Guy Martin

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For the French chef, see Guy Martin (chef).
Guy Martin
Guy.Martin.JPG
Martin at the 2014 Bol d'Or
Nationality English
Born (1981-11-04) 4 November 1981 (age 34)
Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England
Current team Tyco BMW
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Isle of Man TT career
TTs contested 12 (2003–present)
TT wins 0
Podiums 15

Guy Martin (born 4 November 1981) is an English motorcycle racer and television personality.

Martin's first race was in 1998; racing on road circuits he debuted in the Isle of Man TT events in 2004,[1] where he has since earned 15 podium finishes.[citation needed] He has broken his back twice in racing accidents,[2] in the 2010 TT and the August, 2015 Ulster Grand Prix, with the Tyco BMW Motorad team on the BMW S1000RR, but has not competed on circuits since. He also competes in mountain bike cycle races.

Martin starred in Closer to the Edge, a behind the scenes documentary on TT racing. He has since presented programmes on his various engineering interests; in the Channel 4 series Speed with Guy Martin he has set speed records in a variety of human and engine powered vehicles.[citation needed] He has authored two books.[citation needed]

His first job on leaving school was as a truck mechanic; he has retained this job throughout his racing and media career, being unwilling to give it up to either race or work in the media full-time.[citation needed]

Contents

Early life[edit]

Martin was born on 4 November 1981 in a low-income suburb of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England.[3] He was named Guy in tribute to Guy Gibson of No. 617 Squadron RAF.[4] His father Ian was a successful privateer motorbike racer who had competed in several Isle of Man TT events, but he was forced to supplement his income with a job as a lorry mechanic, additionally selling bikes. His mother, Rita Kidals, was of Latvian heritage, her father having come to Britain in 1947 as a political refugee. Soon after his birth, the family moved to a house outside the town, where they remained, having four children in total. Martin had shown an interest in working on trucks as early as age 12.[5] As a child he was fascinated by engines, and would take apart lawnmowers to try to make them go faster. Although his interest matched his father's trade, he was happy for Guy to do his own thing, and indeed would try to stop him "talking the whole time about engines" during family holidays to Butlins.[6]

Martin attended Kirmington Church of England Primary School and The Vale Academy school, leaving at age 16. He then enrolled in North Lindsey College on a motor vehicle engineering course, believing at the time that it was appropriate as further education was what everybody did. He quickly realised it was not for him – he was not being paid and was being taught things he either already knew, or thought would never need, and so decided to leave after a month, having secured an apprenticeship as a truck fitter with a Volvo centre, John Hebb Volvo.[7]

Martin and his siblings attended every Isle of Man TT from their births, until their father Ian crashed his Yamaha FZ750 whilst racing at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough in 1988, when Guy was aged 7.[8] After recovering from the resulting broken hip, Martin's father did not race again, but worked as a mechanic in classic bike racing.[9]

Career[edit]

Racing[edit]

While completing his apprenticeship as a lorry mechanic, Martin raced motorbikes in his spare time.[5] Martin returned to the Isle of Man at age 16; overhearing lorry driver and amateur racer Baz Kirk discussing his plans to race in the 1997 Manx Grand Prix with his father, he was offered the chance to assist him as a race mechanic.[7]

Martin decided to take up racing after a crash on public roads at age 18.[10] He moved to Ireland to join Team Racing. In 2004 he moved to the Uel Duncan Racing team, staying with them until 2005. In 2006 Martin raced for Alistair Flanagan's AIM Yamaha race team, replacing John McGuinness. In the search for a more competitive team, Martin joined Hydrex Honda for the 2007 season.

The end of 2009 saw Martin leave Hydrex for Northern Ireland-based Wilson Craig Honda, but since November 2010, Martin has raced for TAS Racing (known as Relentless Suzuki, then Tyco Suzuki from 2012 to 2014, and Tyco BMW from 2015 to present), the team run by the Neill family also based in Northern Ireland, and with a long TT heritage. This switch to what was effectively a factory team meant the end of tuning his own equipment – for TAS he would simply be riding pre-prepared machines.[11]

Martin agreed a new deal for 2015 with TAS after the team agreed a new equipment deal with BMW Motorrad, to ride the BMW S1000RR alongside William Dunlop.[12] Martin was prepared to retire had TAS not chosen to switch to BMW, believing he had raced the Suzuki as hard as he could.[4][13] With the new bike, he ran his fastest ever lap of the TT circuit in June 2015 – 132.398 mph – just outside the outright lap record.[14]

Martin suffered a serious crash at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix Superbike race in August.[15] Following the crash, Martin only got back on his racing motorbike in March 2016, for the filming of the F1 special for his Speed series.[16]

In other motorbike events, he has purchased a Honda CRF450 with the intention of racing in the Superprestigio Open, and he also intends to compete in the Paris Dakar Rally at some point.[4]

Since 2011, he has also got into bicycle racing, in 24-hour events.[6][17] For the 2016 season Martin decided not to race in the TT for the first time in 11 years, opting instead for a mountain bike race. He was uncertain if the decision would lead him to retire from road racing, mountain bike racing, or if he would go on to do something else, but said "if I do race on the roads it will be with TAS".[14]

Television[edit]

Martin first came to the attention of TV executives in 2009 when he appeared in an ITV4 programme intended primarily for fans of that year's TT race. The then film-producer, Andy Spellman, filmed with Guy at the TT. Spellman shot some additional test material of Martin back at home in the summer and the boss of North One television showed the clips to a BBC executive.[5]

Having engaged Andy Spellman as his advisor and agent in 2009, Martin worked with North One TV Producers James Woodroffe and Ewan Keil, as he has done to present day. Martin's first appearances on TV documentaries were on programmes based around his passion for engineering rather than his love of adrenaline sport, The Boat that Guy Built airing on the BBC in 2011, and How Britain Worked on Channel 4 in 2012.[5] His thrill-seeking side later emerged with the production of the series Speed with Guy Martin, first airing on Channel 4 in 2013.[5] Uncomfortable with presenting to camera or working from a script, his preferred style is to improvise his dialogue, and work by responding to questions from crew off camera, which are designed both to prompt him, as well as keep him focused, and even stop him "rattling on" if necessary.[4]

He later turned down an invitation from Chris Evans to join the new presenting team of the BBC's motoring show, Top Gear.[2] He stated "With the programmes I do on Channel 4 I'm wagging my own tail, not having it wagged for me."[2]

