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Martin at the 2014 Bol d'Or
|Born||4 November 1981|
Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England
Guy Martin (born 4 November 1981) is a British lorry-mechanic better known publicly as a motorcycle racer turned television presenter of engineering-based projects, being likened to the late Fred Dibnah.
Martin started racing in 1998 and in 2004 competed on a road circuit for the first time at the Isle of Man TT. He has a total of 17 podium finishes at TT events over several years. He has broken his back twice in racing accidents, in the 2010 TT and the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix.
Following the Ulster Grand Prix accident, Martin decided to retire from motorcycle racing although he did not disclose the decision publicly. However, following numerous approaches by Honda Racing team manager Neil Tuxworth, Martin confirmed in January 2017 that he had signed for Lincolnshire-based Honda Racing as partner to 23-times TT winner John McGuinness for the North West 200, Isle of Man TT and Southern 100 races.
The campaign used the then-new version of the Honda Fireblade. After crashing heavily with gearbox trouble in the Superbike TT race, Martin gained a second-place finish in the TT Zero race for electrically-powered machines on the (Honda) Mugen.
Martin starred in Closer to the Edge, a 2011 documentary on TT racing. He has since presented programmes on various engineering topics and the Channel 4 series Speed with Guy Martin when he set speed records in a variety of human and engine powered vehicles. He has authored three books, and competed in mountain bike pedal-cycle races.
His first job after leaving school was as a heavy vehicle mechanic, which he retained since, being unwilling to give it up for full-time racing and media.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Speed records
- 4 Public perception and critical reception
- 5 Views
- 6 Motorcycle racing seasons
- 6.1 Early years
- 6.2 2006 season
- 6.3 2007 season
- 6.4 2008 season
- 6.5 2009 season
- 6.6 2010 season
- 6.7 2012 season
- 6.8 2013 season
- 6.9 2015 season
- 6.10 2016 season
- 6.11 2017 season
- 7 Retirement from motorcycle racing
- 8 Mountain bike racing and Pedal cars
- 9 Film and television
- 9.1 Filmography
- 9.2 Engineering
- 9.2.1 The Boat that Guy Built
- 9.2.2 How Britain Worked
- 9.2.3 Guy Martin's Spitfire
- 9.2.4 Guy Martin: Last Flight of the Vulcan Bomber
- 9.3 Racing and speed
- 9.4 Autobiographical
- 10 Personal life
- 11 Legal issues
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Martin was born on 4 November 1981 in a suburb of Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England. He was named Guy in tribute to Guy Gibson of No. 617 Squadron RAF. 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 Martin's birth, the family moved to a house outside the town, where they remained.
Martin 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. 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. After recovering from the resulting broken hip, Martin's father did not race again, but worked as a mechanic in classic bike racing.
Martin had shown an interest in working on trucks as early as age 12. 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.
Post-school he enrolled in North Lindsey College on a motor vehicle engineering course, but on recognising further education without pay was not for him, he secured an apprenticeship as a truck fitter with a Volvo centre, John Hebb Volvo. 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. He also worked for his father, who at the time was self-employed, running a truck maintenance business. 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. He currently works for Moody International, a Scania centre in Grimsby, working Monday to Fridays, while also regularly working overtime shifts on Saturdays. 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.
He also earns money by tuning fellow racer's bikes in the evenings, and also takes casual work during TT race weeks. Eager to keep his options open, he has even bought a tractor, using it on biomass farms for seasonal muck-spreading at night.
While completing his apprenticeship as a lorry mechanic, Martin raced motorbikes in his spare time. 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.
Martin decided to take up racing after a crash on public roads at age 18. 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.
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. Martin was prepared to retire had TAS not chosen to switch to BMW, believing he had raced the Suzuki as hard as he could. 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.
Martin suffered a serious crash in the Dundrod 150 Superbike event, part of the Ulster Grand Prix races in August 2015. 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.
