Isle of Man TT legend and Lexelle-sponsored John McGuinness thought his glittering career may have come to an end after a pre-season enduro crash left him with a broken wrist just weeks before the biggest race of his year.
The Morecambe Missile was told by surgeons he had no chance of riding at the 2014 event but sheer determination coupled with pioneering therapy meant he was able to ride.
In an interview with Bikesport News, McGuinness reflected on his season which began with fears his career may be coming to an end.
“I played down the injuries but the reality was that both my wrists were in a right mess,” he said.
“When I looked down, one was dislocated, both were swollen, and while the right one had the most damage, the left was in a bad way too. I genuinely thought my career was over.
“Just getting to the start line at the TT was like a win for me, but I knew I was in trouble at the North West. It wasn’t so much the pain that was a problem, more the fact I was struggling with my strength and fatigue.”
“By that time of year, I’ve normally got about 1,500km of riding under my belt, what with pre-season testing and the early season World Endurance and BSB rounds. But this year all I’d had was half a day at Castle Coombe.”
Despite a new bike and suspension, McGuinness was frustrated he wasn’t able to reach top form.
“I needed to be at the top of my game, but I wasn’t,” he added.
“Without doubt, it was the hardest TT I’ve ever had, even more so than learning the place on my debut in 1996. You can deal with all the off-track demands, but going into a race, having no idea where you’re going to end up is tough.
“In the first few nights of practice, it was okay but the TT is demanding, physically and mentally, and the more the fortnight wore on, the harder it got. Again, the pain wasn’t a major problem, but I felt weak. I wasn’t bike fit.”