Despite enjoying the work, due to the amount of time it was taking to film his Speed series, time taken away from his maintenance job, Martin considered taking a break from television in 2015. He changed his mind after reaching a deal to film the India and wall of death programmes, and possibly a few more one-off Speed specials, including an unstated record in Europe.[4] His August 2015 crash pushed back the planned date for his Wall of Death show, from 4 October.[18]

Writing[edit]

Martin has written two books about his life, releasing his autobiography, Guy Martin: My Autobiography, on 8 May 2014.[19] It reached No.1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list and remained there for at least six weeks,[20] and eventually became the second best selling autobiography of 2014.[5] This was followed by Guy Martin: When You Dead, You Dead, released on 22 October 2015, and covering the previous year in diary format, from the 24-hour Solo World Mountain Bike Championship to the Isle of Man TT.[21] It was listed No.1 in online retailer Amazon's sales figures for celebrity autobiographies in November 2015, with his main autobiography being No.10.[22]

Martin is also listed as the author of companion books for some of his television shows: How Britain Worked, published on 4 October 2012[23] and Speed, published on 1 December 2013.[24]

Martin also writes for the driving section of The Sunday Times newspaper.[25] He has written car reviews (on the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon,[26] the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR,[27] the 2015 Ford Transit L2 H2, the 2016 Ford Mustang V8 GT,[28] as well as writing about his own Volvo Vöx[29] and his Wall of Death show.[30]

Truck maintenance and other work[edit]

In addition to his television and racing activities, Martin has continued to work as a truck fitter. He currently works for Moody International, a Scania centre in Grimsby, working Monday to Fridays, while also regularly working overtime shifts on Saturdays.[31] He only takes short periods off to race or do television work, and on his return ensures he starts early to make up for the time lost.[5] He also earns money by tuning fellow racer's bikes in the evenings.[32] He also takes casual work during TT race weeks.[6] Eager to keep his options open, he has even bought a tractor, using it on biomass farms for seasonal muck-spreading at night.[18]

On his apprenticeship, he earned £300 a week working a 60-hour week plus 10 hours overtime on Saturdays, while also attending classroom based training at college on a day release basis. He also supplemented his income working for his father, who at the time was self-employed, running a truck maintenance business.[7] As well as his truck job, in his early career he also financed his racing with evening shifts at Chicago Rock Café and weekend work at Grimbsy docks.[32] After his apprenticeship, Martin then worked for his father at the local Scania garage.

Due to the filming commitments for The Boat that Guy Built, he ended up losing his job working for his father, but immediately went into town to apply for another truck job[33]

Speed records[edit]

Martin has set the following speed records.

Record Issuer Speed Location Date Previous holder Ref.
Fastest speed on a gravity powered snow sled Guinness World Records 134.368 km/h (83.49 mph) Grandvalira, Andorra 10 January 2014 62.25 mph (Rolf Allerdissen, 2010) [34]
Fastest speed in a soapbox Guinness World Records 137.78 km/h (85.61 mph) Mont Venoux, France 16 October 2014 [35]
Highest speed on a Wall of Death Guinness World Records 125.77 km/h (78.15 mph) Manby Airfield, UK 28 March 2016 created for the attempt [35]
Fastest hovercraft British record 121.04 km/h (75.21 mph) Loch Ken, UK 8 October 2014 [36]

On 9 July 2015 it was confirmed that Martin was to be the pilot for Triumph Motorcycles's attempt on the motorcycle land speed record (World’s Fastest Motorcycle), at the time standing at 376.363 mph (605 km/h), set by Rocky Robinson in 2010. The attempt was originally scheduled for August during the FIM event at Bonneville Salt Flats in the United States. Competing in the Division C (streamlined motorcycle) category, the vehicle is their Triumph Rocket Streamliner, which is a 25.5 feet long, powered by two turbocharged, methanol fueled, Triumph Rocket III engines, enclosed in a carbon Kevlar monocoque.[37][38] A documentary about the attempt is being made for Channel 4.[39] His August 2015 crash at the Ulster GP caused the attempt to be postponed until 2016 at the earliest.[15]

Public perception and critical reception[edit]

Reviewing Closer to the Edge, his breakthrough appearance,[1][2] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said: "What could have been a pretty dull film just for motorbike fans and devotees of the Isle of Man TT race, achieves real human interest and excitement due partly to a focus on one competitor: likable motormouth Guy Martin" [40] TV reviewers before and since have noted his gentle but gritty, spontaneous, direct, earthy and blokey style, his infectious enthusiasm, natural talent, nice turn of phrase, and engaging features.[2][33][41][42][43][44] It has been suggested he brings something unique to presenting,[2][41] with comparisons being made with the late Fred Dibnah.[33][45] In reviewing his subsequent work after he turned down the Top Gear presenting role, critics have lamented what might have been.[2][16][46] According to Jasper Rees of the Telegraph, it is his "combination of eccentricity and humility that makes him so popular with viewers".[2]

The wider media have picked up on his views, interests, reluctance to be famous and "simple" lifestyle,[2][3] leading to descriptions of Martin as a "working-class hero".[42] Among racing fans, Martin is seen as something of a cult hero[33] Described as the most famous racer never to have won the TT, he is credited with opening up road racing to a diverse global audience in the modern era.[14] Inside the racing paddock, Martin is seen as somewhat of an outsider or maverick, which he is comfortable with.[3] On joining TAS racing in 2011, team manager Philip Neill praised his enthusiasm and free spirit attitude, commenting "He's created a Guy Martin brand without even trying and that’s also pretty special", while also observing his commitment to do things their way.[47]

Various commentators have also drawn attention to his sideburns, worn since age 16,[2][3][42][45][48][49] his use of phrases such as "graft" (work) and "proper"[41] as well as his addiction to drinking tea[11][50][51] – his on screen explaining of the reasons for why he prefers to put the milk in first was part of what drew him to the attention of his eventual television producer Woodroffe.[44]

Items owned by Martin went on display as part of the 2016 season in the newly renovated Grampian Transport Museum in Alford, Aberdeenshire. He had previously visited the museum in 2011. Opening on 1 April, it featured his Merlin engine, three of his favorite motorcycles, and the gravity racer used in his Speed series. The bikes were the one he built for the Pike's Peak episode of Speed, his 2003 Suzuki GSXR 1000 K3, his most used and most prolific race-winning bike, and the 675 Daytona Triumph he custom built for the 2015 TT Supersport race.[52] According to the museum's curator, this was the "first time anywhere that anybody has presented an exhibition of Guy Martin’s engineering items".[53]