Since 2011, he has also got into bicycle racing, in 24-hour events. 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".
Martin signed a new deal with Honda Racing on 18 January 2017 to ride the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, rekindling his ambition to win the Isle of Man TT and renewing his focus on his road racing career.
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.
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. His thrill-seeking side later emerged with the production of the series Speed with Guy Martin, first airing on Channel 4 in 2013. 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.
He later turned down an invitation from Chris Evans to join the new presenting team of the BBC's motoring show, Top Gear. He stated "With the programmes I do on Channel 4 I'm wagging my own tail, not having it wagged for me."
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. His August 2015 crash pushed back the planned date for his Wall of Death show, from 4 October.
Martin has written three books about his life, releasing his autobiography, Guy Martin: My Autobiography, on 8 May 2014. It reached No.1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list and remained there for at least six weeks, and eventually became the second best selling autobiography of 2014. 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. 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. October 2016 saw the release of his latest book, titled "Guy Martin: Worms to Catch" featuring Guy's thoughts on the past year and upcoming challenges.
Martin also writes for the driving section of The Sunday Times newspaper. He has written car reviews on the 2015 Aston Martin Vanquish Carbon, the 2015 Range Rover Sport SVR, the 2015 Ford Transit L2 H2, the 2016 Ford Mustang V8 GT, as well as writing about his own Volvo Vöx and his Wall of Death show.
Martin has set the following speed records.
|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)|||
|Fastest speed in a soapbox||Guinness World Records||137.78 km/h (85.61 mph)||Mont Ventoux, France||16 October 2014|||
|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|||
|Fastest hovercraft||British record||121.04 km/h (75.21 mph)||Loch Ken, UK||8 October 2014|
|Fastest tractor||Guinness World Records||217.568 km/h (135.191 mph)||Elvington Airfield, York, UK||23 October 2019|
In July 2015 it was confirmed that Martin was to pilot Triumph Motorcycles' 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 Triumph Rocket Streamliner is 25.5 feet long, powered by two turbocharged, methanol fuelled, Triumph Rocket III engines, enclosed in a carbon Kevlar monocoque. A documentary about the attempt was made for Channel 4. His August 2015 crash at the Ulster GP caused the attempt to be postponed until September 2016.
Martin's quest to set a new two-wheeled world land speed record was called off due to conditions on the course. The attempt, on the purpose-built 400 mph motorcycle, suffered a number of setbacks at the track at Bonneville Salt Flats, in Utah, USA.
The streamliner tipped over when it passed over a rut in the track as it was being towed to the start line. Triumph said rain meant it was not possible to create the required-consistency across the 11-mile course necessary to undertake the attempt. On 18 September 2016, Martin had hoped to complete a required 300 mph trial run before attempting to set a new world record.
A mile into the run the machine lost traction on the damp surface, veering off the steered path and tipping over on the course. Martin was confirmed to be "completely uninjured" and the record attempt was postponed once more.
Public perception and critical reception
Reviewing Closer to the Edge, his breakthrough appearance, 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." 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. It has been suggested he brings something unique to presenting, with comparisons being made with the late Fred Dibnah. In reviewing his subsequent work after he turned down the Top Gear presenting role, critics have lamented what might have been. According to Jasper Rees of The Daily Telegraph, it is his "combination of eccentricity and humility that makes him so popular with viewers".
The wider media have picked up on his views, interests, reluctance to be famous and "simple" lifestyle, leading to descriptions of Martin as a "working-class hero". Among racing fans, Martin is seen as something of a cult hero 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. Inside the racing paddock, Martin is seen as somewhat of an outsider or maverick, which he is comfortable with. 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.
Various commentators have also drawn attention to his sideburns, worn since age 16, his use of phrases such as "graft" (work) and "proper" as well as his addiction to drinking tea – 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.
