I can win North West at 43, says veteran John McGuinness
This May will mark 22 years since his first visit to Portrush and passage of time has not diminished road racing legend John McGuinness' appetite for the North West 200.
"I want to come and enjoy the whole event but don't count me out of the results," the 43-year-old said, looking forward to this year's May 8-14 Race Week.
"Beating Alastair Seeley and some of these young guys might be a bit of an ask, for sure, but I still feel that I can win at the North West."
The Morecambe man, who is a six-time winner at the Triangle, will ride a factory CBR1000RR Honda in both Superbike races in May alongside appearances on the Jackson Racing CBR600RR Honda in the Supersport events.
McGuinness' main focus these days may be the Isle of Man TT, where he is chasing Joey Dunlop's all-time record of 26 victories.
But the Honda star still feels he has the pace to mix it in the cut and thrust of the mass start races at the NW200.
"The North West is part of the fixture and fittings of the road racing year for me and I wouldn't miss it," he continued.
"It will be my first road race of the season and I am looking forward to being there and mixing it with the best road racers in the world. They will all be there.
"I really don't see any reason why I can't get a victory. I finished sixth last year and went home happy.
"I was only 1.3 seconds off winning the race so I was in touch with everyone else."
McGuinness and team-mate Conor Cummins, who will ride with him in both the official Honda squad and on the Jackson Racing machines at Portrush, will be competing in the Le Mans 24 race in France this weekend.
The duo recently completed test sessions in France and England and McGuinness insists that he is very happy with the 2016 version of the evergreen Honda Superbike.
"It is an evolution of last year's model and we have a bit more power," the former bricklayer added.
"I was faster at Monteblanco than I've ever been before and I did 108 laps at Castle Coombe. That isn't easy on a Superbike and I didn't feel like I'd laid 1,000 blocks!
"The old fire is still there and I am riding better than ever before so we will see how it goes at the North West but don't rule me out."