After months of speculation Guy Martin has finally confirmed that he will not be racing at the 2016 Isle of Man TT. Martin, arguably Britain’s most famous motorcycle racer since Barry Sheene, had previously hinted in his autobiography, ‘When You Dead, You Dead’ that he might opt out of the Manx event in order to compete in the Tour Divide mountain bike race. But ever the eccentric, those claims weren’t taken too seriously.
Unfortunately, it turns out that the road racing star was being genuine. Guy released a statement earlier today to explain his choice:
“I fancy a change of scenery. I’ve been racing the TT for 11 years. All I’ve really done since I was 18, except the trucks, is race motorbikes and my brain needs something else. Every year’s the same: testing, racing, then start again. It brought it home to me when I was lying in hospital after the Ulster Grand Prix crash. I’ve been on about the Tour Divide, the toughest pushbike race in the world, for three years and I thought I’ll blink and next thing I’ll be 45, so I’m going to do it this year. I like breaking myself mentally and the Tour Divide will be tough, but it’s at the same time as the TT, so that’s forced me to make a choice.”
Martin has long had a love for downhill and cross-country mountain bike events, and the Tour Divide is as extreme as they get. Spanning the West Coast of America from Banff, Canada to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, the time trial covers 2745 miles of impossibly tough terrain. The race commences on 11 June, one day after the Senior TT (the last race of the TT fortnight). As a result Guy has decided to give the TT a miss.
This news will come as a huge disappointment to his Tyco BMW team and his dedicated fan base. Since his debut at the TT in 2004, Guy has been a star attraction, even if he’s yet to stand on the top step of the podium there. With his ‘tell it like it is’ attitude and hard charging riding style he’s attracted worldwide attention. With an award winning-movie, multiple television shows and two best selling autobiographies, the Lincolnshire racer has become something of a household name.
Guy has claimed that he’s ‘not done with motorbikes’. But with a Wall of Death record attempt in the spring followed by a land speed record attempt in the summer it looks like his motorcycle racing career could well be coming to an end. We hope that he makes an appearance at the Ulster Grand Prix in August, but after his massive off there in 2015, it’s not a dead-set.