Guy Martin

Road racing – Martin quits Honda

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Guy Martin has called time on his Honda road racing career after just six months, with the team struggling to get the new Fireblade fit for the roads.

The move is in stark contrast to the moment he joined the team earlier in the year when he was unveiled as team-mate to TT legend John McGuinness.

However, the new bike has been beset with electronic problems – John McGuinness suffered serious injuries when the throttle stuck open during Superbike qualifying at the NW200, and Martin then had a huge crash at the TT after experiencing what he described as ‘a boxful of neutrals’.

The team withdrew the bike from the TT and even though Martin tested at Cadwell a fortnight ago, he still coundn’t gel with the bike he labelled ‘a Jonah’. He said: “I went into the year right excited about the new Honda. I thought it would be great straight away and so did the team. I soon realised that it needed a lot of developing. It will be great, but it needs time and I’ve got loads of other projects going on, that I’d rather use that time for.

“I didn’t get involved to develop a bike over months and years – I was told I’d have a bike capable of winning straight away and that’s why I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

“The TT was a bloody disaster. Aside from walking the dog and racing the Mugen, I didn’t enjoy it. It was clear even before that we were going to struggle and then it turned into me really being a test rider, which I did, but after we did more testing at Cadwell a few weeks back, I said to the team the bike won’t be competitive at the Ulster Grand Prix. They decided to withdraw me from the event, although they didn’t tell me, which is OK as the decision was made for me.

“There’s no bad feeling. Neil Tuxworth has been upfront with me from the start and it’s a shame for everyone that the new bike hasn’t worked. I know how much effort I put in and so do the team, so no regrets but I’ve got no plans to do anymore road racing on the Hondas this year.”

The father to be revealed that he will still race, but on his own terms. He said: “I’ve not given up on racing or road racing, there’s no unfinished business and I want to race classics and oddball stuff. All I’ve been thinking about recently is Pikes Peak and any spare time my brain has had is about Pikes Peak on 4 wheels. That job is down to me and if it doesn’t work, it’s my fault and I like that. Nigel Racing Corporation (NRC) current plans are preparation for Pikes Peak and classic racing but the plans can change with the wind.”

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Classic racing – Lincolnshire legends to spearhead Suzuki assault at Spa

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Lincolnshire legends Guy Martin and Pete Boast will join Team Classic Suzuki for the Spa Bikers’ Classic on July 1, with the duo set to campaign the team’s Suzuki Vintage Parts-supported Katana in the four-hour race.

Martin returns to the brand after a disastrous stint at the NW2100 and the TT and NW200 for Martin who labelled the 2017 Honda Fireblade ‘a Jonah’ after suffering a big crash during practice, while Pete Boast – no stranger to endurance racing – claimed British and European Flat Track titles with the Suzuki.

Team Classic Suzuki principal, Steve Wheatman, said: “We’re really pleased to be welcoming Guy and Pete to the team for this round of the Classic Endurance series, both have strong links with Suzuki and both love their classic racing.

“The Spa Classic is an excellent event that is well-known across Europe. It’s always well-attended, with plenty going on alongside the four-hour race for fans to enjoy. But of course, the four-race is why we’re going, and after the disappointment of Donington we want a good result.”

The Katana debuted at the Donington Park 4 Hour round of the series but failed to make a single lap after Jamie Whitham lost control and wrecked the bike in the process.

The Spa Classic takes place from 1-2 July at Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, with Team Classic Suzuki taking part in the four-hour race that starts at 20:00 on Saturday.

Road racing – Martin refuses to race new Fireblade in Senior

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In a move that surprises nobody, Guy Martin has refused to race the new Fireblade in this year’s Senior TT race.

The maverick Lincolnshire rider suffered a big crash after finding a ‘box full of neutrals’ on the racebike earlier in the week, a move which clearly left Martin visibly shook up.

A normally vocal Martin was unusually quiet following the incident, towing the official Honda line and allowing Honda Racing manager Jonny Twelvetrees to do the talking.

