Martin at the 2013 Isle of Man TT.
4 November 1981 |
Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, England
|Current team||Tyco BMW Motorrad Racing / Smiths Racing|
Guy Martin (born 4 November 1981 in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, England) is a British motorcycle racer, lorry mechanic and occasional TV presenter. He has primarily competed in road racing events such as the Isle of Man TT, Ulster Grand Prix and North West 200. Widely regarded as an amiable and "colourful" character, Martin has at times found it difficult to concentrate on his racing, primarily as a consequence of the media attention he attracts, not least at the Isle of Man TT.
Martin has also courted a certain degree of controversy, both with race officials and team principals. Since 2011, Martin has also found success as the front man of several television programmes focusing on his passions of engineering, motor vehicles and speed.
- 1 Early and personal life
- 2 Motorcycle racing career
- 2.1 Early career
- 2.2 2006: AIM Yamaha
- 2.3 2007-2009: Hydrex Honda
- 2.4 2010: Wilson Craig Honda
- 2.5 2011: Relentless by TAS Suzuki
- 2.6 2012-2014: Tyco Suzuki
- 2.7 2015: Tyco BMW
- 3 Film and television
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Early and personal life
The son of TT motorcycle racer Ian, aside from a summer living in Ireland, Martin has always lived in North Lincolnshire. He has two sisters and a brother, Stuart, who is also a truck mechanic and motorbike racer. His younger sister Kate was the first female mechanic in the BSB paddock before leaving to start a family with two-times TT sidecar winner, Patrick Farrance.
Educated at Kirmington Church of England Primary School and The Vale Academy school, which his best friend and mechanic Johnny Ellis also later attended, Martin attended North Lindsey College for a month before starting an apprenticeship as a truck fitter with John Hebb Volvo, where he met Ellis. Martin then worked for his father at the local Scania garage. He currently works as a truck fitter for an independent firm in Grimsby, and lives in a village 20 miles (32 km) away which he cycles to and from daily.
Martin's main personal transport is a Ford Transit van. He bought a new 2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage, but sold it to buy what he claimed was the "fastest car in Great Britain", a highly modified 1967 Volvo Amazon. Martin also owns a large collection of bicycles and motorcycles, including a Bimota which he stored in his kitchen.
Martin also successfully races mountain bikes in cross country, downhill races and endurance races. He placed second at the Strathpuffer 24hr mountain bike race in both 2014 and 2015, and 10th at the Trans Hajar multi day race in Oman (Feb 2014).
Motorcycle racing career
Martin and his siblings attended every Isle of Man TT from their births, until their father Ian crashed his Yamaha FZR750RR whilst racing at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough in 1988, when Guy was aged 7. After recovering from the accident, in which he broke his hip, Martin's father didn't race again, but worked as a mechanic in classic bike racing. Guy didn't go back to the TT until he was aged 16, when he worked as a mechanic for his father's friend, amateur racer Baz Kirk.
Martin decided to follow his father Ian's footsteps by racing motorbikes, and moved to Ireland to join Team Racing. After a successful debut year on the roads that saw him win the Cock o' the North and International Gold Cup races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough as well as the Irish 750cc Support Championship, he moved to the Uel Duncan Racing team for 2004. It was another successful year as he retained the Gold Cup whilst also making his debut at the International road races with the highlight being 7th place in the Senior TT. His best lap was 122.10 mph which, at the time, was the fastest ever lap set by a newcomer and almost 6 mph quicker than the previous best.
Staying with the team for 2005, Martin made further strides forward and at the TT was the only rider to finish all five of his races inside the top six. A debut podium in the Senior TT was backed up with a fourth, two fifths and a sixth place whilst he improved his lap speeds to in excess of 126 mph. He also took the Scarborough Gold Cup for the third successive year.
