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JOHN McGUINNESS

Next to the late, great Joey Dunlop (26 TT wins), John McGuinness is the second most successful TT racer of all time, with 23 career TT wins, 49 podiums overall, with 99 TT starts.

JOHN McGUINNESS: 23 TIME ISLE OF MAN TT WINNER

Early life

John McGuinness was born in Morecambe, Lancashire, England, on April 16, 1972.His father, a motorcycle repair shop owner, tried to persuade John to train as a bricklayer, but in 1990, upon graduation, a recession forced him into cockle fishing instead.Fortunately for the world of motorcycle racing, fishing as a profession, did not stick to John. Later that year, McGuinness went on to compete in his very first race – an endurance road race - at age 18, at Aintree.

Isle of Man TT Notable Races & Victories

Next to the late, great Joey Dunlop (26 TT wins), John McGuinness is the second most successful TT racer of all time, with 23 career TT wins, 49 podiums overall, with 99 TT starts.

Regarded as a ‘real roads’ specialist, McGuinness is also a hugely-experienced short circuit racer having ridden in 24-hour World Endurance Championship races like the Daytona 200, Bol d’Or and Le Mans, and 500cc GPs. A former British 250cc Champion, he’s competed in World Supersport and finished third in the 2009 British Superstock Championship. McGuinness has raced all types of motorcycles during his career including singles, 2 stroke twins, in-line fours, V-twins and GP 500 2 strokes all over the world – from Daytona to the Far East.

Although he’s achieved wins at all the International road racing events, it’s his mastery of the infamous Isle of Man 37.7 mile public roads Mountain Course that’s cemented his legendary status as one of the premier racers and true titans of pure road racing.

He made his TT debut in 1996 winning the coveted ‘best newcomer’ title and three years later, got his first TT trophy in the 250cc Lightweight class. Over the next two decades (1999 – 2019) he racked up twenty-three TT wins and forty-seven podiums in ninety-nine starts. 2022 will mark his 100th TT start.

He's won the TT riding almost every kind of machine - R1 and R6 Yamahas, 250cc, 400cc, 600cc and 1,000cc Hondas, and the 720 AMDM single win in 2000 - plus he’s secured two Mugen Shinden electric wins. He’s also won three Classic Senior TTs on the Team Winfield 500cc Paton – in 2015, 2016 and 2018.Having accumulated over 1,320 combined laps, (over 50,000 TT circuit miles!) – McGuinness’ experience and course knowledge are unmatched, especially around what’s arguably the most dangerous race “circuit” in the world, the TT. McGuinness was also the first man to break through the “130 mph ,” (average lap speed) barrier, which he achieved in 2007. 

Although he’s achieved wins at all the International road racing events, it’s his mastery of the infamous Isle of Man 37.7 mile public roads Mountain Course that’s cemented his legendary status as one of the premier racers and true titans of pure road racing.

Isle of Man TT 2022

For TT 2022, John will return to Honda Racing, riding the 2020 Fireblade, alongside partner Glen Irwin. He’s clearly excited by the prospect and describes linking up with Honda again as being “like stepping back into an old pair of slippers” following a five-year hiatus since the 2017 NW200 accident.

Although this iteration of the Honda Fireblade was campaigned in the 2021 British Superbike Championship, the bike will be making its closed public roads debut in what will be the 30th Anniversary year since it was first introduced. He’s clearly excited about the prospect:“It’s great for me to be back on a Honda for my 100th TT start,” quipped McGuinness.

“It’s great for me to be back on a Honda for my 100th TT start”

John McGuinness

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Personal Life

McGuinness and his wife Becky, have two children.

In 2007, he was given the ‘Freedom of the Town’ honor in Morecambe, his hometown. His first book, Built for Speed, an autobiography, was released in May of 2017.

For his achievements in motorcycling, McGuinness was given an Honorary Fellowship Award from Myerscough College in Preston in July, 2017. Although still recuperating from his extensive leg injuries as a result of his major crash at the NW200 two months prior, he attended the ceremony.

In 2021, John McGuinness was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire and had the honor of MBE bestowed upon him in the 2021 New Year Honours class for services to motorcycle racing. 

2017 Accident

McGuinness suffered serious injuries during a practice run for the Superbike Race at the North West 200 (NW200) race in Northern Ireland in May 2017, causing broken vertebrae, ribs and compound fractures to his lower right leg, requiring surgeons to remove 50 mm (2.0 inches) of bone and needing an external fixator cage to ‘grow and lengthen’ new bone.

McGuinness then used a ‘spanner’ tool to regularly adjust the fixator cage, to create a 1 mm gap across which the new bone growth could occur.

The accident was caused by an electronics failure in the special race-kit, whereby the new model Honda Fireblade engine unexpectedly accelerated, throwing McGuinness from the bike.

A year later, in 2018, McGuinness was unsure if he would ever have the physical capability or prowess to race 1000 cc Superbikes again. 

A Return to Glory

McGuinness announced in January 2018, that he intended to return to the TT with Norton Motorcycles as team-mate to Josh Brookes. At the time, although his recovery was not complete, McGuinness announced in April of that same year, via social media, that he had suffered a recovery setback and it would prevent him from any competitive riding. He was, however, during the June 2018 event, able to complete a Parade lap of the TT circuit on a new Norton SG4.

McGuinness returned to the TT in August 2018 to win the 2018 Classic TT, on the 500 cc Paton.

McGuinness made a return to the TT races again in May and June of 2019, riding Norton Motorcycles in both the Junior and Large Capacity races, although without any real success. He went on to renew his association with Padgetts Hondas, finishing in good standing taking a 15th and 17th place for the two Supersport 600 races, while also reaching the podium again with a 2nd place finish in the TT Zero electric race on a Honda/Mugen. In August 2019, McGuinness won the Classic TT, on a Paton.[24]

Today, McGuinness has fully-mended and returned to racing, to the delight of road racing fans worldwide.

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