Guy The truth
Road racing’s biggest star retires from international road racing after a torrid year
On... TT disaster, Blade issues & plans for future
Guy Martin has called time on his international road racing career after pulling out of the Ulster Grand Prix. The Lincolnshire rider, who has scored 17 TT podiums has decided to hang up his leathers after an actionpacked 14-year roads career.
In our exclusive interview (in full from page 24), Guy outlined his reasons for not racing. “Is this the end? Yeah. I don’t want to be getting to 40 years-old and thinking I’m not as quick as I used to be,” he said.
And his decision to quit top-line racing has taken immediate effect as he has withdrawn from the Ulster GP, which starts in two weeks’ time.
“Going back to the Ulster GP would only be to do right by the team,” said Guy. “That’s not the right reason. I know I don’t want to go back.
“Racing’s been good to me, but I’m bored of it. You spend the early part of the year preparing for the season – testing, racing, talking about it and then doing it all over again. It’s like Groundhog Day. It’s time to stop.”
Guy revealed his decision to MCN at Cadwell Park’s Time Attack meeting last week. The Cadwell Park test was the crunch point after an uncompetitive comeback year following breaking his back in a crash at the Ulster GP in 2015. But after trying the revised Fireblade in front of thousands of fans, Guy has decided not to continue – and with only a one-year contract in place, this means the partnership is now over.
Time for change
“I love racing, but have I grown out of it? It’s been an amazing time, but there are lots of other things in my life,” added the 35-year old.
“Riding for Honda, doing it the Honda way is great, but I don’t need to do it. It’s not my job, it’s never been my job and I’m not enjoying it. It’s getting a bit corporate, but I understand that racing’s got to survive and because of that it has to evolve.”
It’s been a glittering career for Martin – who only took up road racing after a famous episode where he closed a laptop on the fingers of BSB boss Stuart Higgs, resulting in a ban from UK short circuits. He won his first Scarborough Gold Cup in 2003 and had his first Isle of Man TT podium when he got a third in the Senior TT in 2005, the same year he won his first Ulster GP. It was to be the first of 11 victories on the Dundrod circuit. But a TT win eluded him – eight second places gave him the hated tag of being the TT’S nearly-man. But he fought hard to become a TT winner – his 2010 challenge ended in a fireball and a broken back, while his fastest lap (132.398mph) from the 2015 event is still the sixth fastest of all time – but Guy insists it’s a monkey he’s already shaken from his back.
“People say ‘you haven’t won a TT’, but I say it’s only a motorbike race. People say ‘you’re only saying that because you haven’t won one’, but I’m not bothered. I even said before I went back I wasn’t bothered – I just like riding bikes.”
Guy’s decision not to race is no surprise to paddock insiders. At the recent Cadwell Park BSB test, team members were talking openly about the prospect of him not racing again.
Honda Racing’s boss Neil Tuxworth said: “I’ve enjoyed working with Guy this year and got to know him a lot better, I know it hasn’t worked out exactly how either of us would have hoped, but he’s tried very hard and been good for Honda.
“We’ve had a difficult year. It’s gone well in BSB and the Endurance is starting to go well, too – but roads racing hasn’t gone the way we wanted. I’m pretty convinced if John hadn’t had his accident at the North West he’d have done quite well and I’m certain the way the races went at the TT John could have been on the podium in both Superbike races. We’ve had a number of issues and like anything with a new bike, there’s some things you have to sort out and we didn’t quite get on top of it, unfortunately.
“A big problem was that the bike arrived late. We didn’t have the time we’d have liked not only for developing it but testing it with the riders as well. That’s unfair on the riders and the team as they were going into events maybe not as prepared as we should have been.”
What now for Guy?
While Guy has stated he won’t be racing in international road races any more, he’s a long way from turning his back on the track altogether – as his outing on the Team Classic Suzuki Katana shows. “I’m not done – I still like riding. I’ll put my energy into my classic racing [Guy’s also bought a Rob North triple] and I’m going back to Pikes Peak with a car I’m building.
“I’ve achieved a lot, I can’t believe that I’ve had 17 TT podiums and I’ve won loads of Ulster GPS and four Southern 100s, three of them consecutive. Only Joey’s done that. I don’t know the exact figures because they’re not important to me. I haven’t cured cancer, have I?”
‘Racing’s been good to me, but I’m bored of it. It’s like Groundhog Day’