12 YEARS A SLAVE TO THE TT

Guy Martin said he’d only make a come­back if he could give it his all.... but will that be enough?

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

The Isle of Man TT’S Moun­tain course has been the scene of a fu­tile 12-year bat­tle by Guy Martin to get his hands on one of the fa­mous Winged Mer­cury tro­phies. With 15 sec­ond or third place fin­ishes, the 35-year-old has the du­bi­ous ac­co­lade of be­ing the most podi­umed non-win­ner in the event’s 109-year his­tory.

Guy made his TT de­but in 2004 and his lap of 122.10mph was the fastest ever by a new­comer at the time.

A year later he claimed his first podium with third place in the Se­nior. A TT fron­trun­ner through­out the mid noughties, 2008 pro­duced one of his clos­est shaves with TT glory in the Su­per­bike TT. Hold­ing a com­fort­able 10-sec­ond lead, Guy’s Hy­drex Honda ground to a cruel halt with a bro­ken crank just two laps from the fin­ish.

In 2010 Guy had his big­gest near miss, fin­ish­ing sec­ond by just three sec­onds in the first Su­per­sport TT to that year’s five-time win­ner, Ian Hutchin­son. The week al­most ended in dis­as­ter when the Lin­colnshire man es­caped rel­a­tive-ly un­scathed from a 150mph fire­ball when he crashed his Wil­son Craig Honda at Bal­la­garey dur­ing the Se­nior race.

2011 saw the be­gin­ning of Guy’s as­so­ci­a­tion with the TAS Rac­ing team of Hec­tor and Philip Neill. Guy mounted another epic but un­suc­cess­ful chal­lenge on John Mcguin­ness in the 2011 Su­per­bike TT, fin­ish­ing sec­ond on his Suzuki by a mere seven sec­onds after a six-lap, ding-dong bat­tle. Try­ing to win a TT in an era when rid­ers like John Mcguin­ness, Cam Don­ald, Bruce An­stey and Ian Hutchin­son have been rac­ing has not made life easy for Guy and now Michael Dun­lop has made his task harder still. In 2012 and 2013 Guy failed to fin­ish on the TT podium but he bounced back to claim sec­ond and third re­spec­tively in the Su­per­bike and Se­nior races the fol-fol­low­ing year. In his last ap­pear­ance on the Moun­tain course in 2015 Guy’s best re­sult was a third place Su­per­sport fin­ish on the Smith’s Tri­umph but he also man­aged a 132.398mph lap on the Tyco BMW in the Se­nior TT which re­mains the sixth fastest Moun­tain course lap ever.

TT happy to have him back

Guy Martin’s re­turn to the TT in 2017 will see the sport’s big­gest star step back on to its big­gest stage, a prospect that has de­lighted TT supremo, Paul Phillips.

“We al­ways want all the best rid­ers at the TT and all the best equip­ment so it will be good to see Guy push­ing at the front again,” Phillips said.

The Lin­colnshire rider’s crit­i­cisms of the TT’S com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion have of­ten left him at odds with the man who ini­ti­ated those changes but Phillips is full of praise for Guy’s U-turn.

“As a race fan I am a bit sur­prised,” he said. “But I think it shows just how much he en­joys rid­ing his bike and rac­ing the TT. He clearly doesn’t need to do it and there can’t be any fi­nan­cial rea­son, so fair play to him.”

Does he think Guy will pose a threat on the new Honda su­per­bike?

“If you are Hutchy or Michael Dun­lop you will prob­a­bly be more con­sumed with each other than by Guy Martin.” Phillips smiles. “But Guy has al­ways been a con­sis­tently good TT rider and he will be there this year with the most suc­cess­ful TT team in his­tory. There will cer­tainly be a lot of fo­cus on him and he could fin­ish first or fif­teenth, it is im­pos­si­ble to know.”

‘It shows just how much he en­joys the TT. He clearly doesn’t need to do it, so fair play’ PAUL PHILLIPS, TT BOSS ‘He could fin­ish first or fif­teenth – it’s im­pos­si­ble to know’ PAUL PHILLIPS, TT BOSS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.