road so it was great to be part of that. As always, I rode my own race, hitting all my apexes, braking at my markers and getting on the power when I should have done so I’m happy enough. Full credit to Michael in the Superstock race as that final lap was incredible. To lap at 131mph on a Superstock bike is something special and when he came by me at the 11th Milestone I thought I’d tag on and stick with him for the rest of the lap. There was no chance of that happening though this afternoon and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it! It’s been a tough few days so I’m looking forward to a day off and I think I’ll take the family out and disappear to a beach somewhere!

John has two races on Wednesday, the one lap TT Zero race and the second 4-lap Supersport encounter.

Pictures by Mark Walters

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

Further podium joy for McGuinness

Picture 1 of 2

Pictures by Mark Walters

 

John McGuinness enjoyed a strong day of racing at the Isle of Man TT Races on Monday and the Morecambe man was rewarded with two more top four finishes. Riding the 600cc and 1000cc HM Plant Padgetts Honda’s, the TT legend took third in the Superstock race to record his 38th TT podium, and backed this up with fourth in the Supersport race.

In the morning’s Supersport 600cc race, a strong opening lap of 124.608mph left John in seventh place such was the pace at the head of the field but as the race progressed, he got into his stride and continued to progress up the leaderboard. Quickening his pace to 125.538mph second time around, John moved up to fifth and with another rapid pit stop he was able to close right up on Guy Martin. Sure enough, on lap three he overhauled his Suzuki rival and, circulating on the road with eventual race winner Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey, Cameron Donald and James Hillier, he was now in with a chance of the final podium spot. With a final lap of 126.145mph, just outside his personal best on a 600cc machine, he just missed out on a podium but a strong fourth place was an excellent outcome.

With little chance of a break, John was back out less than two hours later for the 4-lap Superstock race riding the larger capacity Honda, and with an opening lap of 128.051mph, he slotted into a strong fourth place. Here he remained until lap three when third placed Guy Martin was hit with a 30s penalty for speeding in the pit lane and, promoted up to third, another 128mph+ lap on the fourth and final lap gave him his second podium of the week, and 38th in total. Dunlop was again the winner with Gary Johnson in second.

Speaking later, a pleased John said; “I’ve really enjoyed the races today and am pleased with the results. I’m riding for some brilliant people and Honda and the Padgetts family keep giving me some great bikes so I keep going out there and doing my best. The 600cc race was a lot of fun and it’s very unusual to have so many of us battling on the road so it was great to be part of that. As always, I rode my own race, hitting all my apexes, braking at my markers and getting on the power when I should have done so I’m happy enough. Full credit to Michael in the Superstock race as that final lap was incredible. To lap at 131mph on a Superstock bike is something special and when he came by me at the 11th Milestone I thought I’d tag on and stick with him for the rest of the lap. There was no chance of that happening though this afternoon and if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it! It’s been a tough few days so I’m looking forward to a day off and I think I’ll take the family out and disappear to a beach somewhere!

John has two races on Wednesday, the one lap TT Zero race and the second 4-lap Supersport encounter.

Pictures by Mark Walters

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

McGuinness gets TT campaign underway

john-mcguinness-1000-hm-plant-padgetts-honda-at-union-mills-during-monday-evening-tt-practice

John McGuinness’ 17th Isle of Man TT campaign got underway in steady fashion on Saturday as he escorted a number of newcomers around on their speed-controlled lap whilst Monday’s practice session left the Morecambe ace somewhat frustrated as heavy rain, strong winds and cool temperatures hit the Island during the day.

As a result, only the Superstock and Supersport machines took to the 37 and ¾-mile course for an hour-long un-timed session on Monday and John was the third rider to leave the line on the 1000cc HM Plant/Padgetts Honda alongside fellow Honda rider Michael Rutter. Damp patches existed around the course whilst swirling mist on the Mountain also meant visibility wasn’t ideal but John was still able to complete two laps.