2006: AIM Yamaha
In 2006 Martin raced for Alistair Flanagan's AIM Yamaha race team after John McGuinness moved to the Factory HM Plant Honda team for the National Superstock Championship and international road races. During the 2006 season Martin was allowed to race on the English circuits again, taking part in some British Supersport championship races. He also participated in the three Scarborough racing events at Oliver's Mount – the Ian Watson Spring National, the Cock o' the North and the Gold Cup meeting in which he won the prestigious Gold Cup equalling Geoff Duke's record of 4 in a row. The International road race meetings had mixed results: the North West 200 never went particularly well, The Isle of Man TT looked promising but problems soon led to it being another disappointment. At the final international of the year, the Ulster Grand Prix, he took 4 race wins and a 2nd making him the Man of the Meeting. However, at the end of the season, it was clear to be fully competitive in the international races at the north west 200 and the TT, Martin needed to be with a different team.
2007-2009: Hydrex Honda
||This biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (November 2014)|
Hydrex Honda was the team that secured Martin's signature for the 2007 season. Shaun Muir, team owner, said he was "delighted to have such a great prospect and a true character on board" and had "high hopes for the coming season". In the early season Martin took part in British Superbike and Supersport rounds to prepare for the road racing season. The first major international of the year was the North West 200 in which he finished with an eighth, a fourth, two thirds and a second. In the CP Hire Superstock race after a bad start Martin finished third. The Isle of Man TT was the next major race on the calendar and he got a third, two seconds and a DNF after running out of fuel with fewer than three miles to go until his first pit stop. In the Senior race he just missed out on becoming only the second rider, at the time, to have lapped at more than 130 mph, his best lap falling short at 129.816 mph. Later video footage showed him run wide on the entry to Windy Corner and it was this mistake that led him to miss out on the magical 130 mph lap.
Martin continued to race on the English scene and he regained his Cock o' the North title at the Scarborough circuit before going to Ireland for the Kells Road Races in which he took one race win. This was preparation for the Ulster Grand Prix and in the first race Martin brought home a fifth position, in race two a win, and in the superbike race, which was shortened due to weather, a second. After this red flag the day's racing was cancelled due to bad weather and that meant for the second year in a row Martin was the Man of the Meeting. The Scarborough Gold Cup meeting ended with him winning all the races on the final day including the Gold Cup and the second 600 race of the day after a good battle with John McGuinness and Ian Lougher who were also both on the same Hondas as Martin .
On 4 December 2007 Martin announced that he would be continuing with Hydrex Honda for the 2008 season. As well as contesting a full season in the British Superbike Championship, Martin again competed in the three International road races but was denied his first TT win when he broke down whilst comfortably leading the opening Superbike race. He was eleven seconds in the lead when an electrical problem forced him out on the fourth lap. He claimed a podium, third, in the Superstock race but suffered further retirements in the Senior and second Supersport races. In September 2008 it was back to Oliver's Mount for the International Gold Cup. Martin won the feature event and now has won 6 Gold Cups in a row, a new record, and also has the lap record for the 1000cc bikes at Scarborough with a time of 1:45.3.
After the 2008 season ended, rumours started as to which team Martin would be racing for next season. He was linked to the Rob Mac racing team which runs Yamahas in British Superbikes; however this deal did not materialise. So for 2009 Martin continued with the Hydrex Honda team for a third successive year, contesting all three Internationals as well as selected British Championship and Irish National races. In a move from previous seasons, Martin moved away from the main Hydrex team, preferring instead to run a smaller, close knit team and after a steady North West 200 meeting, confidence was high going into the TT, his number one event of the year, as he sought to win a race at the 37.73 mile circuit on the Isle of Man.
2009 was expected to be the year he broke the seal, but after claiming two seconds and a third on the Superstock, Superbike and Supersport bikes early in the week Martin's engine gave up after coming onto the pit lane in the 2nd 600 race. More grief was to come when putting the bike into gear at the end of his 2nd pit stop during the Senior race his chain snapped, meaning he ended up with another DNF.
