Absent ace Guy Martin is now at crossroads of his racing career
The long-awaited return to racing for Guy Martin will sadly not happen at next month’s MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, the very same venue where the Lincolnshire truck mechanic, turned national television star, crashed out while leading the Dundrod 150 Superbike race this time last year.
The heavy crash at Ireland’s corner, which resulted in the Tyco BMW star breaking five vertebrae and his sternum, not to mention fracturing five ribs and having his right hand plated — left many wondering whether he would ever return to racing.
Martin has not and probably will not announce his retirement from racing, but with new Tyco BMW star Ian Hutchinson
(right) having filled the void with North West 200, Isle of Man TT and British championship wins this season — one wonders if we will ever see the Lincolnshire rider in the blue and white livery of Tyco BMW again?
Martin recently completed the arduous Tour Divide Mountain bike challenge, covering almost 3,000 miles and 200,000 feet of climbing in Canada and North America, so his fitness is not in question.
But has he lost the desire to compete at road racing’s highest level, where the bar has again been raised by his main rivals?
Personally I think not and while the Isle of Man TT and the North West 200 could possibly be given a swerve, I could see Martin returning to a couple of his favourite destinations next year in 2017, of which Dundrod ranks very high.
He has always said that if he goes road racing again, it will have to be with the Moneymore-based TAS Racing team, and who knows, he may even convince principals Philip and Hector Neill to build him a Classic Superbike for 2017, where a Classic TT victory would at least afford him the opportunity of a top step on the Isle of Man.
At the minute Martin is embracing his television commitments, with a number of new programmes currently being recorded, most notably the land speed record in a Triumph powered capsule at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
With respect, his absence will not detract from the quality and the intensity of the racing action at the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix, as most fans will be making their way to Dundrod to view the next instalment in the Michael Dunlop versus Ian Hutchinson battle.
This year’s entry at Dundrod stands at a record breaking 173 riders for the August 13 showpiece. Fifty-four of those competitors will be newcomers — again a record for the UGP.
Sixteen countries are represented, which is testament to the dedication and marketing appeal of the event, which many believe, is now the country’s leading International road race.
Clerk of Course, Noel Johnston, explained: “I think it goes without saying that we are very pleased with the final entry list, and I think it says a lot about the popularity of the event that the total number of entries are growing year on year, as is the number of newcomers coming to Dundrod.
He went on to say: “The fact that they come from so many different countries is good news for Tourism Northern Ireland also, as we are one of their flagship events.”
Of the entry list and the leading protagonists, Johnston further explained: “Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson will both be there gunning for the top step of the podium.
“They are the two guys everyone is talking about.
“Other major talents well worth mentioning are Dean Harrison, Ivan Lintin, Lee Johnston, William Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Bruce Anstey, Dan Kneen, Conor Cummins and Christian Elkin.”
The 2016 MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix will run from August 8-13 with the Dundrod 150 on Thursday ahead of Saturday race day.