MORECAMBE’S John McGuinness took an excellent 10th place at the Suzuka Eight Hour event at the weekend to move up to second in the Endurance World Championship.
Riding for the Honda TT Legends team, John and team-mates Cameron Donald and Jason O’Halloran were able to steadily move through the field and were rewarded with their top ten finish.
A busy day of qualifying saw the three riders take to the 5.8km circuit for two 30-minute sessions each and, despite temperatures of well in excess of 30 degrees C, all three were consistent in their times.
It was O’Halloran who was the quickest of the trio with a lap of 1m10.940s so, in accordance with Suzuka Eight Hour rules, the fastest lap time posted by each rider decided their grid position and they duly lined up in 17th place on the grid.
With the main aim of a safe and steady race, John and his two team-mates battled through the hot and humid conditions to put in another smooth and trouble-free performance.
Whilst some of their rivals experienced problems, including the SERT, YART and BMW Motorrad France teams, the opposite was the case for the Honda TT Legends team and the ABS-equipped Honda Fireblade never missed a beat allowing the team to complete all their stints and pit stops without fault.
They gradually worked their way up the leader board to claim a superb top 10 finish and maintain their second place in the World Championship, just five points behind SERT.
Speaking afterwards, a pleased John commented: “It’s been a tough few days and with the heat to contend with as well as the expert local teams, to end with tenth place is a great achievement.
“Practice and qualifying were tough and we had a lot of laps to do, swapping and changing riders but everyone went well and our qualifying position was pretty good considering we didn’t test here and so started three or four days behind everyone else.
“Some of the best riders in the world were here and after not getting past the first hour in last year’s race, this year’s couldn’t have been more different.
“I did my three stints with no mistakes, just like Cam and Jason, and I really enjoyed the race even if it was red hot.
“The team did a great job, the ABS and everything on the bike worked like a dream and we’ve scored some valuable points so with two rounds to go, we’re in a good position.”
John now has a two week break before heading to Oschersleben, Germany, for the penultimate round of the Endurance World Championship with the race taking place on August 11/12.