McGuinness considers retirement after 2022 TT

John McGuinness


Road racing legend John McGuinness has revealed he is considering retirement at the conclusion of the upcoming 2022 Isle of Man TT as he looks to go out on a high in what will be a commemorative event for the ‘Morecambe Missile’.

The second most successful rider to have ever tackled the Mountain Course, McGuinness has notched up 23 victories on the TT since his debut in 1996, three wins shy of the all-time greatest rider Joey Dunlop.

It’s a record that earned him an MBE for services to motorcycle racing, which he picked up from Windsor Castle in a ceremony from the Princess Royal this week having been awarded the honour in The Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours List over a year ago.

A veritable highlight from a career that has seen the 49-year old establish himself as a legend of the discipline, McGuinness nonetheless admits he is coming into the 2022 event ‘a little bit nervous’ after some time out of action.


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Indeed, despite scoring success in the Classic TT, McGuinness fortunes in the main event have wavered in more recent years. In 2017, a technical fault while racing on the North West 200 led to a crash that left him nursing serious leg injuries, enough to rule him out of the 2017 and 2018 TT’s, while a high-profile switch to the uncompetitive Norton in 2019 failed to yield notable results.

Originally signed to Bournemouth Kawasaki for the 2020 TT before COVID-19 cancelled both that and the following 2021 event, McGuinness has landed a high-profile seat at Honda Racing for 2022.

This coincides with him making his 100th start on the TT and comes in the 30th anniversary for the iconic Honda Fireblade, a lineage he has enjoyed much of his TT success on since his first win in 1999.

As a result, McGuinness is considering whether this would be a fitting time for him to bid farewell to the sport, hinting he might have already done so had his 2019 TT not been so unremarkable.

“The last time I raced there I didn’t have a great TT and I didn’t want to finish my racing career on a breakdown so this, never said it before, could possibly be my last TT but I wanted to just go there with everything, you know, all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed and go and enjoy it and see where we end up,” he told Press Association.


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With COVID wreaking havoc on road racing schedules for two years, McGuinness - who will be joined by TT debutant Glenn Irwin in the Honda Racing team - admits the prospect of exceeding 200mph with little practice does daunt him.

“Getting back to racing, we’re all a little bit nervous, all us riders especially,” he continued.

“We did some racing through COVID but not the road racing like in the Isle of Man, so we’ve all been away for two years.

“The bikes are getting faster, none of us have been there so we’re all nervous, there’s a lot of anticipation but, you watch, once we get there it will be flat out, it will be 200mph, we’ll be doing what we do.

“But, you know, it’s leading up to my 100 starts – my century of starts – I’ll be 50 years old, which is probably one of the oldest on the grid, it’s 30 years of anniversary of the Honda Fireblade, which I ride, so there’s loads of little boxes being ticked.”