Items owned by Martin were loaned to the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford, Aberdeenshire to display as part of their 2016 season. He had previously visited the museum in 2011. It featured his Merlin engine, three of his favourite 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 used in the 2015 TT Supersport races. According to the museum's curator, this was the "first time anywhere that anybody has presented an exhibition of Guy Martin's engineering items".
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Martin attributes his strong work ethic to his father's example. He has also retained his truck job in part due to the financial security it offered over racing. Describing it as "like an ingrained, default setting", he prioritises his mechanic job over other work, even cancelling complicated film shoots at short notice if needed. He also seeks out casual work as a way to switch off during TT events (practice only being in the evenings). To work through aches and pains he takes cod liver oil, but suspects it is only working as a placebo effect.
Television and fame
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. After struggling to come to terms with the fame brought about by his media work, Martin was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. About his psychiatrist's findings, he says "It hasn't changed anything, it just confirms why I do certain things in a certain way." 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. He would be quite happy if nobody watched his shows, as it would mean he would never get recognized. While not wanting to seem unappreciative of the public's support, he tries to cope with fame by avoiding crowded situations. He prefers to live out of his van while racing or on television shoots.
He does not see TV work as a job in itself and would not miss it if it were to end; he views it as a means to do things he otherwise could not, gaining invaluable sources of information and experiences from the people it allows him to meet. 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. 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". 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. While appreciating the things his fame has brought him, he's deliberately avoided getting into an unsustainable financial position by living to excess.
Racing and thrill seeking
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. 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. He says "I like a bit of danger. I haven't got a death wish but it makes things exciting, doesn't it?". 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.
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. The danger feeds his need to feel in control of his destiny, although he conceded the inherent risks mean he would be doing well if he lived to age 60. His major crashes of 2010 and 2015 have not changed his outlook; he has described the moment before losing control in 2010 crash as priceless, the ultimate feeling of danger. He wants to go fast and get near death, while also walking away. He denies he is reckless and believes everything he does is calculated; 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 of, and can even enjoy, the experience. His television producer agrees, stating "he's not stubborn, or reckless, he's calculating". This attraction of the combination of speed and a sense of danger was part of the motivation for him doing his Speed series.
He has never wanted to race motorbikes full-time, believing he would get sick of the sight of them, 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. 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. While not seeing it as thrilling as motorbikes, he is attracted by the isolation it offers, and the equal combination of both a physical and mental challenge, feeding into a new found desire to break himself simply for the sense of achievement.
Motorcycle racing seasons
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
2010 TT crash
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.
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.
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.
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
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".
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.
2013 Ulster Grand Prix
The 2013 Ulster Grand Prix was Martin’s most successful campaign at the event, and which saw him secure a hat trick of victories at the meeting winning the Supersport 1, UGP Superbike and Superbike categories.
Martin joined his teammates 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.
2015 early season
Martin opened his 2015 season at the Oliver's Mount Circuit on Saturday 11 April, 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 to 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.
2015 Northwest 200
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. 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. 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 downplayed 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 further interview with BBC Sport, again 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 gone 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'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. Switching back to his BMW S1000RR Superstock machine, Martin came home in 7th place in the Superstock TT. 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. 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. 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.
2015 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. The ensuing melee enabled Martin and Kneen to break free from the chasing pack and their two-way battle ensued into the following lap. 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. This enabled Martin to stay clear on the final circuit taking the Southern 100 title for the third year in succession.
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
Martin crashed at high speed when leading the 2015 Dundrod 150 Superbike race (part of the Ulster GP) 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.
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.
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.
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.
It was uncertain whether Martin would retire from racing or return for the 2017 season, but it was announced on 18 January that he had signed for the Honda Racing, based in Louth, Lincolnshire, and would compete alongside teammate John McGuinness at various national and international meetings including the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT Races.
