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I'm eager to taste glory on NI roads, reveals Guy

By Paul Lindsay

Motorcycle racing seemingly came to a standstill yesterday when Lincolnshire truck mechanic and TV celebrity Guy Martin announced his return to competition in an all-new deal, which will see him ride for the official Honda team this season - a first since his crash at the Ulster Grand Prix back in 2015.

Guy's main goal remains settling an old score with the famous Isle of Man TT Circuit - where he's yet to stand on a top step despite 13 years of trying - and the enigmatic Englishman explained his desire to potentially kick-start his season with a run out at the Cookstown 100 in April.

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, Guy, who spent six years riding for local team TAS Racing on both Suzuki and BMW machinery, said: "I wouldn't mind doing the Cookstown. Tuxworth (long-time Honda UK Racing boss Neil Tuxworth) has said I can do what I want, which was part of my attraction to the deal.

"So I might just stick a couple of bikes in the back of a van and come across and do the Cookstown."

His appearance would be a massive boost to the organisers of the Mid Ulster race, where Guy has enjoyed tangible success and many battles over the years with Michael Dunlop, when riding for local team TAS Racing.

Speaking of TAS Racing, the parent company who run Tyco BMW and where Guy had raced from the 2011 season up to his break in 2015, he said respectfully: "There are no better bunch than the TAS boys and I've spoken to both Hector and Philip (Neill). I don't want to burn any bridges and I don't think that will happen.

"The craic was good with them and we won a few races and finished on the odd TT podium. I just fancied a change."

Guy will partner 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness this year in the Honda team.

Despite not having raced competitively since that Ulster Grand Prix crash in 2015, which many people believed was a career-ending incident, Guy pointed out: "I'm not having a comeback, as I never stopped racing; I rode my Martek last year.

"I'm going to do a bit of classic racing this year as I've built a BSA Rob North; it's a trick piece of kit. I can use that at the Honda tests and also ride my Martek. Being able to do that, I thought, 'this is great, but I want results this year, I'm not messing about. If I'm doing it I'm having it; we are doing it properly'."

With the Vauxhall International North West 200 first up on the International Road Racing calendar for 2017, I was keen to get a direct answer from Guy whether or not he would be competing, having been so vocal in his dislike of the 8.9-mile North Coast venue with its multiple man-made chicanes on more than one occasion.

"I do enjoy the Ulster Grand Prix and I always go well there as I'm up to speed by that time of the year, but it all depends on whatever else I'm doing," he said in a somewhat deflective manner, before adding a perfunctory response to the NW200 question.

"I need time on a bike and I might use the North West 200 as a means to an end. I'm not a fan of it; not at all, but if it gets me the signature to go race the TT and more time on a bike then that's what I need to do."

With a promise of a ride on a famous Honda Six, similar to the six-cylinder machine that the late, great Mike Hailwood took to numerous victories, and the potential to take a maiden TT win aboard the Mugen in the TT Zero race, it would be fair to say Guy's decision has been well thought out.

For now, Honda are the apparent winners with the Isle of Man economy set to swell to bulging come June - where Guy will again steal all the headlines from his rivals, win or lose.

Belfast Telegraph

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