TT: Honda in crisis after McGuinness crash

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It was a week to forget for Honda Racing at the Vauxhall International North West 200 as their star rider John McGuinness was ruled out of action after a high-speed horror crash in Thursday’s qualifying session.

McGuinness sustained a nasty break to his right lower leg, four broken vertebrae and broken back ribs in the incident which will also rule him out of competition at the Isle of Man TT.

Following McGuinness’ crash, the Honda Racing team withdrew from the remainder of the event. Initially, the Louth-based squad only pulled road racer turned TV star Guy Martin out of Thursday’s Superstock race, but after they were unable to establish the cause of McGuinness’ accident they erred on the side of caution and withdrew from Saturday’s Superbike and remaining Superstock races on safety grounds.

The issue for Honda lies in that McGuinness has reported to the team that he feels the engine didn’t shut off when he rolled off the throttle into Primrose Hill and while they’ve been able to check the bike for mechanical problems – which it had none – they’ve yet been able to gain access to the ECU and datalogger to review the data from the time of the crash.

“While we got the bike back after John’s crash, we have been unable to get into the ECU and the datalogger to get the information as it’s taken a bit of a hit,” explains Jonny Twelvetrees, the man who replaces Neil Tuxworth at the helm of the factory outfit.


“That means we don’t know exactly what happened to the bike. John said the throttle stuck, or the engine didn’t cut off and we have no way of looking into that until we can get the bike back into the workshop.

“The bike is actually in quite good condition. Mechanically everything on it is as it should be other than the impact areas. All sensors and controls are working as they should, so we need to get the data to understand.”

Despite their North West withdrawal and still not knowing the cause of McGuinness’ crash, Twelvetrees assured MCN that Honda have no plans to withdraw Guy Martin from the 2017 Isle of Man TT which gets underway next week.

“We will run at the TT, he explained. “That is our objective. Of course, we will go back, figure out what happened, make our counter measures and we will be there.”

The team wouldn’t be drawn on whether they’d replace 45-year-old McGuinness for the event, but with Guy Martin severely off the pace on both the new Fireblade and the CBR600RR at not only the North West 200 but also Tandragee, Cookstown and Scarborough it might bolster their chances. 

For the latest on this story, plus the full interview with Honda bosses, pick up Wednesday’s MCN. 

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Oli Rushby

By Oli Rushby

Former sports reporter covering British Superbikes, World Superbikes and road racing