“The corner is top gear but not maxed out, the revs go up as you go onto the side of the tyre. This part of the track is all left and right, so you’re always on the narrow diameter of the tyre and picking up rpm. I come through Handley’s in fourth. It feels good when you’re leant over, then it feels a bit lazy when you pick the bike up. As I go left after Handley’s I short shift into fifth, I don’t even rev the bike, I just snatch fifth there and accelerate hard and get into top before my corner.
“I let the bike run, you’re better off letting it run a bit. A lot of people try to pick the bike up, but that just kills the revs, especially on the little bikes. You’re better off bringing it up slowly.
“It’s different in different parts. At places like Bishopscourt and Alpine Cottage you let the bike run the full width of the road. Here you’ve got to get it back and onto the right line because you’re building speed.
“I like all the fast stuff, like Gorse Lee, the right-hander before Ballacraine, just because it’s a real ballsy corner. I like the end of the Cronk Y Voddy straight, I like the 11th Milestone, I like Bishopscourt and the exit of Alpine Cottage.”
The bit he doesn’t like: Whitegates
“You chuck it in and you get this dead, vague feeling”
You might expect McGuinness to dread some of the fastest, scariest parts of the track, but in fact he doesn’t dread any of it. How could he do that and still be in with a chance? Nope, his least favourite corner is a nondescript left-hander after May Hill in Ramsey
“Whitegates doesn’t look that rough but it’s horrible. Every time I go around it I always feel like I’m going to tuck the front. I don’t know why because looking at it closely it looks quite smooth. I think there’s some strategic bumps in the track that make the bike pick the back up and put you over the ’bars. Then you chuck it in and you get this dead, vague feeling through the front tyre
“May Hill is rough as arseholes, but I don’t mind that, you know where you are; it’s got camber, you come out of there and it’s just spinning, spinning all the way up the hill, then you stab the brakes and the bike tends to pick the back up and you can’t get it settled before you get into Whitegates. You’re constantly chasing it to get it to sit down. And you brake really early into it as well, so you’re thinking what’s going on? Otherwise it’s a standard left-hander, middle of the road on the right – you don’t want to be in the gutter.
“This is just scratchy, scratchy. No disrespect, but the lad who finishes 30th is going to get around here as fast as I am.”
“When you look at it, it’s not a standard corner, it’s like a double kink, so it’s more of a longer radius than you think. You always tend to run wide on the exit, but you could use the junction over on the right side of the road. That’d probably have you heading towards the kerb but you could probably go up the kerb if you needed to.
“Luckily, it’s not a really important corner. You scratch a bit through here, but everybody’s doing the same sort of pace from Parliament Square, so there’s nothing to be gained; some might get a few tenths on you. After the Gooseneck, that’s when you start galloping on, that’s where you make your big time… all that fast stuff. This is just scratchy, scratchy. No disrespect, but the lad who finishes 30th is going to get around here as fast as I am.
“I like the whole track, to be honest. But I’m not keen on Whitegates, the 13th Milestone, because it’s off-camber and sucks you in a bit, Laurel Bank and Governor’s Bridge and the Nook, but then I don’t think anyone likes Governor’s Bridge and the Nook.”
More McGuinness TT highlights
“Going out of Union Mills I start to relax. I always think the left out of Union Mills is a super, super important corner. You go into the preceding right a little slower, because if you scratch your nuts off there, you’re going to lose time through the left and that will cost you all the way up the Ballahutchin hill.
“You want to be building speed and driving hard out of Union Mills. It’s important, especially when you get a sniff of someone you’re catching. Then you get a bit of a rest, which is good, because off the start it’s hellish, fighting your way down Bray Hill. Up this hill I talk to myself: right, relax, just get into it. I gibber to myself in me head. In 2011 when Guy [Martin] looked like he was going to clear off in the Senior, I was a bit tense on the bike, making a few mistakes. I told myself come on, there’s lots of miles still to go. You’ve only got to nick a little here and a little there and you’ve got your claws back into the leader.”
Glenduff (1 mile after Ginger Hall)
“I had one of the biggest scares of me TT career here – I’ll never forget it. It was on an R6 Yamaha during 600 practice in 2005. I had this huge tank-slapper and I’ve no idea why. It snapped the steering damper and broke the bodywork. It went bang-bang-bang-bang on the stops and I was an absolute total passenger. I f**king shat myself!
“You get weaves and headshakes, but that was the only lock-to-lock tank-slapper I’ve had. Awful, absolutely terrifying. I’ve tried to find a smooth line around here but there isn’t one. It’s just madness here, like motocross, you’re stood on the ’pegs through to Ramsey.”
“You need an economical style. A lot of people put that much energy into it that they’re huffing and puffing and they don’t breathe properly because they’re holding on too hard. That comes with time, you can’t educate people on that.