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McGuinness denied Classic TT glory

John Freeman
John McGuinnes takes Ginger Hall during the 500cc Classic TT.
Photo:  Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International
John McGuinness was denied a potential race win in the inaugural 500cc Classic TT on Saturday when he was thwarted by electrical problems. The Morecambe ace was riding the Winfield Paton and, after a promising start to practice week, looked well placed to challenge for honours but the machine stuggled to really get going and John was forced to retire at the end of the opening lap.

Back on the world famous Isle of Man Mountain Course, practice week had started in superb fashion for John as he set a superb lap time in the opening practice session of 111.19mph, just a fraction outside the 500cc Classic Manx Grand Prix lap record, but that was as good as it got with the Paton failing to run properly for the rest of the week. Indeed, John never to got to complete a full lap in the remaining practice sessions, going into the four-lap race very much in unknown territory. Almost immediately from the start, John knew the bike was still not running right and his opening lap of 94.901mph saw him way down the order in 23rd place and he reluctantly pulled in to retire.

Speaking later, a disappointed John commented; "It's really disappointing for the race to end like it did as the bike was flying at the beginning of practice week. The lap of 111mph felt great and came relatively easy but after that we had nothing but trouble and we never did get to the bottom of the electrical problems.

"The team did everything to get the bike ready for the race day but it wasn't right and all I could do was cruise round. It's a huge shame for everyone concerned - myself, the team, the fans - as I felt we could have given a good account of ourselves and put on a good show but it wasn't meant to be. I've really enjoyed the whole Festival of Motorcycling though so hopefully we can come back next year and give it another go."