Martin regrouped to claim the Southern 100 Championship on the Billown road course in July, after finishing second on no less than three occasions – 2005, 2006 and 2007 – before heading to the third International race of the season, the Ulster Grand Prix. After taking third in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race, Martin repeated the result in the feature UGP Superbike race, held over eight laps, but he ensured he would not be without an International win in 2009 when he won a thrilling second Superbike race, just over a tenth of a second in front of fellow Lincolnshire rider Gary Johnson. He also placed fourth and fifth in the equally close Superstock and Supersport races. At the 2009 Gold Cup at Oliver's Mount, Martin won the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup feature race, becoming the first rider to win seven consecutive meetings.
2009 TT Results
|Supersport Race 1||2nd||01:13:03.39||123.948||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
2010: Wilson Craig Honda
The end of 2009 saw Martin leave Hydrex for Wilson Craig Honda, a team which hailed from Northern Ireland. He failed to take a podium at the North West 200, with his best result being fourth in the second Superbike race. He went to the Isle of Man TT, looking to achieve his first TT victory. However, the meeting was dominated by Ian Hutchinson, who took a record-breaking five victories in all the solo races. In the final race, the Senior TT, Martin was a challenger to stop Hutchinson achieving the clean sweep, but was involved in an incident on the third lap of the race at Ballagarey, having led the race just before the first pit stop. Guy was airlifted to Noble's Hospital in Douglas with chest injuries. He was later diagnosed as suffering bruising to both lungs and minor fractures to his upper spine. His performance at the meeting was criticised by Simon Buckmaster, whose Performance Technical Racing built the bikes which Martin was running. Martin received considerable public support over Buckmaster's comments. Buckmaster continued to reiterate his comments in a subsequent interview.
2010 TT Results
|Supersport Race 1||2nd||1:12:40.78||124.591||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||4th||1:13:00.31||124.035||Silver|
During the Superbike race, Martin received a 30-second penalty for exceeding the posted pit lane speed limit of 60 km/h by just 0.112 km/h. Had he not received the penalty, his overall time would have been 1:46:48.05 and put him in 2nd place, behind Ian Hutchinson who finished with a time of 1:46:31.82.
2011: Relentless by TAS Suzuki
In November 2010 Martin was signed by Relentless Suzuki, the team run by the Neill family based in Northern Ireland. Previously the team has had over 18 TT wins with riders including Cameron Donald, David Jefferies, Bruce Anstey, and Adrian Archibald. Philip Neill had this to say about his new signing "It’s been a difficult decision changing our line-up as we pride ourselves on loyalty. In saying that, Guy is a rider I’ve wanted to work with for a couple of seasons now, and my loyalty to other riders probably held that decision back a little. He came to us full of enthusiasm and wants to do things our way, which was a good starting point. And on top of that, I'm a sucker for a challenge and I like Guy's free spirit attitude. He's created a Guy Martin brand without even trying and that’s also pretty special."
Martin is said to have found a good direction after joining his team-mates during testing at Cartagena.
Martin had a relatively successful TT but still the all important top step was out of reach again. The closest he got was on Friday's senior race where he battled with John McGuinness until the end for the lead. Eventually taking second place, Martin commented he did all he could and he was beaten by the better man.
2011 Ulster Gp
A superbike race 2 win at the Ulster Grand Prix followed for Martin after his consistent TT. He finished second in the opening superbike race behind Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts racing Honda Fireblade.
2011 TT Results
|Supersport Race 1||3rd||0:54:56:06||123.628||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||3rd||1:13:29.28||123.220||Silver|
2012-2014: Tyco Suzuki
In 2012, Martin resumed his ride with the factory Tyco Suzuki squad, which had been renamed following a change of sponsorship for the 2012 campaign. He made his first appearance at the Cookstown 100 meeting in preparation for the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT. Martin brought his race season to a close winning five races at Scarborough's Oliver Mount Gold Cup. He also took part in the Ryan Farquhar Parade lap on one of Ryan's own KMR Kawasaki's.
