WILL GUY RACE IN 2017? 017?

TV star re­fuses to rule out TT come­back but says if he re­turns he’ll be ‘ in it to win it’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Stephen Davison MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Ayear ago the big ques­tion on ev­ery­one’s mind was, “Will Guy Martin race in 2016?” Twelve months on, the spec­u­la­tion re­mains. “I don’t know if I’m done with the TT and all or not,” Guy said at this week­end’s Burt Munro Chal­lenge. “I’ve done well as a part-time racer, so could walk away with no re­grets. But I’m still un­de­cided.”

But Guy did do lots of things in 2016. He pulled off a new Wall of Death world speed record of 78.150mph. He com­pleted the 2745-mile Tour Di­vide cy­cle race in Amer­ica, under the pseu­do­nym Terry Smith. And he even tried to cross the English Chan­nel in a pedal-pow­ered blimp.

Most spec­tac­u­larly of all, Guy had his first crack at set­ting a new world land speed record on two wheels at Bon­neville in a twin-turbo Rocket IIIpow­ered Tri­umph.

Only last week­end Guy high­lighted his un­pre­dictabil­ity by rac­ing in New Zealand, so is there a pos­si­bil­ity he will make a re­turn to rac­ing be­tween the hedges?

“I’m stop­ping the film­ing for a year to get the truck­ing busi­ness back to where we need to be and I’ll take some time to think about stuff,” said Guy. “If I do go back, it’ll be a ded­i­cated year of my life – that’s what it takes to win.” As al­ways, Guy’s dare­devil ex­ploits in 2016 at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion. As a high-pro­file tele­vi­sion star, the 35-year-old is a bona fide main­stream celebrity these days. TV cam­eras recorded most of his stunts and chal­lenges. That seems to be how Guy ap­proaches his twowheeled out­ings these days; as ei­ther part of what he calls his ‘TV job’ or, as with the Tour Di­vide ride, per­sonal af­fairs that he does sim­ply be­cause he wants to, and can. But the one thing Guy con­spic­u­ously did not do in 2016 was ride a rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cle in anger.

There were no road rac­ing out­ings for his Tyco BMW team, even though team boss Philip Neill had promised to have a S1000RR at Guy’s dis­posal any time rid­ing it took his fancy.

And while Guy was else­where com­plet­ing his cir­cus-style feats for the TV cam­eras, his old spar­ring part­ner, Ian Hutchin­son, was ac­com­plish­ing what Guy had sin­gu­larly failed to do since join­ing the North­ern Ire­land-based squad in 2011 – win­ning a TT race.

Hutchy brought the team’s eightyear-old TT famine to an end with a Su­per­stock race win in 2016, and will race for Neill’s out­fit again next sea­son.

The Tyco squad has left the door open for Guy in 2017 and there will be a bike avail­able if he wants it. What other rider could ever hope to be in that po­si­tion other than per­haps Marc Mar­quez or Valentino Rossi?

But in the past Guy has strug­gled to find the time to com­plete even a cou­ple of one-day tests be­fore the sea­son be­gins in anger, never mind the type of pre-sea­son test­ing and Bri­tish cham­pi­onship com­pe­ti­tion that has un­der­pinned the ra­zor-sharp race readi­ness of Michael Dun­lop and Hutchin­son.

There is also lit­tle love lost be­tween Guy and Hutchy, so would Guy re­ally want to go back to the TT and risk hav­ing to play sec­ond fid­dle to his old foe?

And even if he was pre­pared to take that chance, would his tele­vi­sion bosses al­low it? The 2016 Wall of Death ride had

‘If I do go back, it’ll be a ded­i­cated year of my life’ ‘I could walk away with no re­grets, but I’m still un­de­cided’

to be post­poned for six months after the Guy was in­jured in an Ul­ster Grand Prix crash, adding huge costs to the pro­duc­tion that the TV peo­ple won’t be keen to risk in­cur­ring again.

With Guy’s com­mit­ment to the ‘TV job’ and his de­sire to pur­sue his own path there is now a sense in the road rac­ing pad­dock that he has moved on to pas­tures new – and that road rac­ing has moved on from Guy.

So although there’s no doubt that, if, Guy be­ing Guy, he took the no­tion he wanted another crack at the TT he would be there, the odds seem stacked against it for 2017.

As Guy says: “I’ve had some grand re­sults but not quite enough. But to win I’d need to be to­tally ded­i­cated. Can I do that? I don’t know yet, but if I do I’ll be in it to win it – or I’ll walk away with noth­ing to prove and loads of great mem­o­ries. We’ll see…”

‘The one thing Guy con­spic­u­ously did not do in 2016 was ride a rac­ing mo­tor­cy­cle in anger’

The last time Guy threw a leg over his Tyco S1000RR was at the 2015 Ul­ster GP

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