Guy The truth

Road rac­ing’s big­gest star re­tires from in­ter­na­tional road rac­ing af­ter a tor­rid year

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week In Mcn - By Matt Wildee & Oli Rushby SE­NIOR EDITOR & BSB RE­PORTER @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

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.”

Honda’s re­ac­tion

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’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.