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Martin at the 2010 Isle of Man TT.
|Born|| 4 November 1981 |
Kirmington, Lincolnshire, England, UK
|This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2012)|
Martin at the 2010 Isle of Man TT.
|Born|| 4 November 1981 |
Kirmington, Lincolnshire, England, UK
Widely regarded as an amiable and "colourful" character, Martin has at times found it difficult to concentrate on his racing, primarily as a consequence of the huge media attention he attracts, not least at the Isle of Man TT.
He has also courted a certain degree of controversy, both with race officials and team principals.
Since 2011, he has also presented a few television documentaries exploring his other passions: historical industry and craftsmanship.
The son of amateur motorcycle racer Ian, Guy Martin trained as a truck fitter. He presently rents his own garage on the former RAF Blyton airfield, and lives nearby renting a room at his fiancee's parents' home. Martin owns various cars, including a 2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage, but his main transport is a Ford Transit van.
Martin decided to follow his father Ian's footsteps by racing motorbikes, and moved to Ireland to join Team Racing.
After a highly successful debut year on the roads, that saw him win the Cock o' the North and International Gold Cup races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough as well as the Irish 750cc Support Championship, he moved to the Uel Duncan Racing team for 2004. It was another successful year as he retained the Gold Cup whilst he also made his debut at the International road races with the highlight being 7th in the Senior TT. His best lap was 122.10 mph which, at the time, was the fastest ever lap set by a newcomer and almost 6 mph quicker than the previous best.
Staying with the team for 2005, Martin made further strides forward and at the TT he was the only rider to finish all five of his races inside the top six. A debut podium in the Senior was backed up with a fourth, two fifths and a sixth whilst he improved his lap speeds to in excess of 126 mph. He also took the Scarborough Gold Cup for the third successive year.
In 2006 Martin raced for Alistair Flanagan's AIM Yamaha race team after John McGuinness moved to the factory hm plant honda team for the national superstock championship and the international road races. His first race for the team was the 2005 Macau GP. During the 2006 season Martin was allowed to race on the English circuits again, taking part in some British Supersport championship races. He also participated in the 3 Scarborough racing events at Oliver's Mount – the Ian Watson Spring National, the Cock o' the North and the Gold Cup meeting in which he won the prestigious Gold Cup equaling Geoff Duke's record of 4 in a row. The International road race meetings had mixed results: the North West 200 never went particularly well, The Isle of Man TT looked promising but problems soon led to it being another disappointment though at the final international of the year, the Ulster Grand Prix, Martin took 4 race wins and a 2nd making him the man of the meeting. However, at the end of the season, it was clear to be fully competitive in the international races at the north west 200 and the TT, Martin needed to be with a different team.
Hydrex Honda were the team that secured Martin's signature for the 2007 season. Shaun Muir team owner said he was "Delighted to have such a great prospect and a true character on board" and had "High hopes for the coming season". In the early season he took part in British Superbike and Supersport rounds to prepare for the road racing season. The first major international of the year was the North West 200 in which Martin finished with an 8th, a 4th, two 3rds and a 2nd. In the CP Hire Superstock race after a bad start Martin finished 3rd. The Isle of Man TT was the next major race on the calendar and Martin got a 3rd, two 2nds and a DNF after running out of fuel with less than 3 miles to go until his first pit stop. In the Senior race he just missed out on becoming only the second rider, at the time, to have lapped at more than 130 mph, his best lap falling short at 129.816 mph. Later video footage showed him run wide on the entry to Windy Corner and it was this mistake that led him to miss out on the magical 130 mph lap.
Martin continued to race on the English scene and then he regained his Cock o' the North title at the Scarborough circuit before going to Ireland for the Kells Road Races in which he took one race win. This was preparation for the Ulster Grand Prix which was delayed for two hours due to bad weather and in the first race Martin brought home a 5th position, in race 2 a win, and in the superbike race, which was shortened due to weather, a 2nd. After this red flag the day's racing was cancelled due to bad weather and that meant for the 2nd year in a row Martin was the man of the meeting. The Scarborough Gold Cup meeting ended with him winning all the races on the final day including the Gold Cup and the 2nd 600 race of the day after a good battle with John McGuinness and Ian Lougher both on Hondas the same as Martin.
On Tuesday 4 December 2007 Martin announced that he would be continuing with Hydrex Honda for the 2008 season. The team introduced a new sponsor, Bike Animal, a motorcycle news website. As well as contesting a full season in the British Superbike Championship, Martin again competed in the three International road races but he was denied his first TT win when he broke down whilst comfortably leading the opening Superbike race. He was eleven seconds in the lead when an electrical problem forced him out on the fourth lap. He did claim a podium, third, in the Superstock race but suffered further retirements in the Senior and second Supersport races. In September 2008 it was back to Oliver's Mount for the International Gold Cup. Martin won the feature event and now has won 6 Gold Cups in a row, a new record, and he also has the lap record for the 1000cc bikes at Scarborough with a time of 1:45.3.
