John McGuinness and his Honda TT Legends team were forced to retire from the opening round of the Endurance World Championship, the first time they’ve failed to finish one of the 24-hour races.
Competing in the Bol d’Or at Magny Cours, France, McGuinness and his team lined up ninth on the grid.
The Morecambe Missile kicked off Saturday’s race and with Simon Andrews and Michael Dunlop also riding well the team worked their way up to an excellent third place as evening fell.
Light rain added to the drama but whilst a few teams ran into issues, John and his team-mates kept everything together and were still running in a strong fourth as morning came.
However, with a quarter of the race still to run, they encountered problems and Dunlop was forced into an unscheduled pit-stop, the team eventually diagnosing a problem with the heat exchanger.
John re-joined the race but damage to the engine proved irreparable and he was forced to pull out and retire at the 18-hour mark.
John said; “We’re all gutted not to have finished.
“After practice and qualifying, we were looking really good.
“Our consistency was paying dividends as we moved up into the top three.
“We slipped back slightly to fourth but were still having a great ride only for problems to get the better of us.
“The Endurance World Championship is a tough old game and we all know it’s never over until it’s over but for it to all go wrong when it did is tough to take.
“On the plus side, we were really competitive and were running close to our main rivals so we’ll look to build on that at the next round.”
John will be back in action on May 4 at Oulton Park, for round three of the National Superstock Championship.