He’s won 23 TTs. He was the first man ever to lap the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course at over 130mph. In 2022 he’ll start his 100th TT race. His name’s John McGuiness, and next season he’ll be back where he belongs, racing a Honda Fireblade at the Isle of Man TT. That’s right, after a brief spell as a Norton and then a Kawasaki rider, the ‘Morecambe Missile’ is back with Honda Racing UK for 2022.
You might remember John McGuiness leaving Honda, after many years of loyal service, back in 2018. The split came after a crash at the 2017 NW200 in which John broke his leg (pretty badly), ruling him out of the 2018 TT. From an outsiders point of view, at the time it did seem as though the parting was shrouded in a soupçon of acrimony. John was quick to sign up to race for Norton (which didn’t go terribly well), and then Kawasaki (which didn’t really happen because of the pandemic).
So it would seem John has discovered that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Things might not have been perfect at Honda, but they can’t have been that bad, since he’s won twelve of his TT’s on a Honda Fireblade.
In fact Honda still hold the accolade of most successful manufacturer in the history of the TT, with 189 wins.
As well as it being a special year for McGuiness, it’s a special year for Honda. Or, more specifically, a special year for the Fireblade brand, which celebrates its 30th birthday in 2022.
To celebrate, Honda released a special anniversary colour scheme to pay tribute to original the ‘Blade back in ’92; and I’m dying to see John McGuiness line up on Glencrutchery Road on a bike with the anniversary colour scheme. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seem. Hopefully Honda won’t go for the same old boring red paintjob their BSB bikes wear.
And of course the Isle of Man isn’t the only place you’ll see John and his Honda Fireblade CBR1000RR-R SP. The Honda Racing UK team will take part in the Superbike and Superstock classes at the North West 200 as well as the Isle of Man TT.
What can I say really, it’s like coming back home to the family! I’ve been in talks for a while with Neil and Harv and it’s just something that feels right; it’s the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade, I’ll be 50 years old and also celebrating my 100th TT start. It feels like it’s meant to be. I’ve enjoyed a lot of success on the roads with the Honda and worked with Harv with HM Plant Honda. I’m looking forward to getting back into the set-up and getting going.
I had a little go on the Fireblade earlier this year and was impressed with it on-track. I’m looking forward to getting on the roads and seeing how it goes. It’s going to be a special year with everything going on. Also just getting back to the North West 200 and the TT and everyone racing there again. I can’t wait to get stuck in!
Havier Beltran – Team Manager, Honda Racing UK:
I’m really pleased we’ve been able to work with John on a deal for 2022. It’s going to be an exciting season for us all with the 30th anniversary of the Fireblade and John’s 100th TT start, and for him to do this back with Honda just made complete sense. Honda has so much history with John at the TT; 12 of the 20 wins for the CBR1000RR Fireblade have been with him. For us all this is very much a homecoming.
From a Honda point of view, this will be Honda UK’s first time back at both the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT races since 2010, so we’re all excited to get back on the roads with the new Fireblade.