It should have been a dream return for Guy on a factory Honda, but it turned into a total disaster
Guy Martin’s dream of winning a TT race on a Honda turned into a nightmare on the Isle of Man last week when Honda withdrew from the Senior TT amidst a barrage of accusation and acrimony.
A difficult practice week saw the 35-year-old languishing in 26th place on the timesheets, 7mph slower than pole-setter Michael Dunlop. Guy’s chances of winning the Superbike TT race disappeared completely when he crashed the troubled Fireblade at Doran’s Bend on the opening lap of the Superbike race.
“I was going out of Ballaspur down the hill into Ballig Bridge and back a gear, the bike selected a gear and then jumped into neutral and I had nowhere to go and had to half berm the bank, berm the wall and the next was a bit of a blur and I went skidding down the road,” Guy later said, explaining the 140mph off.
Honda issued a statement saying Guy had “reported that he hit a false neutral which caused him to run up the kerb and then tumble off, but his injuries are minor.”
There were immediate fears the crash had been caused by a reoccurrence of the electronics gremlins that have dogged the new Honda Racing Fireblade in 2017 and caused two crashes for John Mcguinness, including the North West 200 smash that sidelined him from this year’s TT with a broken leg.
A shaken-up Guy, who appeared close to tears at times during an interview with ITV4 television’s Craig Doyle, said the bike had “a box full of neutrals” and described the 2017 Fireblade as a “Jonah” saying it would “never be right” and claiming it didn’t “like me and it doesn’t like John.”
Guy subsequently pulled out of Monday’s Supersport race in which he was due to ride Wilson Craig’s CBR600RR but Honda declared the truck mechanic would ride in Friday’s Senior race, with team boss Jonny Twelvetrees saying “he’s hurt his wrist a little” and complaining it was a “shame that we didn’t get the six laps” of the race as they needed the track time on the new Fireblade.
In what appeared to be an effort to steady the Guy Martin/honda Racing TT ship, Guy appeared in another tel- evision interview with Jonny Twelvetrees by his side the following day. They declared there had been no falling out at the same time as their uncomfortable body language and manner declared something entirely different. For many of the people who voiced their views on that interview on social media, it appeared his Honda bosses had coerced Guy into toeing the line.
On Senior race morning Guy scuppered whatever plans Honda may have had by withdrawing from the Senior.
“I came back to the TT this year to race and try to win with Honda Racing,” Guy said.
“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.”
The decision meant that the oncedominant Honda squad have not completed a lap of an international superbike road race this season. On the same day Prime Minister Theresa May’s hopes of a landslide election victory went up in smoke, Guy’s TT withdrawal ensured the same fate for Honda’s hopes of a PR coup for their new superbike.
Will Guy race again?
Guy Martin declared he was “sick to the back teeth” with what had gone on at the TT between Honda and himself during the Zero TT press conference. Earlier he had suggested he wasn’t in a position to tell the truth about what had actually transpired during their very public falling out.
“What is the word when you are not allowed to tell the truth, they use it in UN discussions?” he asked when quizzed on the reasons behind his Senior TT withdrawal.
“I need to have a rethink.” was his response when asked if he would be back.
“The only good bit I can drag out is the whole Mugen thing but I’m asking myself why do I do it? The TT is great, but it is only a motorbike race.”
Guy did suggest he would race at the Southern 100 on the IOM in July but he refused to be drawn on whether or not he will race a Honda at that event.
‘What is the word that the UN use when you’re not allowed to tell the truth?’