John McGuinness putting pressure on himself ahead of Isle of Man TT

John McGuinness putting pressure on himself ahead of Isle of Man TT_01


With the Isle of Man TT just one month away from taking place for the first time in three years, Honda Racing's John McGuinness admitted he's feeling the pressure ahead of his 100th start.

The 23-time winner was visibly emotional as he received a loud ovation as he headed to the stage at the 2022 TT Media Launch, but he admitted to BikeSocial that after months of playing down his return to his comfy armchair that is Honda, he's beginning to feel the pressure, a pressure he's putting on himself.

"There is no way you can be setting off at number one, riding for the factory Honda team and not feel any pressure, that pressure is happening," said McGuinness after speaking to hundreds of fans at the new look TT launch show.


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"And yes, I am putting this pressure on myself, I want to do alright, that's the trouble with me, it's horrible going somewhere and knowing it's not going to happen and making a right tit of yourself.

"But if I hold my own, and I do alright, I'll be happy. Can I beat Hicky and the other boys? I'm probably going to struggle to do that, but stranger things have happened. I've always put pressure on myself.

"I've done so many TTs and so many TT launches but I can't believe we're heading towards another now, I'm feeling really positive, I have a mega team around me who have their faith in me.

"When I saw the footage of me on the Vimto bike and my first win it did make a little bit emotional, especially when you think about how many laps I've done around the course, it's crazy really."



2022 will see John make his 100th start around the 37.73-mile course, something only a handful of riders have been able to match. But he is fully grounded, as everyone would expect from the Morecambe man, becoming extremely philosophical admitting he takes everyday as it comes, joking that if only the gents who decided to race around the Island knew what they'd done to his life.

"I want to grab them b*stards that decided to shut the roads here over 115 years ago and say, 'you tw*ts, do you realise what you've done.'

"It's not just me, it's Pete, Dean, everyone, it's a massive sporting event. They have a lot to answer for them boys who decided to have a race over here, but it's part of my life.

"I'm getting to that stage of my life where things can happen, weird things happen to you heath wise, not if you have an accident on a bike. I'm in that zone, I'm heading to that sniper zone and I've got to take everything I can and do everything I can. I just want there to be more hours in a day."

The new look TT launch was a success, with a change of venue, change of schedule and much more, but it wasn't without its drama as Michael Dunlop stunningly revealed that he wouldn't be riding the PBM Ducati.

And McGuinness, who recently turned 50-years-old, stated he was disappointed that the 19-time TT winner wouldn't riding the V4 R at the 2022 TT, adding that he has respect for Dunlop for making a brave decision with a short space of time before the festival kicks-off.



"It curveballed me, I didn't know anything about it. I know Birdy (Paul Bird) was really keen on it, and so were the team. I'm personally gutted, I wanted to see that Ducati out on track, it would have been great for the event and I've ridden that bike, I thought it was magic, and I thought that Michael was going to be strong.

"I get why Michael doesn't want to talk about it, he gets grilled to death and he's slightly different gravy to the rest of us, he runs his own thing, so it could be difficult for him to work in a factory environment. But he's won 19 TT's, when he talks, you listen. I was his team mate back in 2013 and all I can say is he's a good man.

"What really got me at the launch, forget the bike racing, was when he said, 'I saw my two nieces turn into people', that is a powerful statement, I've got kids myself and I know how hard it is, so big respect to him for that.

"Racing to us is everything, but to others it's not that important. He must feel right in what he's doing, and when everything is dotted and crossed is one of the fastest out there, all I want to say is good luck to him."


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The Isle of Man is a special place, the history, the passion, the people, but it is difficult to explain the feelings that overcome you when you visit. And John feels the same, adding that each and every trip gives him the same feelings he experienced back when he was a youngster.

"It's gripped me, it's gripped everybody. There is a lot of history with this place, a lot of blood, sweat, tears and laughs, you name it this place has seen it.

"But I did get the same excitement as I did as a kid when I jumped on the ferry to come here, I could see the Island coming in to sight and though 'yes!', it was a beautiful day and I have to say it has a massive place in my heart. I'll always come back here, even when I'm old I'll come here to promote the event, to give something back to what has given me so much in my life.

"I think it is going to be emotional, it always is when you finish a TT, especially the senior. If I can pull a rabbit of the hat and be successful, I will be emotional, you can't help it. We're all hard blokes, but you can't help but feel a little bit moved by the job, it will be my 105th start but there is no talk of retirement, I'll do what I've always done, hit my apex's and then at the end I'll decide."