John McGuinness completes TT comeback with stunning Senior Classic victory on the Isle of Man

John McGuinness, centre, tops the podium after his victory on Saturday
John McGuinness, centre, tops the podium after his victory on Saturday

John McGuinness made a stunning return to racing on the Isle of Man by winning the Senior Classic TT after a two-year absence from the Mountain Course.

Having sustained serious injuries at the North West 200 back in May 2017 the Morecambe Missile had been pencilled in to return at this year’s TT.

McGuinness dominated the field in the Senior Classic TT

McGuinness dominated the field in the Senior Classic TT

A setback in his recovery however meant that Saturday’s Classic TT race on the Roger Winfield Paton was his official return to racing.

And it couldn’t have gone any better.

“I never thought I’d be back in the winner’s enclosure here, but I’ve worked really hard and it feels very special,” said McGuinness.

“The Paton was great – it never missed a beat. I so, so enjoyed that.

“It’s an amazing feeling and we had no problems from the drop of the flag, but it was hard work.

“It takes it out of you after all the barbecues and pies!”

McGuinness, starting at number 1, was first to Glen Helen and had established a commanding lead of eight seconds from Maria Costello riding the Team Beugger Paton at the first timing point.

Jamie Coward, riding a Ted Woof Craven Manx Norton, moved into second place ahead of Costello at Ballaugh.

While McGuinness was enjoying a comfortable lead at the front of the field, Costello was clawing back time on Coward with the superior power of the Paton telling over the Mountain section of the Course.

The Morecambe ace powered to an opening lap of 110.510 which gave him a decisive lead of more than 38 seconds.

That became 46 seconds by Glen Helen on the second lap with a real scrap going on for the podium places behind him between Costello, Coward and Lee Johnston.

McGuinness completed his second lap of 110.676mph to put him well over a minute in front but only six seconds separated Coward, Johnston and Costello behind him.

The 46-year-old pitted at the end of the third lap before completing victory next time around, Coward more than 60 seconds behind in second with Johnston third, Costello having been forced to retire.