| 9.7°C Belfast

Former winner John McGuinness plans to turn back the clock at NW 200



Honda’s John McGuinness. Credit: Philip Magowan

Honda’s John McGuinness. Credit: Philip Magowan

Honda’s John McGuinness. Credit: Philip Magowan

John McGuinness is back on Honda machinery at the North West 200, five years after he last rode for the manufacturer in the Superbike class at the event.

In 2017, McGuinness broke his right leg when he crashed on the Honda Fireblade during qualifying at Primrose corner and was ruled out for the rest of the season as a result.

An unexpected throttle blip caused by an issue with the race kit ECU on his Fireblade machine led to the spill, which was a bitter pill for the Morecambe man to swallow.

His long and hugely successful association with Honda ended afterwards and McGuinness again missed the major road races in 2018 after re-breaking his right leg.

The six-time NW200 winner’s much-hyped deal to ride for Norton in 2019 ended in disappointment, with McGuinness finishing 11th in the sole Superbike race at the North West and retiring from the Superbike and Senior races at the TT.

In a surprise move, the 50-year-old made the switch back to the Honda Racing UK team for 2022 – joining Glenn Irwin in the roads line-up – and McGuinness has warmed up for the return of the North West race by competing in the opening two rounds of the National Superstock 1000 Championship at Silverstone and Oulton Park.

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

“The bike’s absolutely mint and the team are mint too, so we’re really enjoying the season so far,” said McGuinness, referring to the Superstock-spec CBR1000RR-R Fireblade he will ride at the North West and TT.

“We’ve gained a lot by doing the races at Oulton and Silverstone a couple of weeks back. I’ve had some good outings on all three bikes so I’m in a good position ahead of the North West 200 and TT and everyone’s looking forward to getting back out on the roads.

“I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little bit nervous, but that’s a good thing.

“Things obviously didn’t end well with Honda in 2017, but time has healed that.

“It’s a different set-up from before when the team was run by Honda Europe. It’s the old crew and it’s run by Honda UK now and Harv (Havier Beltran) worked on getting me back and never gave up on me basically.

“It’s a two-year deal and if I want to race I can, but if not then I can be an ambassador for Honda, which I quite enjoy actually.”

McGuinness tested his Honda Racing Superbike recently at Castle Combe and will also compete in the Supersport class at the NW200 and TT, running his own effort on an SMT/Blue Earth Construction Honda.

Top Videos