Lunch with John McGuinness

From the latest issue...

He is the greatest living exponent of motor racing’s most thrilling, historic and dangerous event: the Isle of Man TT. So we tried to have lunch with him

We could hardly have chosen a better place to have lunch with John McGuinness. We are sitting in the dining room of the Midland Hotel in his home town of Morecambe, Lancashire. Beyond this 1930s art deco masterpiece lurks the grey swell of Morecambe Bay and the Irish Sea. Just over the horizon lies Mona’s Isle, the island that has defined McGuinness’ life.

Everything seems perfect, but for one thing: McGuinness isn’t here. Calls are made, texts are sent. We seek him here, we seek him there, but he is nowhere to be found. Finally, long after the restaurant kitchen has closed, he texts me. “Really sorry, I screwed up, I forgot. My head’s all over the place. I went out on my enduro bike. Can we do it at my house at four-ish?”

The 44-year-old, 23-times TT winner has recently moved just outside Morecambe, where he’s lived most of his life, to a place in the hills, with wife Becky and children Ewan and Maisie. The snow-capped peaks of the Lakeland hills brood in the background as we turn into his drive. He is full of apologies and covered in mud, the residue of an 80-mile dirt-road blast on his enduro bike. No mobile-phone signal.

We take a seat in his kitchen/diner, thinking a cup of tea might be a nice idea. John opens the fridge and gets out some beers, so the story is no longer ‘Lunch with John McGuinness’, it’s ‘A few beers with John McGuinness’.

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