Speaking on Monday evening, the 19-times winner commented; “It’s been a bit of a slow start to the TT compared to what I’m used to and we’re all chomping at the bit now to get out on the Superbike but there’s nothing we can do about the weather and at least I’ve managed a few laps on the Superstock machine. I really enjoyed taking the Newcomers around for a lap and it’s a great innovation, easing them into their first TT experience. I’ll never forget my first practice session; it was 5.15am and on that first lap I encountered sun, rain, mist and wind so it really was a case of four seasons in one day and a real baptism of fire! To see so many newcomers here, and from all over the world, is fantastic and shows the appeal the TT still has.

The conditions on Saturday evening were perfect and the track was in good shape, apart from being a bit dusty in places and a couple of new bits of tarmac, there were no great surprises. They’ve smoothed out the approach to Ramsey, the Mountain Mile and Bedstead but nothing to make any major differences so I just want to get some dry track time now and start building everything up. Monday’s session was just a sighting session really so I just took it steady and had a run round. At the same time though, I got two laps in on the Stocker and it was good to blow the cobwebs away although I’ve never known so many stones around the course. We just need to get some dry weather now and TT2013 will be properly up and running for everyone.

Sadly, Monday’s practice session was marred by an incident which claimed the life of Yoshinari Matsushita and John would like to pass on his deepest condolencies to all of the family and friends of the Japanese rider.

Picture by

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

Strong ride at Oulton for McGuinness

john-mcguinness-oulton-park

Morecambe’s John McGuinness put in a strong ride at Oulton Park on Bank Holiday Monday to take 13th at round three of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship. Competing at his local circuit, John again proved his short circuit form is as good as ever which puts him in a very strong position heading towards the International road race meetings.

Competing at one of his favourite short circuits, John made a solid start to his weekend with sixth place in his group’s opening qualifying session on Saturday but the pace was a lot quicker in Sunday’s second session and he had to dig deep to maintain his position. However, he did just that and improving his lap time by 1.3s to 1m39.568s, he placed sixth overall in his group for a third row start. A superb start saw John make up five places at the first corner but a rare mistake saw him overshoot one of the chicanes and drop back ten places.

However, he quickly regrouped and with a series of fast and consistent lap times, he was able to take 13th at the chequered flag to maintain his top ten place in the Championship.

Speaking later, John said; “That’s probably been one of the most competitive Superstock weekend’s I’ve ever known and not only were the times quick, they were also incredibly close too! I’ve lapped quicker than I’ve ever gone on a Superstock bike around here so I have to be pleased with how I’m riding right now but it was tough out there. I knew I needed a good start and that’s exactly what I got, moving up to sixth almost straightaway but I got a bit carried away and overshot Hizzy’s on the opening lap.

I dropped way back and after that I just concentrated on keeping it all on the island and as smooth as possible. I’ve got some big meetings come up and that was at the back of my mind but I was pleased with how I rode after the mistake. The lap times were good and I was the first non-Kawasaki rider to finish so it was good to get to the end and in the points. I always enjoy riding for Clive and the Padgetts team and the preparation for the North West 200 and TT has been spot on. I feel good and feel sharp so there are plenty of positives at the moment and I’m in a good frame of mind heading to the road races.

John now switches his focus to the first International road race of the year with the North West 200 road races taking place on the roads linking Portstewart, Coleraine and Portrush from May 14-18.

Picture by Glynne Lewis

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

McGuinness forced to retire from Endurance World Championship opener

BOL D'OR 2013 FREE PRACTICE TEAM HONDA TT LEGENDE MC GUINESS

Morecambe’s John McGuinness and his Honda TT Legends team were forced to retire from the opening round of the Endurance World Championship at the weekend, the first time they’ve failed to finish one of the 24 hour races.

Competing at the 24 Hour Bol d’Or event at Magny Cours, France, McGuinness joined team-mates Simon Andrews, Michael Dunlop and Michael Rutter and with all four posting similar lap times the combined times saw them line up in ninth on the grid with Rutter the unlucky rider to miss out in the race.

With the race getting underway at 3pm on Saturday afternoon, John was given the responsibility of starting the race for the team and the first few hours saw him, Andrews and Dunlop do a sterling job and work their way up to an excellent third place as evening fell. Light rain added to the drama but whilst a few teams ran into issues, John and his team-mates kept everything together and were still running in a strong fourth as morning came.