Martin's first competitive appearance since 2015 was his debut for Honda at the Tandragee 100 on 22 April, riding the new Honda Fireblade Superstock-class machine. During the first lap of the Open Superbike race, Martin was involved in a collision with another rider at Marlacoo corner. Both were unhurt, but retired from the race. Due to an incident involving an Italian rider and poor weather conditions, the rest of the meeting was cancelled.
After the Tandragee races, Martin travelled overnight to make the start at Oliver's Mount for the annual Spring Cup races. Although he had been successful previously at the Scarborough circuit, this low key appearance was more about gaining race-time on the new Honda.
Martin's next outing of the season was on the Superstock Fireblade SP2 at the Cookstown 100, additionally riding for the Wilson Craig Team in the Supersport class. After practice, Martin was qualified fifth fastest in the Supersport, but failed to start in the race. Martin took the big Honda to fifth place in the first Superbike Race, however he again failed to start in the second race.
North West 200
As at the Cookstown 100, it was confirmed Martin would ride for both the factory-supported Honda team, and in the Supersport 600 cc class for the Wilson Craig Team. Interviewed by BBC Sport , Martin was in upbeat mood, saying he hadn't pushed the machine too hard, and was quite happy with a "steady ride round." Martin's criticism of the course in regard to the chicanes was mentioned. When queried on a previous statement made after the 2015 meeting that he would not return to the triangle circuit, Martin commented that the primary reason was to get the necessary race-time to enter the Isle of Man TT Races. He also confirmed that he enjoyed riding at the Northwest 200 and that he had development work to do with the new Honda. When queried why he did not renew his association with the Irish Tyco BMW Team, Martin stated that after the 2015 accident, he had decided to retire from racing but still had respect for Tyco BMW, concluding during the Tour Divide cycle race that he no longer had passion for racing. A reason Martin gave for signing for Honda, was that he could fulfill an ambition, as Honda had promised him he could race a vintage Honda RC181.
Practice produced mixed results for Martin. Following an accident in practice injuring teammate John McGuinness at Primrose Hill on 11 May, a decision was made by Honda Racing to withdraw Martin from that evening's Superstock race. Honda Racing, after further appraisal of the incident involving McGuinness, also withdrew from the remaining events.
On the Wilson Craig Honda 600 Martin qualified 16th fastest during first practice for the Supersport race, recording a fastest lap of 109.614 mph, slipping to 27th fastest in the second qualifying period, which led to Martin starting the race from the ninth row on the grid, bringing his machine home in 23rd place.
Isle of Man TT
Following the North West 200 incident involving John McGuinness riding the new Honda SP2, tests were carried out by the Honda Racing Team prior to the bike arriving at the TT races. The 2017 Isle of Man TT qualifying week was disrupted by poor weather and Martin had little track time. The weather improved towards the end of the week, enabling a full practice session to take place on Friday 2 June. Due to the lack of practice, the first race day was postponed with the time allotted to additional practice. On 3 June, in ideal conditions, Martin completed four practice laps recording the 26th fastest time, around the road course of 37.73 miles (60.72 km) in a time of 18 minutes 11.69 seconds at an average speed of 124.403 mph (200.207 km/h).
The opening race, the Superbike TT, was rescheduled for Sunday 4 June but Martin only got 8 miles into the race before he crashed at Doran's Bend. In an interview afterwards, Martin stated that as he attempted to change down the gearbox after Ballig Bridge in order to negotiate the 4th gear left handed Doran's Bend, he hit a false neutral. Martin was unable to offer an opinion as to whether the bike would be safe to ride in the Senior TT, merely describing the SP2 as a "Jonah".[clarification needed] Despite crashing at around 135 mph (217 km/h), Martin only sustained a bruised wrist. Following his spill in the opening race, Martin also failed to start in both the Supersport race and the Superstock event.
At the start of the season Martin confirmed his intention to compete at the 2017 Southern 100 races on the Isle of Man. However following the problems with the Honda CBR1000RR SP2 at the TT races, Martin decided not to participate at the event.