Views[edit]

Work ethic[edit]

Martin attributes his strong work ethic to his father's example.[18] He does not see his racing or TV presenting as real jobs, only hands-on activities.[18] He has also retained his truck job in part due to the financial security it offered over racing.[33] Describing it as "like an ingrained, default setting",[3] he prioritises his mechanic job over other work, even cancelling complicated film shoots at short notice if needed.[18] He takes more satisfaction in a well done truck job than from any motorbike race.[5] He also seeks out casual work as a way to switch off during TT events (practice only being in the evenings).[6] Due to his passion for hard work and engineering, had he had lived in Victorian times he sees himself as a railway foreman.[33] He is not fond of spending too much time on the internet,[6] despairing at the distracting effect it has on today's apprentices, who lack interest and commitment.[17] To work through aches and pains he takes cod liver oil, but suspects it is only working as a placebo effect.[18]

Television and fame[edit]

Martin is not comfortable with being a public figure and rejects any notion that he is a celebrity, turning down offers such as Top Gear's Star In A Reasonably Priced Car segment.[31] After struggling to come to terms with the fame brought about by his media work, Martin was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.[54] Skeptical of the psychiatrist's findings, he says "It hasn’t changed anything, it just confirms why I do certain things in a certain way."[18] As a result of his BBC work, he had begun to be recognized by non-racing fans even before the release of the TT3D film.[32] He would be quite happy if nobody watched his shows, as it would mean he would never get recognized.[18] While not wanting to seem unappreciative of the public's support, he tries to cope with fame by avoiding crowded situations.[31] He prefers to live out of his van while racing or on television shoots.[2]

He does not see TV work as a job in of itself and would not miss it if it were to end; he views it as a means to do things he otherwise could not,[5][33] gaining invaluable sources of information and experiences from the people it allows him to meet.[6] As such, he frequently turns down offers of television work if they don't interest him, and has said his existing TV workload was already becoming an issue.[2][5] He fears being seen as inauthentic if he became a full-time presenter, seeing some in the industry as "passionate about anything that they’re told to be passionate about".[17] He has only watched one of his shows, the Pike's Peak episode of Speed, and only on the recommendation of a usually unimpressed friend.[4] While appreciating the things his fame has brought him, he's deliberately avoided getting into an unsustainable financial position by living to excess.[17]

Racing and thrill seeking[edit]

Although following in his father's footsteps into motorcycle racing, Martin is clear that it was his own choice, his father never pressured him into it. His passion for the TT was ignited at age 16 with the invitation from Baz Kirk to return to the island.[7] Although he has raced in track events, he is attracted to road racing, and the TT in particular, due to their dangerous nature. He hopes to win a TT before the event is banned for health and safety reasons.[11] He says "I like a bit of danger. I haven’t got a death wish but it makes things exciting, doesn’t it?".[16] He likes the appeal of reaching 200 mph all the time in road races, and their unforgiving nature, something he believes series like the MotoGP or Superbikes simply don't offer.[11]

Mindful of the risks, he would not regret dying in a race, but he is prepared to go beyond the line (beyond which you risk crashing), in order to win.[33] The danger feeds his need to feel in control of his destiny,[17] although he conceded the inherent risks mean he would be doing well if he lived to age 60.[18] His major crashes of 2010 and 2015 have not changed his outlook;[16] he has described the moment before losing control in 2010 crash as priceless, the ultimate feeling of danger.[55] He wants to go fast and get near death, while also walking away.[31] He denies he is reckless and believes everything he does is calculated;[18] believing you get out of life what you put in, he ensures he trains and prepares hard for dangerous activities so he is in control, and can even enjoy, the experience.[56] His television producer agrees, stating "he’s not stubborn, or reckless, he’s calculating".[3] This attraction of the combination of speed and a sense of danger was part of the motivation for him doing his Speed series.[55]

He has never wanted to race motorbikes full-time, believing he would get sick of the sight of them,[33] and liking the ability of being able to point to his amateur status to professionals, as both an excuse when he loses and a way to gloat when he wins.[6] He decided to prioritise cycling over the TT in 2016 as he felt he was nearing the point where he would be too old to compete properly, and after 11 seasons at the TT he was beginning to find the routine of the motorcycle season monotonous.[14] While not seeing it as thrilling as motorbikes,[4] he is attracted by the isolation it offers,[17] and the equal combination of both a physical and mental challenge,[6] feeding into a new found desire to break himself simply for the sense of achievement.[31]

Hobbies and interests[edit]

Martin owns a Merlin aero engine from a 1942 Lancaster bomber, which he plans to install in his front room, alongside a Scania 144 530 truck engine. He is also hoping to acquire Daimler 600 engine from a Messerschmitt.[4] He also has a 1915 Amanco Chore Boy Stationary engine with original low tension magneto in his kitchen.[10]

Martin is not particularly interested in watching television or spending time on the internet – he doesn't own a TV and has a pre-smartphone era mobile phone.[2] He is a fan of BBC Radio 4, in particular Woman’s Hour and The Afternoon Play, listening while working on trucks or out in his van.[3][32] He is also a fan of the rock band The Stone Roses, but has never seen them live.[6]

When living at home, his usual evening routine is to make and fix things in his shed until around 11pm.[6] On Sunday mornings he prefers to ride his mountain bike.[32]

Despite having presented a programme on Formula One, Martin's interest in it extends only to the technology – he has no interest in the sport in general, in particular being dissuaded by its politics.[16]

Vehicles owned[edit]

Martin owns a 2013 Ford Transit van and a unique Volvo Vöx supercar.[57] The van is for general transport while the Vöx is just for special occasions,[57] however he does his daily commute to his truck job on his mountain bike.[6] He has owned various Vauxhall Astra vans, until a bad example put him off the type.[31] He now swears by the reliability of the Transit,[58] driving it around 40,000 miles a year.[10]

He bought the Vöx in 2012 from Koenigsegg engineer Mattias Vöcks "for the price of a BMW M3", which he considers was a bargain for what it is – based on a 1967 Volvo Amazon, it was upgraded and customised by Vöcks into an E85 biofuel powered 788 bhp vehicle, which Martin claims has reached 205 mph on a racetrack.[57] The Vöx followed a string of high performance cars Martin bought for special occasions (only ever owning one at a time, and sometimes only owning his van).[59] At age 21 he bought a BMW E46 M3 CSL,[57] followed by a Porsche GT3 RS at age 24,[31] then a new BMW E92 M3 V8,[59] and lastly before the Vöx, a 2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage bought new at age 28.[59] He found all to be a disappointment or unsuitable in one way or another, being particularly unimpressed with the Vantage, which had been his dream car, but which he found ostentatious, ultimately selling it cheaply,[57][58][59] although he had not driven it in 2011 due to the insurance cost, as a result of his speeding points.[32] He now deems supercars by marques such as Aston and Ferrari to be "fake" and for people who "don’t know anything about cars".[57]