After the 2008 season ended, rumours started as to which team Martin would be racing for next season. He was linked to the Rob Mac racing team which run Yamahas in British Superbikes however this deal did not materialise. So for 2009 Martin continued with the Hydrex Honda team for a third successive year contesting all three Internationals as well as contesting selected British Championship and Irish National races. In a move from previous seasons, Martin moved away from the main Hydrex team, preferring instead to run a smaller, close knit team and after a steady North West 200 meeting, confidence was high going into the TT, his number one event of the year, as he sought to win a race at the 37.73 mile circuit on the Isle of Man.
2009 was expected to be the year he broke the seal, but after claiming two 2nds and a 3rd on the Superstock, Superbike and Supersport bikes early in the week Martin's engine gave up after coming onto the pit lane in the 2nd 600 race leaving him with his first DNF of the week and after a radio TT commentator approached he was left with an apology to make to TT fans for saying "If I get my hands on the fucker who built that engine he will feel the back of my hand!" More grief was still to come when putting the bike into gear at the end of his 2nd pit stop during the Senior race his chain snapped, meaning he ended up with another DNF.
He regrouped to claim the Southern 100 Championship on the Billown road course in July, after finishing second on no less than three occasions – 2005, 2006 and 2007 – before heading to the third International race of the season, the Ulster Grand Prix.
After taking third in Thursday's Dundrod 150 Superbike race, Martin repeated the result in the feature UGP Superbike race, held over 8 laps, but he ensured he would not be without an International win in 2009 when he won a thrilling second Superbike race, just over a tenth of a second in front of fellow Lincolnshire rider Gary Johnson. He also placed 4th and 5th in the equally close Superstock and Supersport races.
At the 2009 Gold Cup at Oliver's Mount, Martin won the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup feature race, becoming the first rider to win seven consecutive meetings.
|Supersport Race 1||2nd||01:13:03.39||123.948||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
The end of 2009 saw Martin leave Hydrex for Wilson Craig Honda, a team which hailed from Northern Ireland. Martin failed to take a podium at the North West 200, with his best result being fourth in the second Superbike race. He went to the Isle of Man TT, looking to achieve his first TT victory. However, the meeting was dominated by Ian Hutchinson, who took a record-breaking five victories in all the solo races. In the final race, the Senior TT, Martin was a challenger to stop Hutchinson achieving the clean sweep, but was involved in an incident on the third lap of the race at Ballagarey, having led the race just before the first pit stop. Martin was airlifted to Noble's Hospital in Douglas with chest injuries. He was later diagnosed as suffering bruising to both lungs and minor fractures to his upper spine. His performance at the meeting was criticised by Simon Buckmaster, whose PRT Racing Team built the bikes which Martin was running. Martin received considerable public support over Buckmaster's comments.
However, as opposed backing down, Buckmaster continued to reiterate his comments in a subsequent interview.
|Supersport Race 1||2nd||1:12:40.78||124.591||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||4th||1:13:00.31||124.035||Silver|
During the Superbike race, Martin received a 30-second penalty for exceeding the posted pit lane speed limit of 60km/h by just 0.112km/h. Had he not received the penalty, his overall time would have been 1:46:48.05 and put him in 2nd place, behind Ian Hutchinson who finished with a time of 1:46:31.82.
In November 2010 Martin was signed by Relentless Suzuki the team run by the Neill family based in Northern Ireland. Previously the team has had over 18 TT wins with riders including Cameron Donald, David Jefferies, Bruce Anstey, Adrian Archibald and Jim Moodie.
Philip Neill had this to say about his new signing “It’s been a difficult decision changing our line-up as we pride ourselves on loyalty. In saying that, Guy is a rider I’ve wanted to work with for a couple of seasons now, and my loyalty to other riders probably held that decision back a little. He came to us full of enthusiasm and wants to do things our way, which was a good starting point. And on top of that, I'm a sucker for a challenge and I like Guy's free spirit attitude. He's created a Guy Martin brand without even trying and that’s also pretty special.
"Obviously we know he’s a very talented rider and has been extremely unlucky not to have won races at both the North West 200 and the TT. So our motivation is to complete that task, while making sure Guy also fulfils his commercial responsibility representing a manufacturer backed team. Having spoken to him at length before we agreed a deal, I know he won't let Suzuki or our sponsors down."
Martin is said to have found a good direction after joining his team-mates during testing at Cartagena.
The popular road racer will pilot the team's Suzuki GSX-R1000 in selected events this season, most notably the Isle of Man TT where he will be striving for a first win.
Travelling to Spain with Josh Brookes and Alastair Seeley – who will compete in the British Superbike and British Supersport Championships respectively – Martin focused on sorting a good set up on the Superstock and Superbike machines.