North West 200
Following on from the Cookstown meeting, Martin was set to campaign in all the main races at the North West 200, as a prelude to working up for the Isle of Man TT. However, during the Supersport race he crashed. As a consequence, he was left with a suspected head injury, which resulted in his team manager, Philip Neill, withdrawing Martin from the remainder of the racing programme.
This led to rumours of a 'bust-up' with the Suzuki Team, and resulted in Martin's team boss, Hector Neill, being interviewed on Manx Radio TT 365 prior to the TT, during which Neill scotched such rumours as; "Media inspired skulduggery. Paddock tittle-tattle and unfounded hear-say".
Isle of Man TT
Martin's start to the 2012 TT Festival saw him competing – in a private capacity – at the Pre-TT Classic races at the Billown Circuit, Castletown. Martin was lucky to escape injury while competing in the superbike race, and was battling for the lead of the race on a Suzuki XR69 with Jamie Coward, when he crashed on the final lap. This again led to reports of tension, as the Pre-TT races do not form any part of the main TT racing programme, and posed a potential injury risk to Martin before the TT had begun in earnest. During the practice week for the 2012 Isle of Man TT, Martin made steady progress – albeit amid rumours of differing opinions with his team's management regarding machinery set-up and the team's choice of Pirelli tyres.
Martin made a good start to the Superbike TT, and at the end of the first lap he was lying in third place behind John McGuinness and Cameron Donald. He continued to hold station during the following three laps, but a problem during his final pit stop at the end of lap four, resulted in the team being unable to replace his rear tyre. As a consequence of diminishing grip from a fading tyre, Martin was overtaken on corrected time by Bruce Anstey by the end of lap five, although he did hold on to finish fourth with a time of 1hr.47.20 at an average speed of 126.54 mph. This was followed by fifth place in the Superstock race, a retirement in the first Supersport race and 8th place in the second Supersport outing.
Rumours continued to circulate throughout the week about Martin's differences with his team, perhaps instigated by Martin's lateness of signing a contract at the start of the season, although as practice week went on, it was obvious the rumours regarding Martin's split from his team were untrue. The Senior race was scheduled to take place on its traditional Friday – 8 June. However, following adverse weather, the race was postponed until Saturday, 9 June. As a consequence of continued poor weather, the decision to cancel the Senior TT was taken. This was the first time in the race's 105 year history that the Senior had been cancelled due to weather.
2012 TT Results
|Race||Position||Time (HH:MM:SS)||Speed (Mph)||Replica|
|Supersport Race 1||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
|Supersport Race 2||8th||01:15:17.95||120.256||Silver|
2013 TT Results
|Race||Position||Time (HH:MM:SS)||Speed (Mph)||Replica|
|Supersport Race 1||6th||01:13:17.846||123.540||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||8th||01:14:07.563||122.159||Silver|
2014 TT Results
|Race||Position||Time (HH:MM:SS)||Speed (Mph)||Replica|
|Supersport Race 1||6th||01:13:44.591||122.794||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||10th||01:14:30.161||121.542||Silver|
Ulster Grand Prix
Since first competing in 2004, Martin has notched up 11 wins including a hat trick of victories at the 2013 meeting winning the Supersport 1, UGP Superbike and Superbike categories.
2015: Tyco BMW
After contemplating retirement from motorcycle racing, Martin agreed a new deal with Tyco for 2015 after the company agreed a new deal with BMW Motorrad, to ride the BMW S1000RR alongside William Dunlop.
Martin joined his team mates in early March, 2015, for pre-season testing. This initially took the form of a four-day test programme at Cartagena and following this the squad deployed to the BMW Motorrad test camp at Almeria in Spain for the next three days.
Martin opened his 2015 season at the Oliver's Mount Circuit on Saturday April 11, at which he recorded a maiden victory on his BMW S1000RR Superstock at the Scarborough venue. Finishing fourth the following day in treacherous conditions, Martin went on the lift the main prize of the meeting, the Spring Cup.