He also owns a large collection of bicycles and motorcycles, including a Bimota which he stored in his kitchen.[10] In bicycles, he has owned a Raleigh Chopper, then a Raleigh Mustang, Falcon Fattrack, but describes his first proper bike as being a Whyte 46 bought in 2005, followed by an Orange 224, Scott Ransom 10, Alpine 160, finally settling on a Cotic, which has become his workhorse, requiring multiple parts replacements due to the wear and tear of constant use.[32]

Speeding[edit]

By late 2011 he had accrued 21 penalty points on his standard UK driving licence, having been caught speeding several times in his Transit van. He avoided a driving ban when on 18 points, being given another three in lieu of a ban, after the judge showed leniency due to the effect it would have on his livelihood, had he lost it.[57][60] After a period of "driving like a saint" he was expecting to have regained a clean record by April 2015.[31]

Following claims made in his 7 April 2015 Sunday Times review of the Aston Martin Vanquish, in which he recounted testing the car on an early morning lap of the TT course, police opened an investigation. Driving almost the full length of the TT course (joining at Quarterbridge garage and finishing at Governor’s Bridge), he said he was impressed at how fast it really was, reaching 180 mph down Sulby Straight and becoming airborne at Ballacrye corner, resulting in "something like a 22-minute lap".[58] On 27 May police confirmed that after taking advice from the Attorney General's Chambers, they would be taking no further action, while reminding residents and visitors that "Where there is no upper speed limit, road users must at all times be aware that there is a fine line between what is fast and what is dangerous."[61] A few days later in a radio interview, Martin repeated the claims, and stated he had not broken the law as he had only reached high speeds on derestricted roads (i.e., those with no upper speed limit).[62]

Motorcycle racing seasons[edit]

Early years[edit]

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

The 2004 season 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.[citation needed]

In 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.[citation needed]

2006 season[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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.

Guy after winning the 2007 Ulster Grand Prix Supersport race

2007 season[edit]

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 .

2008 season[edit]

As well as contesting a full season in the British Superbike Championship, in 2008 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.

2009 season[edit]

In 2009 Martin contested 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.

2010 season[edit]

Martin at the 2010 Isle of Man TT

In 2010 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, and Martin suffered serious injuries in a major crash in the final race.[63]

Prior to that crash, 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.

His performance at the TT was criticised by Simon Buckmaster, whose Performance Technical Racing built the bikes which Martin was running. He accused Martin of not listening to his race advice, arguing "He needs to stop being distracted and lift his professionalism. Instead of being a TV star and courting publicity 24x7, he should be concentrating on racing and what's needed to win. Get his focus and concentration into racing, not promoting his name and money-spinning deals.” He also cited disrespectful behavior during the race and bad language and criticism directed toward a member of PTR in a magazine interview.[64] Martin received considerable public support over both the nature and timing of Buckmaster's comments, coming as Martin was still recovering from the crash, but in a subsequent interview Buckmaster defended what he had said, arguing he was not slating him and stating Martin had no issue with the comments.[65]

2010 TT crash[edit]

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.[66]

Recollecting the crash in 2012, Martin recounted how he has been pushing too hard going into the corner at 160-170 mph, having willingly crossed the line [which if you push beyond you might crash] in order to win. He recalled being thrown from the bike and accepting he was not going to survive the approaching high speed impact with a wall, attributing it to luck that he hit it at the right angle to get away with it.[67]

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.[66]

2011 season[edit]

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.[citation needed]

2011 Ulster GP[edit]

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.

2012 season[edit]

Martin at the 2013 Isle of Man TT

Martin made his first 2012 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.

2012 North West 200[edit]

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.[68]

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".[69]

2012 TT[edit]

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.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72]

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.

2013 season[edit]

Martin at the 2013 Isle of Man TT

2013 Ulster Grand Prix[edit]

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 season[edit]

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.[73]

2015 early season[edit]

Martin opened his 2015 season at the Oliver's Mount Circuit on Saturday 11 April,[74] at which he recorded a maiden victory on his BMW S1000RR Superstock at the Scarborough venue.[74] Finishing fourth the following day in treacherous conditions, Martin went on to lift the main prize of the meeting, the Spring Cup.[74]

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.[75]

2015 Northwest 200[edit]

Martin was introduced to his factory BMW S1000RR Superbike during a day's testing at Kirkistown on 7 May, in preparation for the team's campaign at the Vauxhall International North West 200 for the opening practice session on 12 May. 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.[76] 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.[76] 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 Neill 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.[76] 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.[77]

In a further interview with BBC Sport, again conducted by Watson and with event director Mervyn Whyte in attendance,[78] 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.[78] 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."[78] 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 gone on to win the opening race.[78]

The 2015 Vauxhall International North West 200 was blighted by a series of incidents resulting in races being red flagged.[79] Martin did not make an impression in any of the races, and failed to finish in the top six.[79]

2015 TT[edit]

Martin's 2015 Isle of Man TT provided mixed results. Opening his account with a retirement in the Superbike Race, he followed this up by taking a respectable 5th place astride the Smiths Triumph in the opening Supersport TT.[80] Switching back to his BMW S1000RR Superstock machine, Martin came home in 7th place in the Superstock TT.[80] Brought in as a late replacement for the injured William Dunlop in the TT Zero Race, and with negligible practice time, Martin took his electrically powered Victory Racing machine to 4th place in his first participation in the class.[80] He then secured his only podium place of the meeting, again on board the Smiths Triumph Daytona, when he claimed 3rd place in the second Supersport outing.[80] Martin rounded off his 2015 campaign when he took the factory BMW S1000RR Superbike to 4th place in the Senior TT with an average race speed of 129.602 mph, but with a fastest lap average of 132.398 mph, a personal best for Martin and just two seconds slower than race winner and outright lap record holder John McGuinness.[80][81]

2015 Southern 100[edit]

Guy Martin leads Dan Kneen and Michael Dunlop into Church Bends during the 2015 Diamond Jubilee Southern 100

