IOMTT: Mixed fortunes for McGuinness on Monday
John McGuinness had a day of two halves on Monday at the Isle of Man TT Races with the disappointment of a first lap retirement in the Superstock race being overcome by a second place finish in the afternoon's Supersport Junior
TT. After his superb win in Sunday's opening Superbike race, it was his second podium of the week, giving him a new career total of 17 TT podiums.
After posting the fastest qualifying time in practice, hopes were high going into the morning's Superstock race and the race got away on time at 10.45am.
With perfect race conditions, ideal for John on the Mountain Course, the thousands of fans around the 37 3/4 mile course were eagerly awaiting his arrival at Glen Helen, the first commentary check point to see if he was
putting in another first lap charge. His late arrival clearly meant he wasn't and as he took a steady line through the sweeping left hander, he was down in a very unusual 12th place, almost 20 seconds adrift of the eventual race winner Bruce Anstey.
It was then announced he was touring through Kirk Michael, a third of the way round the course and as he rounded Ramsey Hairpin, 24 miles into the lap and the site of the second timing point, things were clearly not right as he
shook his head in front of the commentators. Just a few miles later, he retired at the Bungalow. It transpired that he had had three heart stopping moments at Ballagarey, Crosby and Gorse Lea, the machine sliding violently each time and John took the wise decision to park the machine and retire.
Bitterly disappointed, he then had to pick himself up mentally for the afternoon's four lap Supersport Junior TT, a race he won in convincing fashion 12 months earlier. At Glen Helen on the opening lap he was in fourth place, just 2 seconds adrift of the leader Ryan Farquhar but, by Ramsey, he had overhauled Richard Britton to move into third place. With an opening lap of 121.45mph, he remained in third although the gap to Farquhar and Ian Lougher had risen to 8.6 seconds, the duo running neck and neck at the head of the field.
Lap two saw a similar pattern and whilst Farquhar and Lougher were only tenths apart, John had slipped further back as they came into refuel at half distance. Despite increasing his speed to 121.79mph, he was now 14.9 seconds
away from the race lead and it looked as if third would be the best he could hope for on the day. However, just minutes after the pit stop, Farquhar was forced out of the race and John moved up to second place, still 15 seconds
adrift of new race leader Lougher but 20 seconds clear of Honda's Britton, who was now up to third.
John had caught Britton on the road and the duo were circulating at high speed and in close formation, a treat for all of the fans, but it wasn't to last as Britton retired with mechanical trouble half way round the fourth
and final lap. It was a smooth ride over the Mountain for John and he brought the R6 Yamaha home in a fine second place for his second podium finish of the week, 22.6 seconds down on good friend Ian Lougher and ahead of fellow Yamaha rider Jason Griffiths.
Speaking after the race John commented: "It was very disappointing to retire from the Superstock race but I had three major slides at three of the worst possible places and it really scared me. There was clearly something wrong
with the bike, although until we get the bike back to the paddock we won't know what exactly went wrong. It really knocked my confidence though and I wasn't really in the right frame of mind on the first lap of the Junior race
which was probably why I was a bit slower than usual to begin with. It took me a while to catch Jason, who was riding really well, but once I got into my rhythm, I began to enjoy myself again, especially when I caught up with
Richard Britton as we had a real good ding-dong. I rode the wheels off the little bike and had no major problems at all - fair play to Ian, he was really on the ball and rode a perfect race."
John's next race of the week will again be on the 600cc Yamaha, with the second Supersport Junior TT getting underway at 10.45am on Wednesday.