You don't say no to The Mountain.
After the Isle of Man TT was cancelled for the second year in a row in 2021, 23-time TT winner John McGuinness said he was thinking about retiring. After all, he said, even if the event resumed its normal shape in 2022, that would mean that he’d be 50 years old at the next TT. While road racing isn’t as driven by extremely youthful racers as some other disciplines, it’s still something to consider.
Still, given just a bit of time, a lot can change. Even back when McPint gave the Manx Radio interview where he uttered those words, he only ever said he was thinking about it. He never said that he’d made up his mind. I don’t know about you, but most of us probably go back and forth about a lot of things before coming to a decision.
That interview happened in early December, 2020. By the end of that same month, McGuinness was named on the Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours List as a Member of the Order of the British Empire, for “services to Motorcycle Racing.” The time, like McGuinness ‘round the TT course, does certainly fly.
Now it’s March, 2021, and former teammate Adam Child sat down with John McGuinness for an interview. Since he’s had some more time to think about it, McGuinness seems keen on getting back on bike at the TT in 2022.
“In my head, I’m still a young lad, but the brutal fact of the matter is I’ll be 50 years old if it’s going to happen in 2022. At this moment in time, the TT is on the radar as something I want to do, and for a lot of reasons. For myself, for a 100th TT start, and because I don’t want to finish my TT career up on The Mountain [with the DNF that took him out of competition in 2019].”, McGuinness told MCNews.com.au.
“We’ve all experienced mechanical faults and bike problems, but after all the years I’ve been racing I don’t want to end it sitting on the bales at the Bungalow with a DNF against my name. There’s a lot of boxes still to tick, a final roll of the dice, a final bow out… who knows?” he continued.
“At 50, you can wobble round on classic bikes for another ten years, but riding a superbike with 230 horsepower down Bray Hill might be tough. But that’s up to me, whether I want to do it or not. There’s a lot of water to flow under bridge between now and then, but at this moment, the green light is on, so we shall see and wait patiently,” McGuinness concluded.
McGuinness had a lot more to say about his MBE and racing in general, and the entire interview is well worth your time. Rest assured, the racer isn’t just sitting on his hands while he waits for the 2022 TT. In between now and then, he’ll be taking part in the Ducati TriOptions Cup. It’s a supporting series that runs at British Superbike rounds throughout 2021, where everyone races Ducati Panigale V2s.
At the time of writing, there are eight rounds on the 2021 calendar, which all kick off over the weekend that runs July 2 through 4. He’s also selling some signed McGuinness Mountain Course signs with shipping worldwide, if you just can’t wait for the next TT.