Martin arrived back on the Isle of Man in July in order to compete in the Southern 100 Races which were celebrating their Diamond Jubilee. Poor weather initially hampered the racing programme with the Corlett's Trophies 1000/600cc race red flagged in wet conditions.[82] The race was re-run two days later, with Dan Kneen taking the lead for the opening two laps. However, Martin edged him out, taking the lead on lap 3 and thereafter dicing for the lead with Kneen and Michael Dunlop.[82] Leading at Stadium Corner on the final circuit, Martin looked favourite to take the honours. However, getting maximum drive out of the final corner, Dunlop snatched victory at the line by 0.087 seconds.[82]

Martin then began to take hold of the meeting. Onboard his BMW S1000RR Martin took to the grid for the finale to the event, the Southern 100 Solo Championship.[82] Pushed hard during the 9 lap race by Dan Kneen, Martin led the pack by the end of the opening lap and continued to hold station at the end of lap 2. Lap 3 saw Martin maintain his lead, however Dunlop low sided at Ballabeg Hairpin putting him out of the race.[82] The ensuing melee enabled Martin and Kneen to break free from the chasing pack and their two-way battle ensued into the following lap.[82] As the race went into the final two laps, the rear echelon of the field started to have an effect on the front running riders, with Kneen being held up in an overtaking manoeuvre at Iron Gate.[82] This enabled Martin to stay clear on the final circuit taking the Southern 100 title for the third year in succession.[82]

Martin at Church Bends during the 2015 Southern 100.

Following his victory, Guy Martin joined the late Joey Dunlop as the only riders to have won the Southern 100 Solo Championship Race for three years in succession.

2015 Ulster GP crash[edit]

Martin crashed at high speed when leading the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix Superbike race in August. On the final lap, being pursued by Bruce Anstey, he left the course at Ireland's Corner, fracturing thoracic vertebrae, his sternum and a number of ribs and his throttle hand, requiring steel rods to be inserted into his back and a pin in his hand. He signed himself out of hospital four days later.[15]

Having no memory of the incident, being shown footage of the crash for the first time (as depicted on Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live) confirmed his suspicion that he had been pushing hard for a perfect corner, due to the pressure from Anstey. He stated that while he had accidents that looked worse, this was the one that caused the most damage. The programme also detailed his recovery period at home, revealing his ice bath treatments in an outdoor pool to relieve the pain, which was affecting his sleep.

2016 season[edit]

In January 2016 Martin confirmed he would not be racing the 2016 Isle of Man TT as it clashed with a mountain bike race he wanted to compete in, and he would also not be racing the prior North West 200 due to the mountain bike training.[14]

It was hoped that Martin would be participating at the Southern 100 motorcycle races, defending his solo title and increasing the event's profile. However following his participation in the Tour Divide it was subsequently announced that Martin would not be competing at the Southern 100.[83]

Race results[edit]

Isle of Man TT[edit]

2009[edit]
Race Position Time Speed Replica
Superbike 3rd 01:46:59.69 126.948 Silver
Supersport Race 1 2nd 01:13:03.39 123.948 Silver
Superstock 2nd 01:11:06.31 127.349 Silver
Supersport Race 2 DNF DNF DNF DNF
Senior DNF DNF DNF DNF
Source: [84]
2010[edit]
Race Position Time Speed Replica
Superbike 4th 1:47:18.05 126.586 Silver
Supersport Race 1 2nd 1:12:40.78 124.591 Silver
Superstock 5th 1:11:50.06 126.057 Silver
Supersport Race 2 4th 1:13:00.31 124.035 Silver
Senior DNF DNF DNF DNF
Source: [85]
2011[edit]
Race Position Time Speed Replica
Superbike DNF DNF DNF DNF
Supersport Race 1 3rd 0:54:56:06 123.628 Silver
Superstock 3rd 1:11:36.59 126.452 Silver
Supersport Race 2 3rd 1:13:29.28 123.220 Silver
Senior 2nd 1:45:53:00 128.281 Silver
Source: [86]
2012[edit]
Race Position Time (HH:MM:SS) Speed (Mph) Replica
Superbike 4th 01:47:20.18 126.544 Silver
Superstock Race 5th 01:12:06.85 125.567 Silver
Supersport Race 1 DNF DNF DNF DNF
Supersport Race 2 8th 01:15:17.95 120.256 Silver
Senior Race Cancelled

[72]

2013[edit]
Race Position Time (HH:MM:SS) Speed (Mph) Replica
Superbike 4th 01:46:58.894 126.964 Silver
Superstock Race DNF DNF DNF DNF
Supersport Race 1 6th 01:13:17.846 123.540 Silver
Supersport Race 2 8th 01:14:07.563 122.159 Silver
Senior 5th 01:46:14.371 127.851 Silver

[72]

2014[edit]
Race Position Time (HH:MM:SS) Speed (Mph) Replica
Superbike 2nd 01:46:06.954 128.000 Silver
Supersport Race 1 6th 01:13:44.591 122.794 Silver
Superstock DNF DNF DNF DNF
Supersport Race 2 10th 01:14:30.161 121.542 Silver
Senior 3rd 01:45:56.962 128.201 Silver

[72]

Southern 100[edit]

2015[edit]
Race Position Time Speed
Corlett's Trophies 600/1000cc 2nd 16:06.033 110.866 mph
Ellan Vannin Fuels Senior Race 1st 16:17.148 109.605 mph
Manx Gas Southern 100 Solo Championship Race 1st 20:32.654 111.710 mph
Source:[87]

Pedal car and mountain bike racing[edit]

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).[citation needed] Having achieved his initial goal of a podium finish at British Champsionship, he turned to the task of winning one.[6]

In June 2011, after two years of training, he raced in the Salzkammergut Trophy in Austria. With a time of 14h 40m, he was the first British non-professional rider to finish.[88]

Guy racing an Apollo pedal car at Shenington

He also competed in the 24 hour 2015 British Pedal Car Championship event at Shenington Kart circuit on 27/28 June as part of the Team JMC/Hope Factory Racing Team.