However, with a quarter of the race still to run, they encountered problems and Dunlop was forced into an unscheduled pit-stop, the team eventually diagnosing a problem with the heat exchanger. John re-joined the race but damage to the engine proved irreparable and he was forced to pull out and retire at the 18-hour mark, huge disappointment for all concerned. It brought to an end the team’s excellent run of seven successive finishes in the EWC and, as they enter their third year of competition, it also spelt their first retirement in a 24 hour race.

Speaking later, a hugely disappointed John said; “We’re all gutted not to have finished and after practice and qualifying, we were looking really good. We were all pretty similar in lap times throughout the week and that consistency was paying dividends as we moved up into the top three. We slipped back slightly to fourth but were still having a great ride only for problems to get the better of us. The Endurance World Championship is a tough old game and we all know it’s never over until it’s over but for it to all go wrong when it did is tough to take.

The whole team’s worked so, so hard and done so much work on the bike and I just feel for everyone that we’ve been forced to retire. I’m just gutted to be honest and it’s a tough one to take right now but, on the plus side, we were really competitive and were running close to our main rivals so we’ll look to build on that at the next round.

The next round of the EWC takes place at Suzuka, Japan on July 28 but John has plenty of racing between now and then and will be back in action on May 4-6 at Oulton Park, Cheshire for round 3 of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship.

Picture by Honda Racing

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

McGuinness battles hard for more Championship points

john-mcguinness-thruxton

Morecambe’s John McGuinness battled hard to score some more Championship points at round two of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship with 14th place around the high-speed Thruxton circuit.

Proceedings at the Hampshire venue were affected by the weather all weekend and after taking fourth in the opening qualifying session, rain on Saturday brought an early end to the final session so John had to settle for a second row starting position.

Conditions had improved considerably for Sunday’s 16-lap race although strong wings created a new hazard for the 40-strong field. A solid start saw John lie in eighth at the end of the opening lap but with damp patches still around the course, conditions were tricky whilst the considerable amount of slipstreaming meant maintaining position was an extremely difficult task. As the race wore on John found himself pushed back to 14th and any hopes of climbing back into the top ten were dashed when the race was stopped early, on the 11th lap. It all meant John was awarded 14th place and two hard earned Championship points.

Speaking later, John said; “The results sheet doesn’t look the greatest and there’s no doubt it’s frustrating to be in 14th this weekend, especially after getting on the rostrum last time out at Brands, but I felt good out there and was racing with some good lads who’ll be up there in the Championship so it shows I’m riding well. We lost a full practice session and I haven’t been here for a couple of years so I was up against it to a certain degree but I feel sharp and I’m getting plenty of miles on the bike so the weekend has been another valuable, worthwhile meeting. It’s off to France now and I’m feeling good so am looking forward to getting back on the Honda TT Legends bike.

John now turns his attention to the opening round of the Endurance World Championship with the ‘24 Hour Bol d’Or’ taking place at Magny Cours, France this weekend.

Picture by Glynne Lewis

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

TT legend McGuinness honoured

john-mcguinness-and-the-new-course-marker

Morecambe’s John McGuinness has had his achievements at the Isle of Man TT Races recognised ahead of the 2013 event with a section of the iconic 37 and ¾-mile course named after him.

With 19 wins already to his name, the second highest in total behind Joey Dunlop, the point of the course which will now be known as McGuinness’s is at Shoughlaigue, the fast run down from Handley’s Corner before the top of Barregarrow.

It’s John’s favourite part of the course and one where he believes he can gain time on his rivals. The corner will now have a new-look sign along with individual artwork to reflect the rider’s iconography. The sign at McGuinness’s features the infamous voodoo artwork that has adorned his helmets for many years.

John first competed on the Isle of Man in 1996 and took his first win in the Lightweight 250cc race three years later, the year he also became British Champion. He has now racked up a staggering 19 race victories, including two at last year’s event, and 36 podiums as well as being the outright lap record holder with a lap of 131.578mph, which he set in 2009.

