For the second year in a row Morecambe’s John McGuinness suffered heartache in the 500cc Classic TT race when he was forced to retire on the opening lap of Saturday’s four-lap race around the 37 and three-quarter mile Mountain Course.
Having set an unofficial lap record of 112.031mph on Roger Winfield’s 500cc Paton in Friday evening’s final practice session, the TT legend had high hopes of making up for last year’s retirement in the corresponding race and everything was going to plan when he swept through the first timing point at Glen Helen, some 8.1 seconds clear of fellow Paton rider Ian Lougher.
By Ballaugh, some 17 miles into the lap, McGuinness had extended his lead to 11 seconds but soon after it was clear all was not well as he was timed through the Sulby speed trap at 128mph, some 17mph down on the quickest speed set by Lougher.
Sure enough, news soon came through that the Morecambe Missile was a retirement at Ginger Hall, a loose front master cylinder having worked its way loose.
McGuinness said: “I’m massively disappointed to have retired so soon in the race as everything was looking so good.
“Practice week had gone well and having not had the best of years, I put my heart and soul into getting a result in this race and, ideally a win.
“The bike was faultless during practice week and the 112mph lap on Friday evening felt really good so I was quietly confident going into the race.
“Just after Ballaugh though, I knew something was wrong and had no option other than to cruise along the Sulby Straight and pull in at Ginger Hall for a pint.
“It’s no-one’s fault though and nothing anyone could have done to prevent it, it’s literally just one of those things.”