Ulster Grand Prix
On 21 July 2017, Honda Racing, an English company based in Louth, Lincolnshire also known as Honda Racing CBR, issued a statement to the effect that Guy Martin would not be competing at the 2017 Ulster Grand Prix; the decision was described by an event organiser as "Naturally I'm disappointed...but it's not altogether surprising given the difficulties the team has experienced throughout the season".
Retirement from motorcycle racing
On 26 July 2017, it was officially announced that Guy Martin had retired from motorcycle racing. In an exclusive interview with the Motorcycle News Martin said:
|“||Racing's been good to me, but I'm bored of it. You spend the early part of the year preparing for the season – testing, racing, talking about it, and then doing it all over again. It's like Groundhog Day. It's time to stop.||”|
Martin returned to road racing in May 2019 at Tandragee, winning the 1000 cc class on a BSA Rocket, finishing second on the road to outright winner Dean Stimpson on a 500 cc machine with both classes run together. He had provisionally entered the earlier Cookstown event but failed to appear.
Isle of Man TT
|Supersport Race 1||2nd||01:13:03.39||123.948||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||DNF||DNF||DNF||DNF|
|Supersport Race 1||2nd||1:12:40.78||124.591||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||4th||1:13:00.31||124.035||Silver|
|Supersport Race 1||3rd||0:54:56:06||123.628||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||3rd||1:13:29.28||123.220||Silver|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Race||Position||Time (HH:MM:SS)||Speed (Mph)||Replica|
|Supersport Race 1||5th||01:12:58.110||124.097||Silver|
|Supersport Race 2||3rd||01:12:30.775||124.877||Silver|
|Race||Position||Time (HH:MM:SS)||Speed (Mph)||Replica|
|Supersport Race 1||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS|
|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|
Mountain bike racing and Pedal cars
Martin has successfully raced mountain bikes in cross country, downhill races and endurance races. In June 2011, after two years of training, he raced in the Salzkammergut Trophy in Austria. With a time of 14 hours 40 minutes, he was the first British non-professional rider to finish. He achieved his goal of a podium-finish during a 2013 British Championship event in Fort William, Scotland.
Martin achieved an ambition and competed in the 2016 Tour Divide mountain bike race, which runs from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, negotiating the Rocky Mountains, beginning on 11 June. He completed the course, taking 18 days, six hours and 23 minutes, with an average of 150 miles a day.
Martin also competed as part of a Pedal Car Racing team in the 24-hour, 2015 British Pedal Car Championship event at the Shenington Kart circuit on 27/28 June, as part of the Team JMC/Hope Factory Racing Team.
Film and television
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|The Boat that Guy Built||Documentary (TV)||6||Maritime (narrowboat Reckless)||2 March 2011||6 April 2011||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)||The Industrial Revolution||21 October 2012||25 November 2012||Channel 4|
|Speed with Guy Martin||Documentary (TV)||14 (3 series of 4 episodes, plus two Formula 1 specials)||Vehicular speed record attempts||29 December 2013||9 October 2016|
|Guy Martin's Spitfire||Documentary (TV)||1||Aviation (Spitfire Mk. I serial N3200)||12 October 2014||n/a|
|Guy Martin's Passion for Life||Documentary (TV)||1||Autobiographical||27 December 2014||n/a|
|Our Guy In India||Documentary (TV)||2||Travelogue (motorcycle journey)||1 February 2015||8 February 2015|
|Guy Martin: Last Flight of the Vulcan Bomber||Documentary (TV)||1||Aviation (Vulcan jet bomber serial XH558)||29 November 2015||n/a|
|Our Guy in Latvia||Documentary (TV)||1||Autobiographical||14 December 2015||n/a|
|Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live||Documentary (TV)||1||Wall of Death||28 March 2016||n/a|
|Our Guy in China||Documentary (TV)||3||Exploring China and record-attempt crossing of the Taklamakan Desert||21 November 2016||5 December 2016|
|Guy Martin's WWI Tank||Documentary (TV)||1||Participating in creating a WWI tank working replica destined as a museum exhibit||19 November 2017||n/a|
|Guy Martin vs the Robot Car||Documentary (TV)||1||Investigates autonomous vehicles||26 November 2017||n/a|
|Our Guy in Russia||Documentary (TV)||3||Exploring Russia and visiting Chernobyl||16 July 2018||30 July 2018|