Martin is aiming to compete in the 2016 Tour Divide mountain bike race which runs from Canada and New Mexico, beginning on June 11.[14]

Film and television[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Programme Format Episodes Subject Original broadcast
From To Channel
The Boat that Guy Built Documentary (TV) 6[89] Maritime (narrow boat Reckless) 2 March 2011[89] 6 April 2011[89] BBC One
TT3D Closer to the Edge Documentary (film) n/a The 2010 Isle of Man TT
How Britain Worked Documentary (TV) 6 (1 series)[90] The Industrial Revolution 21 October 2012[91] 25 November 2012[91] Channel 4
Speed with Guy Martin Documentary (TV) 9 (2 series of 4 episodes, plus one special) Vehicular speed record attempts 29 December 2013[92] 17 March 2016[92]
Guy Martin's Spitfire Documentary (TV) 1 Aviation (Spitfire Mk. I serial N3200) 12 October 2014[93] n/a
Guy Martin's Passion for Life Documentary (TV) 1 Autobiographical 27 December 2014[94] n/a
Our Guy In India Documentary (TV) 2 Travelogue (motorcycle journey) 1 February 2015[95] 8 February 2015[95]
Guy Martin: Last Flight of the Vulcan Bomber Documentary (TV) 1 Aviation (Vulcan jet bomber serial XH558) 29 November 2015[96] n/a
Our Guy in Latvia Documentary (TV) 1 Autobiographical 14 December 2015[97] n/a
Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live Documentary (TV) 1 Wall of Death 28 March 2016[98] n/a

Engineering[edit]

The Boat that Guy Built[edit]

This six part series sees Martin renovates 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.[99]

How Britain Worked[edit]

This six part series examined some of the important engineering advances at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Feeling the country had lost its reputation as the workshop of the world and "went soft" under the auspices of health and safety culture, through replicating original working methods in various practical projects, the series was to highlight the ordinary workers who were experiencing long hours while working to remarkable precision, "within a couple of thousandths of an inch".[67]

Episode list[edit]

Source for episode titles and broadcast dates:[100]

Episode Title Original broadcast
1 Severn Valley Railway 21 October 2012
2 Yorkshire Saw Mill 28 October 2012
3 Victorian Seaside Resort 4 November 2012
4 Newcomen Beam Engine 13 November 2012
5 Brixham Sailing Trawler 18 November 2012
6 Birmingham Botanical Gardens 25 November 2012
Severn Valley Railway[edit]

In this episode, martin helps to overhaul and later drives a steam locomotive on the Severn Valley Railway, Shropshire, in the process working on its boiler, safety valves and a wheel. Using Victorian methods, he also lays some track, forges a coal shovel out of wrought iron, and repairs an 18th Century train driver's pocket watch.

Yorkshire Saw Mill[edit]

In this episode, martin helps to repair the world's oldest surviving water turbine used to power Gayle Mill, a saw mill in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. Felling a tree by hand, he transports the lumber to the mill by steam traction engine, to build a replica of the first pedal-powered bicycles. Also covered is the migration of farm workers to city factories, displaced by mechanisation.

Victorian Seaside Resort[edit]

In this episode, martin helps with winter maintenance on attractions in the Welsh resort of Llandudno, working on the pier, a helter-skelter ride, and the Great Orme Tramway. He also participates in a promenade concert, and covers the Victorian craze of sea bathing.

Newcomen Beam Engine[edit]

In this episode, martin helps to restore the Newcomen beam engine in the Black Country Living Museum, including making fire bricks using the original methods, restoring the timber frame, renovate the mechanical parts and clean the boiler. Covering Victorian mining methods, Martin and goes down the museum's mine shaft.

Brixham Sailing Trawler[edit]

In this episode, martin helps to restore the oldest surviving Brixham sailing trawler, using traditional carpentry and rope making techniques (on rope making machines used for HMS Victory), as well as testing a self-made period life jacket. Examining the growth in popularity for fish and chips, he takes a trip on a deep sea trawler.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens[edit]

In this episode, martin helps to restore Birmingham Botanical Gardens, learning the Victorian method for glassblowing for the greenhouse panes, rebuilding the very first lawnmower, and for building a rockery. He covers the engineering behind the Victorian fashion for collecting plants form a round the world, to be shown off in extravagant botanical gardens.

Guy Martin's Spitfire[edit]

Guy Martin joins the two-year build sequence of a replica 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.

Guy Martin: Last Flight of the Vulcan Bomber[edit]

In this feature length one off special, Martin follows the final flights of the Cold War era Avro Vulcan Delta winged jet bomber XH558 Spirit of Great Britain. Having been restored to flight in 2007 by a charitable trust, it had been the last flying Vulcan, performing displays every year, until it was decided 2015 would be its last season due to its age and associated insurmountable engineering issues. Its last flight occurred on 28 October 2015. Martin joins the team with four months left, and once certified by the team's chief engineer, is permitted to assist in preparing it for a 1,000 mile farewell tour, as it is jacked up for a vertical alignment test. Examining the design and history, he also meets former Vulcan pilots and the Red Arrows, who display with the aircraft, and aerial footage tracks it on the tours. Since in-flight cockpit access is only granted to Vulcan crew, he also flies alongside it in a formation with other aircraft. He also takes the controls of one of the other surviving Vulcans in taxiable condition, for a fast taxi maneuver (ground run to the point of nose lift).

Racing and speed[edit]

TT3D Closer to the Edge[edit]

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.

Speed with Guy Martin[edit]

In this series, Martin attempts various challenges based on speed using a variety of vehicles, mostly featuring record attempts. After two series of four hour long episodes each, Martin was reluctant to film a full third series, instead preferring to "move on while we are ahead", continuing with a few one off specials.[4]

Episode list[edit]

Source for episode titles and broadcast dates:[101]

Series No. Episode Vehicle Original broadcast
1 1 Britain's Fastest Cyclist bicycle 29 December 2013
2 Hydroplaning Bike motorcycle 5 January 2014
3 Human Powered Aircraft aircraft 12 January 2014
4 World's Fastest Toboggan gravity powered sled 19 January 2014
2 1 Tandem bicycle (tandem) 29 October 2014
2 Pike's Peak motorcycle 2 November 2014
3 Hovercraft hovercraft 9 November 2014
4 Gravity Racer soapbox 16 November 2014
specials F1 Special motorcycle (against Formula One car) 17 March 2016
Britain's Fastest Cyclist[edit]

Guy attempts to break the British record for speed on a bicycle: 110 mph

Martin and his team broke the British and Commonwealth motor-paced cycling record, when he pedaled at a speed of 112.94 mph behind a modified racing truck.[102]

Hydroplaning Bike[edit]

Guy tries to set the world record for riding a motorbike on the surface of water

Human Powered Aircraft[edit]

Guy wants to build the world's fastest human powered aircraft

World's Fastest Toboggan[edit]

Guy Martin sets out to break the record for the world's fastest gravity powered sled

