North West 200: John McGuinness 'felt like Joey Dunlop' after emotional podium

Photo showing An emotional John McGuinness at his 30th North West 200 is delighted with his third place
An emotional John McGuinness at his 30th North West 200 is delighted with his third place -Credit:Stephen Davison/Pacemaker Press

John McGuinness said he "felt like Joey Dunlop" as thousands of fans cheered him on to a shock podium finish at the North West 200. The veteran rider claimed third place in the CP Hire Superstock race, finishing behind winner Davey Todd and runner-up Peter Hickman.

McGuinness benefitted from a back marker at Juniper chicane on the final lap, allowing the Morecambe man who get past the unfortunate James Hillier and secure his first North West podium finish since 2012.

The 52-year-old says he never expected to enter the winner's enclosure again in his illustrious career.

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McGuinness has won six races at the North West 200 and is a 23-times Isle of Man TT winner. He is celebrating 30 years in road racing this year, having already cemented his name in the pantheon of the sport's greats.

And his popularity was evident when the crowd roared him home on Saturday.

He told the BBC "It feels amazing. I never thought it would happen again. It has been a long time. I just kept fighting and kept sharp. I have ridden in Spain and Portugal. I still have the hunger.

"It is an amazing atmosphere, the crowd felt incredible. I felt like Joey Dunlop out there, the fans cheering both James (Hillier) and I on. It was a good battle. I thoroughly enjoyed the race. Thanks to everyone who put the faith in me."

The sunshine attracted tens of thousands of fans to the Triangle on Saturday, and McGuinness says the crowd's response was "humbling".

He added: "I could hear the crowd over the sound of the engine. It is great applause. It is humbling. I have a lot of friends here. A few years ago I went through the hedge at Primrose and got my leg fixed. I was in races before with Joey, and the year Michael won that race in 2008.

"But at 52 years of age I never thought I would be on the podium with people like Davey Todd, young people with mullets.

"It was emotional. A lot of effort goes into that. I haven't had a great start to the year. It means a lot and is really special. Sliding, wheelies, missing kerbs by millimetres, and then standing on the podium."

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