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McGuinness gets back on track at Knockhill

John Freeman

Morecambe motorcycling star John McGuinness got his short circuit season back on track on Sunday when he finished in fifth place at Knockhill in the latest round of the Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship, Phil Wain reports, and credits his wife with getting him back on track after a few bad results.

The Padgetts Honda rider put in an excellent ride in difficult conditions and, having qualified in eighth place, he utilised his smooth riding style to move steadily forward during the race and was rewarded with 11 hard-earned Championship points.

With free practice and qualifying being held in dry conditions, the riders were met with a very different proposition on Sunday with strong winds and heavy rain hitting the Scottish venue. With the race cut from 22 laps to 15, a good start was imperative and John got just that and moved up from 8th to 6th on the opening lap.

In what was largely an uneventful race for John, he remained in sixth for the next few laps before being promoted up to 5th on lap 7 when Scott Smart dropped out of the race. Towards the end of the race more rain began to fall, just as John closed in on Tristan Palmer, and with the weather worsening all the time, organisers stopped the race on the 13th lap due to the inclement conditions thus denying him the opportunity of moving up to 4th although the 11 championship points for 5th came in very handy.

Speaking afterwards, a pleased John said "I needed that! I've had a tough few weeks what with the disappointments at the TT and that so to come away with a top five finish is very pleasing and it's great to be back mixing it with the front runners.

"My confidence had taken a bit of a dip after the TT and Silverstone and the missus (Becky) gave me a real good pep talk and told me to get my dummy back in, stop dwelling on things and just get on with it! I spent a bit of practice circulating with my team-mate Glen Richards and it definitely helped get me back in the zone so after qualifying well I was feeling in good shape for the race."

"I got a good start and was right with the front group and felt comfortable with the pace we were running at. Conditions were a bit sketchy with probably 80% of the track dry but the rest damp so you really had to concentrate hard to make sure you didn't stray off line and I did just that. We'd opened up a bit of a gap to the riders behind and I was hopeful of moving up to 4th but the rain began to come down and it was the right decision to stop the race.

"Fifth is very satisfying and it's got my short circuit season back on track so I'll now look to build on this result and make sure we're there or thereabouts for the entire second half of the season."

The result moves him back up to 10th overall in the Championship table with the next round taking place at Snetterton, Norfolk on July 16-18.

Picture by Glynne Lewis