McGuinness wins ‘Zero Challenge’ and breaks record

John McGuinness won the TT Zero Challenge race.
John McGuinness won the TT Zero Challenge race.

John McGuinness stormed to the 22nd victory of his career in the Isle of Man TT races.

The Morecambe motorbike ace triumphed in the one-lap SES TT Zero Challenge on Wednesday morning.

McGuinness clocked a speed of 119.279mph around the island route and it proved too much for his rivals.

The 43-year-old ‘Morecambe Missile’ now moves to within four wins of Joey Dunlop, who leads the all-time TT win list with 26 victories.

McGuinness broke his own SES TT Zero record with his teammate Bruce Anstey again following him home, as he did last year.

John was first away from the line but by Glen Helen, Anstey had actually moved into the lead on timing, albeit with only a second separating the Mugen pair who had already established a 17 second lead over third placed Lee Johnston with his Victory Parker Racing teammate Guy Martin in fourth a further nine seconds back.

McGuinness had moved into the lead by the next timing point at Ballaugh Bridge with a lead of over two seconds from Anstey with the Team Mugen pair establishing a healthy lead at the front of the field.

Johnston and Martin continued their challenge for the final podium spot with the Northern Ireleand rider establishing a lead of over 10 seconds from Martin at Ballaugh.

At the front of the field McGuinness was being made to work for the race win by Anstey with the gap closing to less than three seconds but the Morecambe Missile held on to win with a new lap record of 119.279mph (18:58.743) from Anstey (118.857/19:02.785) with Lee Johnston taking third for Victory/Parker Racing with 111.620mph - 20:16.881. Guy Martin (109.717/ 20:37.987), Robert Wilson (106.510/21:15.256) completed the top five with Michael Sweeney (73.156/30:56.695) taking the University honours for Nottingham.

Within an hour, McGuinness was in action again in the Monster Energy Supersport 2 but had to settle for eighth place.

McGuinness got his Isle of Man campaign under way on Sunday afternoon as he placed a strong fourth on the Honda Racing machine in the opening Superbike race.

But John said he was “disappointed” with his placing.

“I felt I rode pretty well but that’s the TT for you now - it’s so hard and competitive and TT wins and podiums don’t get given out in Christmas crackers,” he said.

Then on Monday, McGuinness had mixed fortunes.

The TT legend finished seventh behind Ian Hutchinson in the opening Monster Energy Supersport race on Monday evening with a time of 1:13:29.156.

But earlier in the day, he unofficially broke the TT Zero lap record with a qualifying lap where his bike clocked 118.056 mph.

In Monday’s race, Hutchinson came home 7.7 seconds clear of New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey, reversing the result of Sunday’s RST Superbike race, with Gary Johnson in 
third.

The race followed a two-hour delay to Monday’s programme following a road crash at Ballacrye minutes before roads were due to close for the start of racing.

Man of the moment Hutchinson also won the RL360 Superstock race on Tuesday afternoon and the Monster Energy Supersport 2 on Wednesday, with McGuinness finishing eighth in both races.

The Missile has further races later this week before the TTs come to a close on Friday.