The island rumour mill was rife with report that the team had packed up and gone home, but that speculation proved to be unfounded, and instead the gossip focused on whether Martin would race or not.

And today Martin revealed his hand: “I came back to the TT this year to race and try to win with Honda Racing. I’ve done loads of testing and the team have been flat out, before we got here and at the event. But we’re not doing the times needed to be competitive here, we need more time to set up the bike and doing six laps will not achieve what we set out to do and I’ve always reckoned this is not the place to be out riding just to make up the numbers, so as a team we agreed it wasn’t right competing in the Senior TT. With the weather and my crash I’ve done plenty of tea drinking and dog walking.”

His team manager Jonny Twelvetrees revealed that the bike was ready, and that the decision not to race was martin’s. He said: “We’re disappointed not to be taking part in today’s Senior TT, a decision that is ultimately due to a lack of track time for Guy on the Fireblade. We came here to race and everyone in the team – who have worked extremely hard over the last few months – was looking forward to seeing what the new bike could do. Guy informed me that he wouldn’t race in the Senior, which is a tough decision to make but one I can understand given the lack of practice we’ve had.

“The good news is that Guy has told me that even though the TT hasn’t worked out, he’s keen to take part in the Southern 100 next month and try to get the most from the Fireblade there.”

Road racing – TT 2017 is go!

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After a frustrating and wet start to the 2017 Isle of Man TT races, qualifying finally got underway on Tuesday evening and last year’s headline makers – Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop – immediately took up where they left off last year, setting the pace with 125mph+ laps.

Intermittent afternoon rain resulted in a number of damp patches around the 37.73-mile course, most notably at Greeba, on the approach to Glen Helen and in Governor’s Dip, but conditions were otherwise good with bright sunshine and blue skies at the start and finish of the session. It was a prompt start too as the three newcomers – Adam McLean, Paul Jordan and Joey Thompson – headed off down Glencrutchery Road slightly before the 6.20pm start.

After the sidecar newcomers left the line for their speed controlled lap, there was a slight gap before the session proper fired into life with Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts Honda first away just before 6.35pm with James Hillier, Ian Hutchinson, Josh Brookes and Lee Johnston on their Supersport mounts following the Kiwi rider down Glencrutchery Road.

Ivan Lintin, Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter were also among the early starters on their Lightweight machines while the returning Guy Martin set off slightly later on his Supersport Honda as he got his first taste of the Mountain Course on closed roads since the 2015 Senior TT.

Hutchinson, on the McAMS Yamaha, was first to complete a lap at 118.845mph with Michael Dunlop second across the line and quickest on the opening lap of TT2017 at 120.371mph. Gary Johnson was also above the 120mph mark at 120.311mph, just over half a second slower than Dunlop.

Hutchinson’s lap made him third quickest ahead of Dean Harrison and Jamie Coward (both 118.160), Hillier (117.884) and Conor Cummins (117.673). Martin’s first lap was a solid 115.808mph with Brookes back on 108.171mph. Meanwhile, Dan Kneen was reported as having stopped at Cronk y Voddy although he was able to proceed.

Second time out and Hutchinson and Dunlop both lapped in excess of 121mph, at 121.147 and 121.020 respectively. Anstey and Hillier were next with 119.794 and 119.776 respectively while Johnson was slightly slower on his second lap at 119.341. Martin improved to 117.092mph. McLean was the fastest newcomer with a fastest lap of 112.89mph.

Rutter was quickest in the Lightweight class with a speed of 113.946 on the Paton from Lintin (113.856) with Dan Cooper, Hickman and Stefano Bonetti all inside the 111mph lap barrier.

At 7.10pm it was the turn of the 1000cc machines with David Johnson first away on the Norton. The Aussie hasn’t got a Supersport bike at his disposal so waited slightly longer than other riders for his first laps of 2017.