Martin set a new world sledge speed record of 83.5 mph, beating the previous record (62.25 mph) by over 21 mph.[102]

Tandem[edit]

How far is it possible to cycle during 24 hours of non-stop pedalling

Pike's Peak[edit]

In this episode, Martin enters the 29 June 2014 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event, held annually in Colorado, United States, building a motorbike especially for the task. While not confident of breaking the all-time record due to his limited budget, the stated aim as shown on the programme was to win the Exhibition Motorcycle class (although a prior press release stated the aim was to break the course record for motorcycles, set in 2012 at 9m 52.819s by Carlin Dunne in the 1205 Pro Division[103]). First run in 1916, the 12.42 mile[104] long course involves up to 10% gradients, rising from 9,390 ft to 14,110 ft in altitude (a 1-mile vertical ascent). It presents challenges in route learning, and in both the driver and machine coping with the effects of altitude; entrants who lose control can end up tumbling down the mountainside, as shown in programme footage of both historical crashes and incidents in the 2014 race. In preparation, Martin tries hill climbing for the first time at Shelsley Walsh Speed Hill Climb course, Worcestershire, England, in a 1,000cc Empire Wraith single-seater race car, trained by Scott Moran. He is also assessed for reaction times and ventilation rate at the University of Kent altitude centre. He meets with existing Pike's Peak overall record holder (8m 13s) Sebastian Loeb, and Pike's Peak veteran Bobby Unser. At home he builds the bike, a turbocharged, Martek-framed GSX-R1100,[104] and modifies a room into a hypoxic chamber for altitude training on a bicycle. In practice runs he is unable to remedy an issue with the fuel injection system, which meant the bike could only be reliably run up to 100 mph. Despite this restriction, Martin still won his class in a time of 11m 32.558s,[105] becoming the first British winner of Pike's Peak (as claimed by the programme).

Hovercraft[edit]

In this episode, Martin attempts to break the Guinness World Record for "Fastest hovercraft" of 137.4 km/h (85.38 mph).[106] Motivated by the fact it's a British invention, but the existing record had been held by an American, "Rocket Bob" (Bob Windt), since 1995, he enlists the help of hovercraft builder Bill Baker and racer Les Brown to design and build a longer, more powerful version of the current Formula One racing craft, albeit still much lighter than the one used by Windt. The programme explored the science of lift, and the risks involved – the craft dipping into the water or flipping over. Martin learns to drive the Royal Marines LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion), a Griffon 2000TD hovercraft, and participates in a military exercise on Saunton Sands, Devon. Borrowing a 500cc Formula 2 craft, he passes his British race license and participates in a race. To prepare physically, with rapid shifting of the body needed to control the craft, Martin visits a hot yoga instructor to test his core strength, and an indoor sky diving centre to learn how to adjust his body rapidly. He also visits Sir Ranulph Fiennes (who navigated the length of the River Nile by hovercraft in 1969), who wagers with Martin £10 that he will not reach his target of 100 mph. The craft is first tested on Carsington Water, Derbyshire, during which a failure of the lift fan led to debris hitting Martin's helmet. The record attempt took place on 8 October 2014 on Loch Ken, Dumfries and Galloway, and required two runs of 1 km (in opposite directions), to be completed within an hour (speed being measured by GPS and averaged over the two runs). The first run was completed, but on the second, the nose lifted while travelling at 76 mph. Leaning fully forward, Martin was able to prevent the craft inverting, but after flying 30 metres the resulting impact broke the hull, as well as the handlebars through his body impacting them. A makeshift repair enabled the craft to return to the water, but with Martin having doubts it was still handling correctly, it was decided to abort the attempt rather than risk another accident. The runs were officially measured as 79.18 mph (out) and 71.24 mph (back), resulting in an average of 75.21 mph, which was accepted as a new British record.[36] The highest speed reached was 82 mph.

Gravity Racer[edit]

In this episode, Martin attempts to break the world speed record for a gravity racer, set in 2012 by American Doug Anderson at 84.4 mph on a public road in North Carolina. Under Guinness World Records rules it was to be human controlled and undergo a controlled stop, but could take place anywhere, with push starts allowed. Working with a team from Sheffield Hallam University (one of whom also appeared in the gravity sled episode) and external contractors, a custom racer is designed and built. A 2 km stretch of public road on Mont Ventoux, Southern France, is chosen (closed and additionally crash barriered for runs), with a timing gate on the fastest 100m measuring the racer's average speed. It touches on the history of racing, the Derby Downs races of the 1930s and the car manufacturer builds in the 2000s at Goodwood, and examines the science and engineering involved – gravity, rolling resistance, inertia, braking and stopping distances. Martin pulls a truck under the guidance of Gemma Magnusson, tests braking distances on a mountain bike and gets towed on a rig to identify the best wheels. Taught the basics by Street luge champion Helene Schmit, Martin reaches 48 mph at a course in Pontrhyfendigiad, Mid Wales. The completed racer, weighing 190 kg (with Martin), has a steel chassis, carbon fibre fairing, and disc brakes on all four 21-inch wheels. Braking is by foot pedal, with in-cockpit brake balance adjustment. The SHU team are trained in push starts by Team GB athletes Nikki McSweeney and Anya Kay at the University of Bath bobsled facility. In testing at Harewood Hill Climb in Leeds, Martin reaches 38 mph and finds no issues. On the first day in France, after walking the course, Martin reaches 71 mph on a first practice run, with no push start. With changed tyres and a push start, he reaches 77.2 mph on the second practice, but experiences handling issues, so 5 kg of ballast is added (in the form of 5 bottles of water). On a third and final practice run he reaches 81.8 mph. On the second day – with tyre pressure increased and a further 5.5 kg added, the record was attempted and beaten with a run of 85.6 mph, but Martin reports handling issues under braking again. It is decided to make a second run to find the racer's max speed, adding a further 10 kg, taking the total weight to 200 kg. During braking, the racer fishtails, spins around and hits the barrier, causing it to roll over several times before coming to rest on its roof, but still on the road. Emerging unscathed but with the racer damaged beyond repair, Martin reflects that he should have paused the run when he had felt braking issues in the first corner, to make further adjustments and go again.

