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John McGuinness lays out his new mission ahead of 2024 NW200 milestone

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John McGuinness says he is at peace with the notion that he is unlikely to be dicing for victory when he lines up on the grid at the 2024 North West 200 but maintains he is as motivated as ever some 30 years after making his debut at the Portrush event.

Considered one of the greatest road racers in history, McGuinness has notched up six victories at the NW200, in addition to the 23 successes he has enjoyed at the blue riband Isle of Man TT.

Still ‘holding his own’ at 51-years old, this year’s NW200 will mark the 30 year anniversary of his debut at the event, a period McGuinness - who will once more line up with the Honda Racing UK team - looks back at fondly despite the serious injury he sustained following a crash in 2017.


“I’m dead proud of my North West wins because the North West is a hard place to win,” McGuinness says ahead of this year’s event, which takes place on 6-11 May.

“Over the past 30 years I’ve gone from two strokes to four strokes, from carburetors to fuel injection, to fly-by-wire and then traction control, and I’m still holding my own. 

“All the camaraderie and craic we had during great night’s at Kelly’s and the Anchor that I don’t think will ever be repeated. 

“There have been a lot of changes at the event over the past 30 years but in other ways things haven’t changed all that much. 

“There might be more risk assessments, a bit more Tarmac in the paddock, with bigger trucks and hospitality units, which is all great to see, but the roads are still the roads with the kerbs and lampposts. 

“That bit, the things you have to deal with when you’re looking through the visor at high-speed, hasn’t changed at all, except I used to be going a bit faster.”

While McGuinness himself readily discounts himself as being among the favourites to win this year, he talks up his new mission as a wingman for new Honda signing Dean Harrison and as a mentor for road racing up-and-comer Nathan Harrison.


“This year, the goal for me is to help Dean Harrison, my new Honda team-mate, win at the North West and I want Nathan to have a safe race. 

“For me, I just want to go out and enjoy myself. During the last couple of years I’ve maybe been under the radar a little bit, in fifth, sixth or seventh, but I’m more than happy with that. 

“It’s all I’ve got in my armoury these days - a decent, fast, safe ride and if I finish tenth I’m tenth, or if it’s fourth, it’s fourth. If I got onto the podium it would be icing on the cake.”

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