|Guy Martin: The World's Fastest Van?||Documentary (TV)||1||Martin rebuilds his transit van and tries to break the van lap record at the Nürburgring in Germany.||4 November 2018||n/a|
|Guy Martin's D-Day Landing||Documentary (TV)||1||Martin restores a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and trains with the Red Devils.||2 June 2019||n/a|
|Our Guy in Japan||Documentary (TV)||2||Exploring Japan||24 November 2019||1 December 2019|
|Guy Martin's Great Escape||Documentary (TV)||1||Recreating the iconic scene from the movie with the same name||8 December 2019|
The Boat that Guy Built
This six-part series sees Martin and his friend, Mark 'Mavis' Davies, renovate a narrowboat, called Reckless, while travelling on the canal network using the inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The programme includes reconstructions of early industrial processes such as smelting iron.
How Britain Worked
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".
Source for episode titles and broadcast dates:
|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
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 a 100-year-old train driver's pocket watch.
Yorkshire Saw Mill
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
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
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 goes down the museum's mine shaft.
Brixham Sailing Trawler
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
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 from around the world, to be shown off in extravagant botanical gardens.
Guy Martin's Spitfire
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
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 manoeuvre (ground run to the point of nose lift).
Racing and speed
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.
Speed with Guy Martin
In this series, Martin attempts various challenges based on speed using a variety of vehicles, mostly featuring record attempts. Three series of four hour-long episode were broadcast, along with three special episodes. This was despite Martin's reluctance to film a third series, saying that he would prefer to "move on while we are ahead", continuing with a few one off specials.
Source for episode titles and broadcast dates:
|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 Red Bull RB8 Formula One car)||17 March 2016|
|3||1||Transit Van||Transit van||4 September 2016|
|2||Pedal Power Airship||airship||25 September 2016|
|3||World's Fastest Human-Powered Boat||boat||2 October 2016|
|4||World's Fastest Motorbike||motorbike||9 October 2016|
|specials||F1 Challenge||pit crew at 2017 Belgian Grand Prix||17 September 2017|
|specials||Classic F1 Special||Williams FW08C, Williams FW08B||27 August 2018|
Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live
In this live special, Martin attempted to set a world speed record on a purpose built version of the wall of death fairground attraction. 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 programme believed was wrong, determined through video analysis as having been 45 mph. For the show, Guinness World 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).
Guy Martin's Passion for Life
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.
Our Guy in Latvia
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.
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.
Our Guy In India
Our Guy In China
Aside from a summer living in Ireland, Martin has always lived in North Lincolnshire. Martin lives with his partner Sharon and their daughter named Dottie (born on 23 October 2017), in Kirmington, a village around 19 miles (31 km) away from his workplace in Grimsby.
Martin is often joined by friends on his TV shows. In The Boat that Guy Built he was accompanied by friend Mark 'Mavis' Davies, who also appeared in two episodes of How Britain Worked. In the Pike's Peak episode of Speed he is accompanied to the US by his friend Cameron Whitworth, a race mechanic with 17 TT wins. Having never met before, Martin developed a friendship with David Coulthard while filming the F1 special of Speed, leading to Couthard's later appearance as a guest in Guy Martin's Wall of Death: Live.
Martin owns a Merlin aero engine from a 1942 Lancaster bomber, and a Scania 144 530 truck engine. He also has a 1915 Amanco Chore Boy stationary engine with original low tension magneto in his kitchen.
