Belfast Telegraph

I'm retiring, reveals Guy Martin, but hold on a minute. . .

 

By Roy Harris

Enigmatic bike racer turned TV and film leading man Guy Martin has played down reports of his retirement from road racing after enduring a nightmare return with Honda Racing this year.

But he did confirm that he has no current plans to continue his career in the sport after leaving the factory team.

Yesterday began with a front page announcement of the Lincoln rider's retirement, based on an interview he gave to the bible of the sport, Motorcycle News.

It was unsurprising after the 35-year-old suffered a disappointing year following 12 months away from the sport, with his North West 200 bid in May curtailed due to a serious crash involving his team-mate John McGuinness before Martin had his own accident at the Isle of Man TT last month.

But by afternoon the unpredictable Guy was pouring cold water on his own story, giving rise to faint hopes he may yet turn up to fulfil his entry at Armoy Road Races this weekend.

Guy returned to road racing after a year away to recover from serious injuries suffered in a crash at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015 as well as focusing on his television commitments, but he was lured back into the saddle by Honda in his quest to claim his first Isle of Man TT victory.

Martin later took to his Facebook account to stress he has not retired completely, but rather has his sights set on other races such as the Pikes Peak hill climb and other classic events.

“The TT was a bloody disaster, aside from walking the dog and racing the Mugen,” he wrote.

“I didn’t enjoy it. It was clear even before that we were going to struggle and then it turned into me really being a test rider, which I did but after we did more testing at Cadwell a few weeks back, I said to the team the bike won’t be competitive at the Ulster Grand Prix and they decided to withdraw me from the event, although they didn’t tell me, which is OK as the decision was made for me.

“So I’ve not given up on racing or road racing, there’s no unfinished business and I want to race classics and oddball stuff.

“All I’ve been thinking about recently is Pikes Peak and any spare time my brain has had is about Pikes Peak on four wheels. That job is down to me and if it doesn’t work, it’s my fault and I like that.”

Meanwhile, Armoy Road Races practice gets under way tomorrow afternoon with the news that Irish Champion and leading front runner Derek Sheils is a non-starter for the event.

In a statement Armoy Motorcycle Road Racing Club said: “It is with much regret that the Club has confirmed that Derek Sheils will not be riding in the Armoy Road Races this weekend.

“Derek cannot attend practice on Friday due to personal commitments (he is Best Man at a friend’s wedding) and the Club cannot allow someone to carry out their statutory requirement of five practice laps on Saturday between races.

“Grid positions for Saturday’s races are placed on Friday night qualifying. Some grids are already oversubscribed and there are only 27 spaces on the grid. There will be non-qualifying races run to cater for this. Some 20 entries were returned post the closing date for entries.

“It would be extremely unfair to other riders to try and slot in one rider. The Club is a big fan of Derek Sheils, but sadly practice laps cannot take place on Saturday.”

The John Burrows Cookstown BE Racing Team are still hoping an eleventh hour deal will be sorted out while social media has been doing its part with fans making their feelings known about the statement and decision to exclude one of the top riders from the meeting.

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