John McGuinness reveals he may retire after 2022 Isle of Man TT

John McGuinness hints the 2022 Isle of Man TT will be his last as he comes up to 100 TT starts on his return to the Honda Racing effort

Honda Fireblade John McGuinness

John McGuinness has revealed he is considering retiring at the conclusion of the 2022 Isle of Man TT as he prepares for his centenary of race starts at this year’s festival.

The road racing legend has established himself as an all-time great of the discipline since his debut in 1996 with a maiden victory in 1999 marking the first of 23 he would go on to enjoy around the Mountain Course over the next two decades.

For 2022, McGuinness will renew ties with the Honda Racing effort with which he has achieved several of his wins over the years. It comes as the manufacturer celebrates 30 years of the Honda Fireblade sportsbike and will play a part in McGuinness making his 100th start on the TT.

With this in mind, McGuinness - speaking to Press Association after picking up his MBE for services to motorcycle racing - admits this would be a fitting year in which to bid farewell to the sport, particularly if he fares better than his last outing in 2019 when he struggled for form on the uncompetitive Norton.

“The last time I raced there I didn’t have a great TT and I didn’t want to finish my racing career on a breakdown so this, never said it before, could possibly be my last TT but I wanted to just go there with everything, you know, all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed and go and enjoy it and see where we end up.”

“Getting back to racing, we’re all a little bit nervous, all us riders especially. We did some racing through Covid but not the road racing like in the Isle of Man so we’ve all been away for two years.

“The bikes are getting faster, none of us have been there so we’re all nervous, there’s a lot of anticipation but, you watch, once we get there it will be flat out, it will be 200mph, we’ll be doing what we do.

“But, you know, it’s leading up to my 100 starts – my century of starts – I’ll be 50 years old, which is probably one of the oldest on the grid, it’s 30 years of anniversary of the Honda Fireblade, which I ride, so there’s loads of little boxes being ticked.”

A Classic TT winner in 2018 and 2019, McGuinness’ last main event TT wins came in the Senior TT and TT Zero races of 2015, bringing him up to a career total of 23 wins, three shy of all-time record holder Joey Dunlop.

McGuinness had been on course to surpass Dunlop but his plans were derailed in 2017 when a technical fault led to a crash on the 2017 North West 200 that left him nursing serious leg injuries that ruled him out of the 2017 and 2018 TT.

Returning in 2019, McGuinness struggled for pace on the Norton before COVID-19 scuppered his plans to strive for glory in 2020 on the Bournemouth Kawasaki.

McGuinness - who will be 50 by the time the Isle of Man TT comes around - will be paired with BSB race winner and debutant Glenn Irwin for the 2022 event.

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