Speaking about the honour, a delighted John commented: “It’s an absolute honour and I was pretty speechless when the organisers told me about the idea. It’s the most famous circuit in the world and you grow up watching the greats who go on to have corners named after them and now I‘m sitting here with a corner named after me, it doesn’t get much better than that. I was close to tears when I was standing by the sign today and what’s particularly nice is that it breaks a tradition and honours a current rider.

The corner I chose is one that always gives me a special thrill when I ride my bike through it. You never see many people watching there and some people might not even have given it much thought but it’s part of the course I love to ride through. It’s a high speed, 6th gear corner, and probably 180 mph on a Superbike, which, when you go through it in a car, you wouldn’t think would be possible. It’s a fantastic sequence of bends and the last left opens up lovely so you can get a good run down to Barregarrow. It’s a bit of a childhood dream to have part of the course named after you and for generations to come it will always be called McGuinness’s.

Fellow TT competitor Dave Molyneux has also had a corner named after him, the Manxman having won 16 sidecar races since his debut in 1985. This is the highest total recorded by a sidecar competitor and the third overall behind Dunlop and McGuinness. The newly named corner, the fast right-hander at the end of Cronk-y-Voddy straight, will now be called Molyneux’s.

The pair join other great names from motorcycling history in having sections of the course named after them, including Giacomo Agostini, Geoff Duke, Jimmy Guthrie, Mike Hailwood and Dunlop.

Picture by www.iomtt.com

Phil Wain
Freelance PR

Brilliant podium at Brands for McGuinness

jmcg-brands

 

Morecambe’s John McGuinness got his 24th season of road racing up and running in superb style on Sunday when he took a brilliant third in the opening round of the National Superstock 1000cc Championship and it was only a slide at mid-race distance cost him the race win around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

John’s participation in the event was in doubt up until a few days before the event but he wasted little time on the Padgetts Honda in the opening qualifying to top his session, despite arctic conditions. The weather, and temperature, improved on Saturday but John was still comfortable and although he got overhauled on the timesheets by Adam Jenkinson, a time of 47.402s was good enough for second in the group and third overall in the 58-rider field.

Starting from the front row was the ideal place to be around the tight and twisty Indy circuit and John took full advantage in Sunday’s 24-lap race, immediately taking the lead going into the first corner. Riding better than ever, John extended his lead over each of the next ten laps with the gap to second placed Adam Jenkinson over two seconds at half race distance. It would be unlucky lap 13 for John though as he suffered a major slide coming onto the start and finish straight which almost pitched him over the handlebars.

It reduced his lead to 1.2s and as he regrouped and got back into his rhythm, the chasing pack seized their opportunity to close back up. With three laps to go, John still led but Jenkinson made his move on lap 21 with Filip Backland following suit a lap later. It pushed John back to third but he came home 0.9s behind race winner Jenkinson for a brilliant podium finish, the ideal start to his season.

Speaking later, a delighted John said; “What can I say, it was a brilliant race and given the fact we only put a late entry in a few days before the event, to end up third is a dream start to the year for both me and the team. I’ve been testing quite a lot with the Honda TT Legends team so felt good straightaway on Friday and that form carried on throughout the weekend. I thought the other boys would overhaul me once they got dialled in but tt didn’t happen and the front row was the ideal place to be.

I made the perfect start and immediately opened up a gap and a two-second advantage around the short Indy circuit is worth almost double that. I was able to maintain a consistent pace and my lead stayed the same but on lap 13, I got a huge slide coming on to the start and finish straight. My feet were on the floor, I was pushed into the tank and almost thrown over the handlebars and as I got back into my rhythm, the others saw their opportunity and reeled me in. Had it not been for that, I’m confident I could have held on for the win but I’m delighted to be back on the box and it’s credit to the whole team that we could pitch up and be so strong each and every time we took to the track.

John now heads to the Isle of Man on Tuesday for the official launch of the 2013 TT Races.

Picture by Glynne Lewis

Phil Wain
Freelance PR