"It's been steady away boy ... steady away,” he said. “We are making good headway and are not bothered with the stopwatch. We've had three days working very hard on the Superbike and we gave the 'stock bike a run out. I've found some good direction. It's all looking grand."
Martin had a relatively successful TT but still the all important top step was out of reach again. The closest he got was on Fridays senior race where he battled with John McGuinness until the bitter end for the lead. Eventually taking second place, Martin commented he did all he could and he was beaten by the better man.
A superbike race 2 win at the Ulster Grand Prix would follow for Martin after his consistent TT, also Martin finished second in the opening superbike race behind Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts racing Honda Fireblade.
|Supersport Race 1||3rd||0:54:56:06||123.628||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||3rd||1:13:29.28||123.220||Silver|
In 2012, Martin resumed his ride with the factory Tyco Suzuki squad, which has been renamed following a change of sponsorship for the 2012 campaign. He made his first appearance at the Cookstown 100 meeting in preparation for the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT. Guy brought his race season to a fantastic close winning 5 races at Scarborough's Oliver Mount Gold Cup. He also took part in the Ryan Farquhar Parade lap on one of Ryans own KMR Kawasaki's.
Following on from the Cookstown meeting, Martin was set to campaign in all the main races at the North West 200, as a prelude to working up for the Isle of Man TT.
However, during the Supersport race he crashed in a spectacular accident. As a consequence of the accident, he was left with a suspected head injury, which resulted in his team manager, Philip Neill, withdrawing Martin from the remainder of the racing programme.
This led to rumours of a 'bust-up' with the Suzuki Team, and resulted in Martin's team boss, Hector Neill, being interviewed on Manx Radio TT 365 prior to the TT, during which Neill readily scotched such rumours as; "Media inspired skulduggery. Paddock tittle-tattle and unfounded hear-say".
Martin's start to the 2012 TT Festival saw him competing – in a solely private capacity – at the Pre-TT Classic races at the Billown Circuit, Castletown. Martin was lucky to escape injury while competing in the superbike race, and was battling for the lead of the race on a Suzuki XR69 with Jamie Coward, when he crashed on the final lap.
This again led to reports of tension, as the Pre-TT races do not form any part of the main TT racing programme, and posed a potential injury risk to Martin before the TT had begun in earnest.
During the practice week for the 2012 Isle of Man TT, Martin made steady progress - albeit still amid rumours of differing opinions with his team's management, regarding machinery set-up and the team's choice of Pirelli tyres.
Martin made a good start to the Superbike TT, and at the end of the first lap he was lying in third place behind John McGuinness and Cameron Donald. He continued to hold station during the following three laps, but a problem during his final pit stop at the end of lap four, resulted in the team being unable to replace his rear tyre. As a consequence of diminishing grip from a fading tyre, Martin was overtaken on corrected time by Bruce Anstey by the end of lap five, although he did hold on to finish fourth with a time of 1hr.47.20 at an average speed of 126.54 mph.
Rumours continued to circulate throughout the week about Martin's differences with his team. Perhaps instigated by Martin's lateness of signing a contract at the start of the season, although as practice week went on, it was obvious the rumours regarding Martin's split from his team where untrue. Plus whether his injured team-mate Conor Cummins, would be passed fit in order to participate in the Senior TT.
The Senior race was scheduled to take place on its traditional Friday - June 8. However, following adverse weather the previous day, the race was postponed until Saturday, June 9. As a consequence of continued poor weather, the decision to cancel the Senior TT was taken.
This was the first time in the race's 105 year history that the Senior had been cancelled due to weather.
|Race||Position||Time (HH:MM:SS)||Speed (Mph)||Replica|
|Supersport Race 1||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
|Supersport Race 2||8th||01:15:17.95||120.256||Silver|
|Senior||Race Cancelled||Race Cancelled||Race Cancelled||Race Cancelled|
In March 2011 BBC One broadcast the educational documentary series The Boat that Guy Built. In the show Martin along with his childhood pal "Mavis" (Mark Davis) renovate a narrow boat, Reckless, travelling on the canal network using the inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The programme involves reconstructions of early industrial processes such as smelting iron. The programme is narrated by Liza Tarbuck.
TT3D: Closer to the Edge is a documentary film about the Isle of Man TT races. The film examines what motivates the riders who race the TT and risk everything to become "King of the Mountain". Filmed in 3D, the film is a story about freedom of choice and the strength of human spirit. The film follows the leading riders in the 2010 race meeting, in particular Martin and Ian Hutchinson.
Martin presented How Britain Worked, a 2012 series on Channel 4 that focused on a number of engineering projects from the Industrial Revolution. He has also written an accompanying book of the same name published by Virgin Books (ISBN 0753540843).
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