Following their success at Scarborough, the Tyco Team headed to the opening event in the Irish Racing Calendar, the Cookstown 100. Martin continued his fine early season form by winning the opening Royal Hotel Superbike Race, and then sealing a brace of superbike wins at the feature race, the KDM Cookstown 100, again accomplished on Superstock machinery.
Martin was introduced to his factory BMW S1000RR Superbike during a day's testing at Kirkistown on May 7, in preparation for the team's campaign at the Vauxhall International North West 200 for the opening practice session on May 12. Martin's arrival at the triangle circuit generated the usual media interest, however the attention continued following some controversial comments concerning the circuit by Martin. On return from a practice lap on his Supersport machine, Martin was briefly interviewed by BBC Sport presenter Stephen Watson. Struggling to qualify, Martin said he was "bored" riding the course, citing the number of chicanes which had been introduced in an effort to improve safety. Having completed five laps Martin stated he was "bored to the back teeth". As on previous occasions this resulted in Martin's team boss, Hector Neill, again having to rally to his rider's defence. Interviewed by the BBC and other assorted media Neil down-played the comments, merely alluding to the fact that Martin was becoming concerned that the course was starting to resemble more a purpose-built racing track as opposed to a pure road circuit. This brought reaction from various commentators and competitors, with Philip McCallen questioning Martin's commitment to the sport as well as his indiscreet criticism of the course.
In a subsequent interview BBC Sport conducted by Watson and with event director Mervyn Whyte in attendance, Martin apologized for his comments and whilst he was supportive of the event, describing it as a "mega event," he continued that he was not too stuck on the circuit, and that he simply didn't like chicanes. Watson drew Martin's attention to the fact that the comments by this time had been seen by over 300,000 people on Facebook. Martin made light of the situation, stating that he was "caught in the heat of the moment, and simply let rip." He then questioned why he was generating such attention for his comments, when the main attention should not have been directed towards him but rather directed towards the racing, and to the fact that Alastair Seeley had qualified on pole position and had subsequently went on to win the opening race.
The 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 was blighted by a series of incidents resulting in races being red flagged. Martin did not make an impression in any of the races, and failed to finish in the top six.
Martin was forced to retire from the superbike race, on 7 June, when he stopped at Ballagarey on the first lap.
Film and television
The Boat that Guy Built (BBC TV)
In March 2011 BBC One broadcast the educational documentary series The Boat that Guy Built. In the show Martin along with his childhood friend "Mavis" (Mark Davis) renovate a narrow boat, called Reckless, travelling on the canal network using the inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The programme includes reconstructions of early industrial processes such as smelting iron.
TT3D Closer to the Edge
TT3D: Closer to the Edge is a documentary film about the Isle of Man TT races. The film examines what motivates the riders who race the TT and risk everything to become "King of the Mountain". Filmed in 3D, the film is a story about freedom of choice and the strength of human spirit. The film follows the leading riders in the 2010 race meeting, in particular Martin and Ian Hutchinson.
How Britain Worked (Channel 4 TV)
Martin presented How Britain Worked, a 2012 series on Channel 4 that focused on a number of engineering projects from the Industrial Revolution. Guy's best friend 'Mavis' made a reappearance in two episodes, as well as his former fiance, Stephanie who worked with him down a coal mine demonstrating how important women were when working down the mines. The series was also featured in an accompanying book of the same name published by Virgin Books (ISBN 0753540843).
Speed with Guy Martin (Channel 4 TV)
Martin features in a Channel 4 series, Speed with Guy Martin, which started on 29 December 2013. In the series, Martin attempts to break four speed records. In the first episode, Martin and his team broke the British and Commonwealth motor-paced cycling record, when Martin pedaled at a speed of 112.94 mph behind a modified racing truck. In the final episode he set a new world sledge speed record of 83.5 mph, beating the previous record (62.25 mph) by over 21 mph.
