|Picture by www.iomtt.com|
Morecambe’s John McGuinness has had his achievements at the Isle of Man TT Races recognised ahead of the 2013 event with a section of the iconic 37 and ¾-mile course named after him.
With 19 wins already to his name, the second highest in total behind Joey Dunlop, the point of the course which will now be known as McGuinness's is at Shoughlaigue, the fast run down from Handley's Corner before the top of Barregarrow.
It’s John’s favourite part of the course and one where he believes he can gain time on his rivals. The corner will now have a new-look sign along with individual artwork to reflect the rider's iconography.
The sign at McGuinness’s features the infamous voodoo artwork that has adorned his helmets for many years.
John first competed on the Isle of Man in 1996 and took his first win in the Lightweight 250cc race three years later, the year he also became British Champion. He has now racked up a staggering 19 race victories, including two at last year’s event, and 36 podiums as well as being the outright lap record holder with a lap of 131.578mph, which he set in 2009.
“It’s an absolute honour," says John of the recognition, "and I was pretty speechless when the organisers told me about the idea.
"It’s the most famous circuit in the world and you grow up watching the greats who go on to have corners named after them and now I‘m sitting here with a corner named after me, it doesn’t get much better than that. I was close to tears when I was standing by the sign today and what’s particularly nice is that it breaks a tradition and honours a current rider.”
“The corner I chose is one that always gives me a special thrill when I ride my bike through it. You never see many people watching there and some people might not even have given it much thought but it’s part of the course I love to ride through. It’s a high speed, 6th gear corner, and probably 180 mph on a Superbike, which, when you go through it in a car, you wouldn’t think would be possible. It’s a fantastic sequence of bends and the last left opens up lovely so you can get a good run down to Barregarrow. It’s a bit of a childhood dream to have part of the course named after you and for generations to come it will always be called McGuinness’s.”
Fellow TT competitor Dave Molyneux has also had a corner named after him, the Manxman having won 16 sidecar races since his debut in 1985. This is the highest total recorded by a sidecar competitor and the third overall behind Dunlop and McGuinness. The newly named corner, the fast right-hander at the end of Cronk-y-Voddy straight, will now be called Molyneux's.
The pair join other great names from motorcycling history in having sections of the course named after them, including Giacomo Agostini, Geoff Duke, Jimmy Guthrie, Mike Hailwood and Dunlop.
• TT2013 begins on 25th May on the Isle of Man and runs until 7th June. Official web site: www.iomtt.com