“I’ve held McGuinness’s hand and his spare visors for more than 350 races over the last 27 years.” These are the lines from the book Built For Speed by Becky McGuinness, wife of John McGuinness. And I think it pretty much describes McGuinness’s life as a racer very beautifully. And it wouldn’t have been more authentic had it come from someone else. If I were to still define McGuinness, I would say that he takes racing as a sport. He has raced sensibly and has taken calculated risks. Remember we are talking about risks in a scenario where the term risk is an understatement. The Isle of Man TT is a place where wrong decisions are rewarded by helicopter rides if you are lucky. A body bag, if you’re not. McGuinness is in short a legend and when legends take decisions it is news. Like when Sachin announced he was to retire. To the world it was like, cricket was to retire. But no, the TT legend is not retiring. Not yet.
“I’ve held McGuinness’s hand and his spare visors for more than 350 races over the last 27 years.”
He is making a shift from Honda to Norton, from in-line four power to v4 propulsion. And that is some news because McGuinness has had a really long association with the Japanese brand. Let’s just keep speculation aside of the crash and the faulty ECU, and let us focus on this new combination which is really exciting for everyone. McGuinness calls this decision, and I quote, “I needed an injection of enthusiasm and I’ve found it with Norton.” That is a big statement which was supplemented by the CEO of Norton Stuart Garner when he said, “We have the ambition to win the TT and go on to develop a really strong team in the years to come. We have had John in our sights for a long time”.
“I needed an injection of enthusiasm and I’ve found it with Norton.”
Now that they have what they wanted, there is nothing stopping Norton from winning the fabled Isle of Man TT. Eventually. I say that because Norton has performed phenomenally in the previous races even without the benefit of McGuinness’ formidable talent. Now, with him on board, the morale boost that the British team will get combined with the vast experience he will bring to the team will make the partnership a memorable one for Norton and all of us. Norton, and indeed McGuinness, will also aim for success alongside. Which, I don’t think should be a huge problem given the kind of promise that Nortons hold out currently.
I am using words like ‘us’ and ‘everyone’ pretty often because it is not just for the race team to feel involved. Unlike other road racing formats that usually happen on sanitised race circuits with the competitors being launched into the heady world of superstardom, the IOM TT is a very intimate affair. Here spectators are not boxed into the stands, be it the luxury of the paddock or the general stands. Here you race the clock and not your friends. You realise you went too hot when you slide off the cliff. It is a place where every decision taken gathers immense notice, where every life lost is mourned. This is the Isle of Man TT and John McGuinness is a legend here. And we will see him on a Norton V4 now. Wow!
Also read about Kinetic revolution for Norton here.