JOHN McGUINNESS - 23 & COUNTING
From his first race on the Isle of Man in 1996 to plans for his 100th TT start in 2022, 23-time winner John McGuinness MBE tells all about his 26-year journey in Episode 2 of The TT Podcast.
How has he achieved those 23 wins from 99 starts? Unfortunately, if you’re looking for an answer to that golden question, John isn’t sure. He tells Chris Pritchard and Steve Plater “I don’t know, it’s really weird. I’ve not had a magic wand”. When asked if 2022 will be his last time facing the Mountain Course, again; he doesn’t know. But, one thing is for sure, he loves the event and the Island: “It won’t let go of me. It’s like a bug, it’s a disease, that place”.
John’s relationship with 26-time TT winner Joey Dunlop is in the spotlight throughout. From following him at the 1996 North West 200 - the meeting where John decided he’d race on the Isle of Man - to standing next to each other on the TT podium for the first time in 1997, to racing with a Joey Dunlop tribute livery in 2013. There’s no kidding John though - he tells Chris and Steve whatever he achieves, Joey will always be the greatest of all time.
Race week in 2022 will see John enter five races, although he says exactly which bikes he rides in some of those is still to be decided.
The Lancashire legend’s family are as synonymous with the Isle of Man TT as he is. John hails Becky as a Saint and explains how she keeps him sane each year. If John’s on the road, his family will be with him, no matter what - even if that has meant the odd disagreement with school teachers…
Every rider knows the risks associated with the TT, and since his very first practice week in 1996, John has experienced many difficult moments. He shares openly with Chris and Steve how riders cope with losing friends on the road: “Every time I go through Crosby, I ask [David Jefferies] to look after me, every single time I go through Kirk Michael I ask Gus Scott to look after me, and every time I go through Milntown I ask Mick [Lofthouse] to look after me”.
As well as all of that, this episode answers the all important questions: If Strictly came knocking, would he dance? How much did his new teeth set him back? And how did he once end up with an imprint of the Queen on his backside?
You can listen to Episode 2 of The TT Podcast below or through your preferred podcast platform. Make sure you subscribe for more episodes every fortnight with the names that make up the world’s greatest motor-sporting event.