A recent feature I did with off-the-wall International Road Racing star Guy Martin in the Belfast Telegraph:
Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes…
It was more a case of ‘bridge-building than boat-building’ for off-the-wall racer Guy Martin, during his latest visit to Northern Ireland. But despite much speculation, the fast-talking Lincolnshire man has re-signed with Moneymore based Tyco Suzuki by TAS Racing, and will partner Manxman Conor Cummins at all three international road races this season.
Since the launch of TT film, Closer to the Edge, which has reputedly sold 180,000 copies to date, and his hit BBC series ‘The Boat that Guy Built’ the mutton chopped cartoon like racer with the Dennis the Menace style haircut, has accumulated a ridiculously large cult following worldwide.
But despite his unique television appeal, the truck fitter from Kirmington still maintains racing and tinkering at engines is his number one priority.
“I’m delighted to be back with the team for a second year. I couldn’t knock last year to be honest; the only thing we didn’t do was win a TT,” he explained, referring to his four podium near misses on the Isle of Man.
He added: “Going into this year we’ll not be changing anything really. The Superstock is a new bike and the 600 will have some more development as will the Superbike. The main thing for me is to keep the team the same. Cracking lads; I get on with them really well. As long as I have Mark and Danny on the spanners and Philip looking after it all, then… job’s a good’un.”
In last year’s blue Riband Senior TT, Guy pushed John McGuinness harder than he’s been pushed before, leading the 15-time TT winner for over two laps. It was a learning experience, and a frustrating one at that as he explained.
“Yeah, yeah… I think I led him for two and a half laps. It’s there boy… it’s there. We just need a bit of fine-tuning. We can do the speeds; I’m good enough and the TAS bike’s good enough – we just need a few rough edges polishing off.
“The amount of miles we did before the TT and the miles we clocked up all helped and we’ll do that again. Now I’ve had a year and time to sit and think about it all, we’ll get back on the bike and get used to it. Then we’re going to make a few changes. That’s what we’re going to do. I want to do well at the North West and the Ulster but the main thing in to get this bloody TT win out of the way.”
Being mobbed at last year’s event by his ever growing fan base slightly un-nerved the Lincolnshire man, and having been described as awkward and stand offish at times during TT fortnight, he’d like to set the record straight.
“Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes! Yeah I’ve probably brought a lot of it on myself doing TV and films and stuff and I admit last year I was like a fish out of water. I got to the TT and the amount of people. I was never rude to anyone, but yeah, I did feel uneasy. I didn’t mean to come across as rude or ungrateful. I just wasn’t use to the attention. But if it happens in 2012 then I’ll be ready to deal with it. I hope!”