Dr. Vale, meet Mr. McGuinness

Escape to Danger Island

You might not have noticed John McGuinness taking his 15th win in the 2009 Isle of Man Superbike TT, or that Mike Hailwood is now the second best Englishman in TT history Snaefell Mountain Course. You might have missed his 130.442 mph record lap on the HM Plant Honda CBR1000RR, en route a new 1-hour 46:07.16 race record that beat his own 2004 mark over the 226.38-mile distance. But maybe you caught 8-time world champion Valentino Rossi’s cameo appearance, along with a certain15-time world champ by the name of Agostini.

Okay, so Vale’s working vacation may have had something to do with the fact that Dainese was official safety partner and title sponsor for the IOM Superbike race. But after watching McGuinness rip by at 180 mph or so, inches from stone walls, stone pubs and thousands of spectators, I figure Rossi’s eyes were roughly the size of mine last time I watched him flick it off into the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. Never mind the man’s 100 Grand Prix wins for a second. For #46, that single 90-mph lap on a stock R1 must have pushed the 35-year-old Brit’s 130-mph pace even deeper into the realm of the paranormal.

This just in: the Island is and shall remain the exclusive purview of a brilliant few with enormous skills and testicular mass to match. Winning 100 Grands Prix is one thing. Stringing more than 1200 corners fast enough to beat the likes of Steve Plater and Guy Martin is very, very different. Despite his genuine enthusiasm for the place, don’t expect to see Vale cue up for a real Superbike TT. And as brilliant as he is, Mr. McGuinness would have a hard time earning any spot on at MotoGP grid Mugello or Catalunya or even Donington Park. But what if they both rolled out with the A-group at your next Saturday track day for a friendly little afternoon scrape? No team transporters. No phalanx of technicians. I wouldn’t bet against Mr. McGuinness.