A hectically busy week for TT legend John McGuinness concluded with a fine 10th place as the British short circuit season got under way at Brands Hatch.
The 15-time TT winner and outright lap record holder was part of the three-man Honda TT Legends team which took fifth place in the Bol d’Or 24 Hour Race in France just over a week ago.
Within hours of finishing the draining race he and teammate Keith Amor were dashing to the Isle of Man to attend a series of special events to launch the 2011 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy, where the pair will again represent the Honda TT Legends team.
As well as a series of team and promotion commitments, McGuinness attended the Isle of Man premiere of TT3D: Closer to the Edge, a press event at The Sound and a public chat show in the Villa Marina, Douglas, all in little more than 24 hours.
But there was no rest after his commitments in the Isle of Man were complete. The Morecambe star had to head straight to the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent for the opening round of the National Superstock 1000cc Championship, which took place on Easter Monday.
McGuinness ran a strong pace all weekend on his Padgetts Honda and claimed a hard earned six points for 10th place in what promises to be another tough, competitive year in the class.
With 49 riders trying to qualify around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit, the sessions were split into two and McGuinness was constantly in the top six6 in his group. After the first 25-minute session McGuinness was fourth, and then took three tenths of a second off his time in Sunday’s second and final session.
A time of 47.378s placed him fifth in his group. However, when the times for the two groups were combined he found himself in 13th on the grid, although this did give him the more favoured left hand side of the circuit.
Conditions on race day were perfect and a great start saw McGuinness immediately leap forward three places from his qualifying position to move inside the top 10. Just as the race was beginning to get into its stride the red flag was out due to an incident and the race was stopped after just four laps.
In the re-started race, shortened to 16 laps, McGuinness made a carbon copy start, although it proved to be a rather uneventful race as he stayed in 10th from beginning to end. He was right on the back of a four-rider scrap for seventh and well in contention, so it was certainly a strong result in what is always one of the hardest-fought classes in the series.
“I’m pleased with how the race went and to finish inside the top 10 and be so close to the top five bodes well for the rest of the year.”
“I was happy with my pace throughout the weekend and made a mega start in both the original start and in the re-run, which was extremely pleasing as that’s something I haven’t always done in recent times.”
“The bike was flying and my lap times were consistent all the way to the end so to be only four seconds off fifth at the end of the race was satisfying.”
“It already looks like it’s going to be another extremely tough year in the class, but I’m confident I’ll be there or thereabouts at all of the rounds I contest.”
There’s hardly time for McGuinness, who will carry the number 1 plate at the 2011 TT, to draw breath before he’s back in action – the second round of the championship takes place this weekend at Oulton Park.