F1 Special[edit]

This special episode was aired as a prelude to Channel 4's Formula One coverage of the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix, in which Martin rode his Tyco BMW S1000RR superbike in a series of challenges against former F1 driver David Coulthard in a 2012 Red Bull RB8 F1 racing car, filmed over two days at Silverstone Circuit. The car won, winning three out of four tasks. On both days, the track was dry but cold (air temperatures from 4 to 6.6 C). As well as the challenges, the programme featured both men familiarising themselves with each other's machinery and pit crews, with each attempting a pit stop wheel change, as well as Martin being allowed to assist in a gear box check on the car. Examining race fitness, both undergo grip strength and reaction time/peripheral vision (on a Batak machine) tests. It also covered some of the science behind the results of each challenge. The first challenge was a quarter mile drag race along Hangar Straight. After leading initially, the F1 car overtook the bike with 20 meters to go, and won with a time of 10.29s, 0.3s ahead of the bike The second challenge tested braking – both would enter International Straight side by side at 100 mph, then brake at a given point, the shortest stopping distance winning. The car stopped in a distance of around 45 metres in 3 seconds, 24 metres and one second less than the bike. Into the second day, the third challenge tested their ability to quickly change direction – each would perform a timed run through a 150m long slalom course of cones on Hangar Straight. The bike beat the car, with times of 9.50s and 12.87s respectively. The final challenge was a head to head race, handicapped by tasking the car to complete four laps to the bike's three. The car won, overtaking the bike on the outside with just over half a lap left, finishing 13s ahead of the bike.

Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live[edit]

In this live special, Martin attempted to set a world speed record on a purpose built version of the wall of death fairground attraction.[107] It also featured recordings of Martin being trained by experienced rider Ken Fox on an existing wall to overcome dizziness, and being given aerial training to overcome the chief limiting factor, the effect of G-force on the human body. The science was explored by Hugh Hunt of Cambridge University, revealing the equation G=S2/(25*D), where G is G-Force, S is speed in mph, and D is diameter of the wall, in metres. This revealed the chosen location, a hangar on Manby Airfield, would be too small for Martin's desired target of 100 mph, but with a revised target of 80 mph while remaining below 7G, the 37.5 metre wall that was ultimately built would suffice. This would allow Martin to challenge a previous claimed record of around 70 mph, which the program believed was wrong, determined through video analysis as having been 45 mph. For the show, Guinness Word Records created a new record, Highest speed on a Wall of Death, and set an initial qualifying benchmark of 60 mph in one of two attempts. On a first attempt, using an Indian Scout motorcycle, Martin managed to achieve 70.33 mph, while on a second run, on a bike purposely built by Martin (a 1972 Rob North T160 Trident triple), he extended the record to 125.77 km/h (78.15 mph). Prior to Martin's attempt, on the smaller wall cyclist Shanaze Reade also set the Guinness record for Highest bicycle speed on a Wall of Death, at 42.94 km/h (26.68 mph).[4][35][108]

Autobiographical[edit]

Guy Martin's Passion for Life[edit]

This one-off half hour programme explored various aspects of Martin's life. It was a repackaging of material previously released as four 7 minute long online only episodes, under Channel 4's Shorts brand, on their online platform 4oD. Episodes "Prized Possession" and "TT Racer" were released on 18 August 2014, followed by "Inside the Mind of a Racer" and "Proud Mechanic" on 1 October 2014. Proud Possession focuses on his Merlin engine.[109]

Our Guy in Latvia[edit]

Guy travelled to Latvia to investigate the history of the Latvian side of his family – his deceased maternal grandfather, Walter Kidals, was a Latvian who had come to Britain in 1947 as a refugee from World War II. The family knew little about his story, even his wife had been unaware he was an orphan. Born Waldemars Kidals, the programme found that in 1941 he had been conscripted into the Latvian Legion, part of the Axis Forces when Nazi Germany had occupied Latvia, and later spent two years in a Belgian prisoner-of-war camp. Having been exonerated by the post-war trials, and with Latvia now part of the Soviet Union, all surviving former Latvian conscripts were allowed to settle in the United States and Britain as political refugees – Walter opted for the UK, travelling to Hull.[2][43]

In the programme, Martin met surviving members of his family and visited the now cleared site of his family's former farmhouse. Travelling in a 1982 Lada 1300S, he also visited an immersive Cold War Russian prison experience, and watched a reenactment of a battle between the Legion forces and the Soviet Red Army.[2][43]

Other programs[edit]

Our Guy In India[edit]

Guy Martin is shown embarking on a 1,000-mile motorbike trip, as he explores rarely seen aspects of modern India en route to Rider Mania, described as "one of the world's maddest bike races".[110]

Personal life[edit]

Martin lives in a village around 19 miles (31 km) away from his workplace in Grimsby.[6] At age 24 he was living on his girlfriend's parent's farm.[45] As of February 2015 he was preparing to move a short distance, to a smaller house, but with more shed space.[45]

He has two sisters and a brother. His brother, Stuart, 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.

Aside from a summer living in Ireland, Martin has always lived in North Lincolnshire.

He lives alone, with friends staying at various times.[10] He is in a long distance relationship with a girl he met at a moped race in Ireland; working for a publisher in Dublin, they are able to meet around once a month.[45]

He likes the slightly backwards nature of Lincolnshire, comparing it to rural Cuba when he visited. His flying visits to London only make him appreciate home more.[6]

Martin is often joined by friends on his TV shows. In The Boat that Guy Built series he is accompanied by childhood friend Mark "Mavis" Davies, and Davies also made a reappearance in two episodes of How Britain Worked, as did his girlfriend Stephanie, in episode 4, going down the museum's mine shaft with Guy. In the Pike's Peak episode of Speed he is accompanied by friend and fellow TT racer Cameron Whitworth to the US as a race mechanic – he declines to ride or even sit on the bike due to its power. Having never met before, Guy developed a friendship with David Coulthard while filming the F1 special of Speed, leading to Couthard later appearing as a guest in Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live.

His best friend is Johnny Ellis, who has also been one of his race-mechanics at various times during his career. Although Ellis and Martin had attended the same school, Vale Academy, both being in the same year, they had not been close, Martin observing he was a "bit flash" when he once turned up at school on a motorbike. Their friendship developed after Martin joined John Hebb Volvo, where Ellis worked; both being keen to work on trucks during their free time outside school, never knowing their mutual interest.[111]

He has a dog (a yellow Labrador) called Nigel.[112] Following the inspiration for his own name, Martin has explained Nigel was "named in reference to his famous dog, although obviously I couldn’t call him what [Guy] Gibson called his dog".[4]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "No one has ever done 100mph on the wall of death, so we are going to give it a go". Motorcycle News. Retrieved 2016-04-02. 
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External links[edit]