Steve Mercer lapped at 120.906mph with Hillier (120.986) and Rutter (120.986) slightly quicker but it was that man Dunlop who was laying an early marker down on the Bennetts Suzuki and a speed of 125.680mph sent him comfortably to the top of the leaderboard.

Hutchinson cruised across the line with a lap of 122.704mph but this was only good enough for fourth as Dan Kneen slotted into second on the Penz13.com BMW with a fine lap of 124.642mph. Dean Harrison (122.853) moved up to third with Peter Hickman (121.472) and Lee Johnston (121.322) completing the top six while Guy Martin’s opening lap on the Superbike saw him post a speed of 118.739mph.

There were changes later in the session though and although Dunlop broke the 125mph barrier once more, Hutchinson took the first night honours with the fastest lap on the night with a speed of 125.839mph. Hickman (124.093) jumped up to fourth although Rutter’s lap of 124.117mph made him quickest in the Superstock class from Anstey (123.722).

Harrison looked like he would make a significant impression but he retired at the Mountain Box while Martin broke the 120mph barrier with a speed of (120.018).

Today’s qualify session is scheduled to get away at 18.20 (Superbikes, Superstock, Supersport, Newcomers (ex Lightweight) to 19.20 with Supersport, Lightweight and Newcomers all classes away from 19.20 to 19.50.

Road racing – Martin gels with new Honda CBR1000RR SP2

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Lincolnshire road racing maverick Guy Martin has had his first taste of the new CBR1000RR SP2 as he continues his preparations for his return to road racing with the factory backed Honda Racing outfit.

The Kirmington lad joined team-mate John McGuinness for the shakedown at Castle Combe, and while Martin seemed to gel with the new Fireblade, an impressive feat considering he has switched rubber from Metzeler to Dunlop, McGuinness suffered a broken thumb after crashing on the second day of testing.

Honda Racing boss Neil Tuxworth said: “The bikes arrived later than expected and good progress is being made getting them ready to race. Considering the mechanics were still working on them the night before the test we are very happy with where we are.

“With the road bikes running kit ignition they are easier to set up than the BSB racebikes which run on Motech systems. We will come back to Castle Combe for another test in a few weeks’ time and that will be important as both bikes will be running full spec.”

 

Road racing – Martin in, Anstey out at Mugen

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Guy Martin has joined Team Mugen for the 2017 Isle of Man TT Zero race.

The Lincolnshire maverick will partner up with 23-time TT winner John McGuinness, his teammate in the Factory Honda road racing outfit, and replaces last year’s TT Zero race winner Bruce Anstey.

Both John McGuinness and Guy Martin will fly out to Tokyo in April to check out the bike and get it set-up.

Team Mugen wants to smash the TT Zero lap record and break the 120mph barrier, and with martin looking to land his maiden TT win,this could possibly his best chance of that.

Road racing – Martin signs for Factory Honda squad

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The fastest man to never win a TT has signed to race a new Fireblade for the Factory Honda outfit.

Martin was in talks with Neil Tuxworth to ride for Honda last year, with Honda desperate to see Martin on their machinery in 2016. Sources close to Martin revealed that the star was told he could name his price, but it isn’t money that drives Martin and he told Tuxworth so. Instead of a fat pay cheque, Martin said he’d race for nothing, so long as he could race the RCV, the road-going version of Marc Marquez’s bike.

Tuxworth left and contacted HRC, but the answer from the Japanese factory was that a road racing RCV wasn’t a possibility. And thus the talks between Tuxworth and Martin broke down.

However, Tuxworth believes Martin is the perfect rider to partner John McGuinness and continued to push the maverick truck mechanic to sign for his Honda Legends road racing squad.

Martin said: Neil [Tuxworth] has been talking to me for a while about joining the team, but I had a lot of thinking to do before I committed and said yes. I spent a lot of time on my push bike to and from work, thinking about what to do. I didn’t want to grow old regretting not giving the Honda a go, and the more time passes since making the decision, the more time I’ve thought it is the right decision.

