Road Racing

“I was always s***ting myself on Norton at TT” – John McGuinness

Road racing legend John McGuinness admits he was always 's***ting himself' aboard the Norton V4 when he raced it at the 2019 Isle of Man TT

John McGuinness has revealed he was ‘always wondering what was going to drop off’ when he raced the Norton V4 during the Isle of Man TT.

The road racing legend joined Norton in a high-profile deal in 2018 as the now-collapsed British company attempted to revive former glories on the TT, though a proposed debut that year was deferred to 2019 due to injury.

However, even the skills of the 23-time winner couldn’t make Norton competitive on The Mountain as it struggled for both speed and reliability.

Though his deal was supposed to include the 2020 Isle of Man TT, McGuinness exposed the growing concerns about the failing brand when he called out AWOL CEO Stuart Garner in January on Twitter over his failure to return calls.

Two weeks later Norton formally slipped into administration owing £300,000 in unpaid taxes to HMRC, though investigations have since revealed a much darker story alleging Garner had been misusing pension cash to fund the company and a lavish lifestyle.

Indeed, McGuinness – who is reported to be chasing upwards of £60,000 himself in unpaid salary – is sorry about the situation for those who stand to lose out in the debacle.

“I’m just a bit embarrassed really, how it’s all come out, I feel sorry for people who’ve lost out, but I don’t know all the details,” he told Bikesportnews.com. “It’s a bad ending isn’t it? A bad ending to what should have been an iconic thing.”

Having since sourced a deal to ride the Quattro Plant Kawasaki on the TT this year, McGuinness goes on to say the chance to ride a proven package in the ZX-10R was the clincher for him given the poor quality of the Norton he had before.

“What did the deal for me was what I said earlier – 60 starts, 57 finishes, I need something that I’ll be confident to ride – I was always shitting myself on that Norton. I was like wondering what was going to drop off it.”

Though there was always question marks over McGuinness’ participation on the TT with Norton, the company not long before its collapse did attempt to confirm its attendance in the Superlight class at least, even securing the services of multiple winners Smiths Racing and Peter Hickman to run an entry.

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