|Series||Episode||Original TX Date||Transport||Summary|
|1||1||Britain's Fastest Cyclist||Guy attempts to break the british record for speed on a bicycle: 110 mph|
|1||2||Hydroplaning Bike||Guy tries to set the world record for riding a motorbike on the surface of water|
|1||3||Human Powered Aircraft||Guy wants to build the world's fastest human powered aircraft|
|1||4||World's Fastest Toboggan||Guy Martin sets out to break the record for the world's fastest gravity powered sled|
|2||1||Tandem||How far is it possible to cycle during 24 hours of non-stop pedalling|
|2||2||Motorcycle||Attempt to win one of America's oldest races: the Pike's Peak International Hill Climb|
|2||3||Hovercraft||Tries to break the world speed record for a hovercraft|
|2||4||Gravity Racer||Attempts to build and race the world's fastest soapbox racer, creating a unique design with help from ex-World Champion Helene Schmit and expert designers from Sheffield Hallam University, and training with the Team GB women's bobsled pair at the University of Bath|
Guy Martin's Passion for Life (Channel 4 TV)
The Channel 4 series consists of four short episodes. It offers an insight into the man behind the leathers and how he "switches off" between the stresses of lapping the Isle of Man TT and also looking at some of his hobbies. In the second episode he shows off his prized possession, his Rolls Royce Merlin engine.
Guy Martin's Spitfire (Channel 4 TV)
Guy Martin joins the two-year building of an exact replica of Spitfire I, N3200, coded 'QV', that was buried in a French beach for 46 years (1940-1986), and tells the Boy's Own-style story of its pilot, Squadron Leader Geoffrey Stephenson. Saltwater corrosion ensured very little (if anything) was safely usable on a flying replica.
Our Guy In India (Channel 4 TV)
- Let the countdown to next year begin. Tania Nadarajah (13 June 2011) ITV Sport "The thrilling six-lap competition saw Guy Martin leading for the first two laps, much to the crowd’s delight." Retrieved 2012-10-24
- Guy Martin Generates Heat at Isle of Man TT Madson, Bart motorcycle-usa.com (25 June 2010) "Guy Martin generated considerable heat at this year’s Isle of Man TT, both literal and figurative." (..) "Buckmaster cites Martin’s disrespectful podium/press conference demeanour, and also takes issue with statements made by Martin in a magazine interview regarding a PTR staff member." Retrieved 2012-10-24
- Martin, Guy (2014). My Autobiography. ISBN 978-0-7535-5502-6.
- Gary Inman (November 2010). "Guy Martin and his Aston Martin V12 Vantage". EVO Magazine. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
- Usborne, Simon (8 May 2015). "Guy Martin profile: Jeremy Clarkson’s perfect replacement on Top Gear". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- Martin, Guy (2014). My Autobiography. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7535-5502-6.
- Martin, Guy (2014). My Autobiography. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-7535-5502-6.
- "2009 TT Results". Isle of Man TT (ACU Events Ltd.). 2009-06-13. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- "History man Hutchinson makes it a clean sweep at the 2010 TT". Isle of Man TT (ACU Events Ltd.). 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- "Ian Hutchinson clinches five-timer at Isle of Man TT". BBC Sport (BBC). 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- "Buckmaster launches scathing attack on Martin". crash.net (Crash Media Group). 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
- "Buckmaster tells fans to get courage or shut up". crash.net (Crash Media Group). 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- "2010 TT Results". Isle of Man TT (ACU Events Ltd.). 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
- "2011 TT Results". Isle of Man TT (ACU Events Ltd.). 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
- "Guy Martin’s North West 200 Crash". 2WheelTuesday. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
- http://www.Manxradiott365.com/RadioTT News, Monday, 28 May 2012.
- "Isle of Man TT | ITV Sport". Itv.com. 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
- "Isle of Man TT Races Fuelled by Monster Energy: Positions at the end of Lap One". Iomtt.com. Retrieved 2012-10-21.
- [dead link]
- "The Boat that Guy Built". BBC History Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- "How Britain Worked". Channel 4. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "Motorcycle star Guy Martin ready to make TV return". Grimsby Telegraph. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- "How Britain Worked". Random House. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
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