Isle of Man TT legend John McGuinness says his record-breaking victory in last year's blue riband Senior race was all the sweeter after the 23-time winner admitted he felt it might have been beyond him.
The Morecambe Missile smashed the lap record to set a new benchmark of 132.701mph on the Honda Racing Fireblade, pummelling his rivals into submission to claim a magnificent seventh Senior TT triumph to make him the most successful rider ever in the prestigious race along with Mike Hailwood.
McGuinness, though, went into the race 'not really believing' he would win, but instead the 43-year-old produced one of his greatest performances ever to complete the 2015 festival on a high.
Speaking at the official launch of the 2016 TT in Douglas on Thursday night, McGuinness said: “I was a bit emotional really and I was thinking 'I'm going to win another one of these – mega'. I didn't really believe I could but I just wanted to put a performance on, give it my best shot and my best shot was good enough to win on the day.
“It was really special but on lap two I couldn't really see anybody because I was concentrating so hard and maybe it's one of those laps that I've lost from my memory because I put that much effort into it: I put all my 19 years experience into it.
“When I stopped in the pits the Grandstand erupted and it was a weird feeling. I could hear it and my mechanic said 'you're doing all right, keep doing what you're doing'. On lap four I pushed really hard and I was fortunate enough to have a decent lead,” he added.
“It was a nice thing to read on your pit board, +19 on the last lap of the Senior, and I began to start really enjoying it. I was really concentrating on making sure I didn't make any mistakes because you're not finished until you've crossed the line, as Hutchy proved when he was motocross riding around Bedstead!”
McGuinness believes it will take a 133mph lap to win in the Superbike class in June but said the right conditions will also play a key role as they did when he established a new outright lap record in 2015.
“On my pit board I did Ballacraine to Ballacraine in 17m 0.01s or something apparently, so that's as close as you're going to get. Looking at the start line and they guys sitting in the top ten, you're going to have to do that to win,” he said.
“It all depends on conditions because on Senior day there wasn't much wind or sun, the track conditions were perfect and everybody was on fire and the grip was right up.
“The track was absolutely in perfect condition and if we get that again then I'm sure we will get it [133mph lap].”