Martin owns a 2013 Ford Transit van and a unique Volvo Vöx supercar. The van is for general transport while the Vöx is just for special occasions, however he does his daily commute to his truck job on his mountain bike. He has owned various Vauxhall Astra vans, until a bad example put him off the type. He now swears by the reliability of the Transit, driving it around 40,000 miles a year.
He bought the Vöx in 2012 from Koenigsegg engineer Mattias Vöcks. 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. 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). At age 21 he bought a BMW E46 M3 CSL, followed by a Porsche GT3 RS at age 24, then a new BMW E92 M3 V8, and lastly before the Vöx, a 2010 Aston Martin V12 Vantage bought new at age 28.
Martin also owns a large collection of bicycles and motorcycles, including a Bimota. 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.
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. After a period of "driving like a saint" he was expecting to have regained a clean record by April 2015.
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". 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." 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).
In November 2018 Martin appeared at Lincoln magistrates' court in relation to Irish documentation submitted as part of an application for a UK driving licence. The matter was escalated to Lincoln Crown Court as he pleaded not guilty, opting for a jury trial. After an initial hearing in December 2018, the matter was referred for trial in July 2019.
Due to stand trial on 6 January 2020, in late December 2019 the two charges were dropped, citing that Martin believed his licence from Northern Ireland was genuine, giving him HGV-entitlement and that his autism made him "vulnerable enough for others to see him as an easy target" and that he "may well have been taken in by somebody". 
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- Guy Martin: He's most comfortable fixing lorries but TV has propelled the charming road racer to fame and fortune Belfast Telegraph, 15 August 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2018
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- Lamont, Tom (7 December 2014). "'I love racing because it can kill you,' says bike racer Guy Martin". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Guy Martin signs with new team for TT". Commercial Motor. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- Martin, Guy (8 May 2014). Guy Martin: My Autobiography. Random House. ISBN 9780753549957.
- "Grimsby biker's bestseller puts a spanner in the literati". www.thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Martin, Guy (22 October 2015). Guy Martin: When You Dead, You Dead. Ebury Publishing. ISBN 9780753556764.
- "Bestselling celebrity autobiographies of 2015". Evening Standard. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
- Martin, Guy (1 January 2012). How Britain Worked. Ebury Publishing. ISBN 9780753540848.
- Martin, Guy (1 December 2013). Speed: How to Make Things Go Really Fast. Ebury Publishing. ISBN 9780753541067.
- "Guy Martin, Contributors, Sunday Times Driving". Sunday Times Driving. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
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- "Guy Martin drives Range Rover Sport SVR (2015)". Sunday Times Driving. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Guy Martin reviews the 2016 Ford Mustang GT". Sunday Times Driving. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
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- "The Wall of Death: Guy Martin's biggest challenge yet". Sunday Times Driving. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Video: Watch Guy Martin speed to sled world record". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- "British motorcycle racer Guy Martin smashes Wall of Death world record after reaching 78 mph". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- McNair, Andrew. "Speedster comes up short in record attempt". dailyrecord. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Guy Martin to attempt 400mph land speed record". BBC News. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- "Guy Martin Joins Triumph in Attempt to Reclaim Land Speed Record - Motorcycle.com News". Retrieved 2 April 2016.
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- "Guy Martin's North West 200 Crash". 2WheelTuesday. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
- http://www.Manxradiott365.com/RadioTT[permanent dead link] News, Monday, 28 May 2012.
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- "COOKSTOWN 100 DOUBLE FOR GUY MARTIN & TYCO BMW". tycobmw.com.
- "BBC Sport - North West 200: Chicanes a pain says frustrated Guy Martin". BBC Sport.
- "North West 200: Guy Martin should question himself, not the track, says Phillip McCallen". BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.
- "BBC Sport - Guy Martin explains his North West 200 chicanery". BBC Sport.
- "BBC Sport - Seeley matches Dunlop's NW 200 record after two more wins". BBC Sport.
