John McGuinness is one of the greatest riders ever of TT racing but over the weekend of May 10/11 he will swap the 37 ¾ miles of Manx public roads for the more sedate surroundings of the Darley Moor circuit in Ashbourne, Derbyshire for this year’s Thundersprint.
Not that John doesn’t think highly of this beautiful circuit, set in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. “I have had really fond memories of Darley for a long time. I’ve competed in every ‘Stars at Darley’ meeting since 1998 and love riding there.
“The length of a lap is a bit different from the TT, to say the least, but Darley is a great little track and a lot of fun. I have been meaning to ride at the Thundersprint for years and years but there has always been some clash which has prevented me from making an appearance and so I am really pleased to be there at last.
“In some ways, the Thundersprint is very like the TT because there is a really relaxed atmosphere for the spectators with Mums and Dads and the family dog there, alongside hard core race fans. The difference is that no matter how much I want to be with fans, the TT is a serious business and my mind has to be focussed on racing.
“The Thundersprint will be completely different. I will have all the time in the world for fans and when I am not having a play about on the track with Scott Redding and Nick Jefferies I will be in the paddock talking about the TT. It’s going to be a great weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Thundersprint organiser Frank Melling said: “John is one of the all-time greats of TT racing and is very much a riders’ rider. We watched John break the 130mph lap barrier from the banking at Creg Ny Baa and he was so elegant and smooth that he made it look like a Sunday ride out. That’s the sign of the best of the best.
“We’ve been talking to John about riding in the Thundersprint for the last twelve years now so we’re more than satisfied to have him join us at what we hope will be the first of many Thundersprints.”