“Honda is a great team and the Fireblade has always been a weapon on the roads, so with the new bike, I‘m keen to give it a go. We’ve got a busy testing schedule coming up and I’ve put some other stuff off to make time. John [McGuinness] is the man, I’ve got massive respect for him and I’m looking forward to racing on the Fireblade against him.”

The deal will see Martin ride the new Honda Fireblade in both the Superstock and Superbike races at the TT, and is also set to compete at the North West 200, Ulster GP, Southern 100 and some Irish meetings in the coming year.

Signing for the Factory Honda teams means Martin will ditch the spanners and focus solely on riding the new Fireblade, which may just free enough head space to allow him to take his maiden TT win.

It’s a big ask though – the bike is unproven. Watch this space…

 

 

Road racing – Martin makes shock return with Honda

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Guy Martin is making a shock return to the roads after signing a deal to ride the all-new Fireblade for Honda.

Honda had offered a ‘name your price’ contract last year, but the Lincolnshire maverick refused the offer, asking instead for a RCV213. Honda UK asked Japan but were unable to come to an agreement and the deal was dead in the water.

Or so we thought. Now it seems Guy has agreed terms to ride a 2017 Fireblade at the TT, although no details have been revealed about which team he’s riding for – the Honda TT Legends team or the Wilson Craig team.

And after sitting out last season altogether he’s got a point to prove.

Road racing – Martin wanted RCV ride for 2016 TT

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Speculation continues to surround Guy Martin, with media channels across the globe wondering whether we will see the maverick road racer between the hedges in 2017.

Many are suggesting the fastest man to never win a TT has done with the roads for good, his huge off at the UlsterGP in 2015 proving to be the crash that broke the camel’s back.

However, we can reveal that the world’s fastest truck mechanic was in talks with Neil Tuxworth to ride for Honda last year, with Honda desperate to see Martin on their machinery in 2016.

Sources close to Martin revealed that the star was told he could name his price, but it isn’t money that drives Martin and he told Tuxworth so. Instead of a fat pay cheque, Martin said he’d race for nothing, so long as he could race the RCV, the road-going version of Marc Marquez’s bike.

Tuxworth left and contacted HRC, but the answer from the Japanese factory was that a road racing RCV wasn’t a possibility. And thus the talks between Tuxworth and Martin broke down.

But we did see an RCV ridden in anger at the TT after Clive Padgett prepared a privately-owned bike for Bruce Anstey, and the flying Kiwi finished eighth in the Superbike race on the MotoGP-inspired V4. Would Martin have fared any better? Let the discussions begin…

So Martin may not be racing on the roads anytime soon, but should a team offer him a left field choice, then the answer my just be a resounding YES.

 

 

Hey, leave our Guy alone

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So, last night Lincolnshire lad and motorcycling maverick Guy Martin added another accolade to sit on his already bulging trophy cabinet, setting a speed record for the fastest wall of death.

The Kirmington based rider broke the 60mph barrier on an Indian before smashing that and recording an impressive 78.15mph on his own prepared triple.

It was no mean feat – Martin was pulling more than 6G as he travelled around the wall – and in his own words he was starting to suffer with ‘grey / blurred’ vision.

And yet despite this achievement, and bringing motorcycling to the masses on primetime TV on a Bank Holiday, social media was awash with keyboard warriors belittling his efforts, and what he has achieved in his stellar career to date.

‘But he hasn’t won a TT’, ‘Ken Fox could’ve smashed that record’, were some of the nicer comments. Yes, he hasn’t won a TT, but he’s constantly been one of the fastest riders between the hedges and his bravery and commitment can’t be questioned – he had his fast crash at the UlsterGP because he wanted the win, because he wanted to beat Bruce Anstey.

Ken Fox could possibly have broke the record, but he didn’t. Guy did. Get over it and applaud the man for raising the profile of motorcycling immeasurably. He’s a national treasure and I’m lucky enough to have seen him race live more times than I care to remember. I hope the hatred of the minority doesn’t mean he’ll hang up his road racing leathers for good.