- "Race Results: Guy Martin, Isle of Man TT official website". iomtt.com.
- "Guy Martin joins 132mph club". iomtt.com.
- Isle of Man Examiner p.32 July 14–20, 2015
- "Guy Martin pulls out of Southern 100".
- "Guy Martin to return to Cookstown 100 and Tandragee 100 road races in April". 20 March 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Guy Martin escapes injury as he crashes out of opening race at Tandragee 100". 22 April 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Guy Martin crashes out of Tandragee comeback race".
- "North West 200 practice". 2 May 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "TT: Honda in crisis after McGuinness crash".
- desk, Road racing. "TT 2017: Bruised wrist for Martin after Superbike crash". Bikesport News.
- "TT 2017: Tough start for Honda and Guy Martin".
- "No Southern comfort for Guy!". 4 July 2017 – via www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk.
- Honda Racing, calendar 2017 Retrieved 29 August 2017
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- "Guy Martin out of Ulster Grand Prix".
- Exclusive: Guy Martin calls time on road racing. Motor Cycle News. Authors - Oli Rushby and Matt Wildee. Published 26 July 2017. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Guy Martin no-show for Cookstown 100 Belfast Newsletter, 25 April 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019
- "2009 TT Results". Isle of Man TT. ACU Events Ltd. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 14 June 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "2010 TT Results". Isle of Man TT. ACU Events Ltd. 11 June 2010. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
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- "The King And The Joker – Guy Martin And Jason Miles". Singletrack. 5 January 2016. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Macleod, John (23 January 2015). "Snow, ice, blue skies - and darkness - make for the perfect Puffer at Strath". Ross-shire Journal. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
- Guy Martin finishes world’s toughest mountain bike race Motorcycle News, 1 July 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017
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- "Our Guy in China". Channel 4. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
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- "Guy Martin vs the Robot Car". Channel 4. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
- "Our Guy in Russia - All 4". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
- "Guy Martin: The World's Fastest Van?". Channel 4. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
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- "Our Guy in Japan: Our Guy in Japan". Channel 4. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
- "Guy Martin's Great Escape: Guy Martin's Great Escape". Channel 4. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "The Boat that Guy Built". BBC History Magazine. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2010.
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- Thorpe, Vanessa (26 March 2016). "Guy Martin attempts to beat wall of death speed record on live TV". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- Hunt, Hugh. "Science behind remarkable new Wall of Death motorcycle world record". The Conversation. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
- "Channel 4 announces one-off Guy Martin show for Christmas - Channel 4 - Info - Press". www.channel4.com. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
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- Guy Martin is a dad as partner Sharon gives birth to daughter - and the baby's name is ace! Grimsby Telegraph, 25 October 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2017
- Guy Martin reveals his North Lincolnshire home is where his heart is in new book, When You Dead, You Dead - Scunthorpe Telegraph Retrieved 2018-02-14.
- Speed star Guy Martin 'breathes life back into' village where he grew up by buying the local pub Mirror, 24 December 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2017
- "Guy Martin on his Volvo: the fastest car in Britain". Sunday Times Driving. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- "Guy Martin and his Aston Martin V12 Vantage". Evo. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Guy Martin will face no police action over 180mph claim". BBC News. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Isle of Man TT 2015: Guy Martin confirms driving at up to 180mph in Aston Martin supercar but did not break the law". Scunthorpe Telegraph. Archived from the original on 8 November 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Guy Martin in court accused of dodgy driving licence offences Grimsby Live, 17 November 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018
- Guy Martin appears in court on fake licence charges - and interrupts judge TWICE Grimsby Live, 17 December 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018
- Guy Martin pleads not guilty over false driving licence charges BBC News 17 December 2018. Retrieved 17 December 2018
- Fake licence charges against Guy Martin dropped BBC News Lincolnshire, 27 December 2018. Retrieved 27 December 2019
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