Belfast Telegraph

Guy Martin hoping new deal can get him back up to speed

 

By Robert Jones

Guy Martin will be reunited with former sponsor Wilson Craig to race a CBR600RR Honda at next week's Vauxhall International North West 200. The Lincolnshire ace will make his return to international road racing competition in the opening Supersport race at the seaside event next Thursday.

"We had a few conversations about Guy riding my bike at the North West and I am delighted that he will be out on the 600," team boss Wilson Craig said.

Martin had an outing on the Craig Honda at the Cookstown 100 last weekend and the Co Londonderry businessman says the bike is ready to race at the North West.

"Guy was happy with the bike at Cookstown and it is now fully prepared for him for next week," Craig said.

"It will be great to see him out in my colours again and I want to thank Mervyn Whyte for giving us the opportunity to race."

Guy posted the fifth fastest qualifying time and finished eighth in the Cookstown 100 Supersport race, 14.24 seconds behind race winner Adam McLean who took his first Cookstown win on a MSS Kawasaki.

The 35-year-old last rode for Craig's Honda team in 2010 and this will be his first international outing since his huge crash at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix. The popular star opted out of competition last year to compete in the Tour Divide cycle race in the US.

He will also race Superbike and Stock versions of the 2017 Fireblade with the Honda Racing squad at Portrush.

"Guy has a huge following and we will welcome him back to the Vauxhall International North West 200 grid this year," Event Director Mervyn Whyte said.

"With Wilson Craig providing Guy with a 600cc Honda, the fans will have even more opportunities to see him out on track."

Although he has already had several 2017 race outings at Tandragee, the Scarborough Spring Cup and at last weekend's Cookstown 100, Martin's results have been dismal. The road racing truck mechanic and television presenter crashed at Tandragee and was a long way off the pace on the new Honda Fireblade at the other venues. Next week's North West will be a stern test for both the former Tyco BMW rider and his new Superbike.

Martin has never won a race on the 8.9-mile Triangle circuit after a dozen years of trying and has not always enjoyed a happy relationship with the north coast event. During his last visit in 2015, he blasted the chicanes that have been introduced to improve safety at the high speed venue.

In spite of his reservations, he is back and has admitted he needs the track time at Portrush if he is to achieve his aim of winning an Isle of Man TT.

The TT's Mountain course is another venue where success has so far eluded the popular star and the extra timed laps at the NW200 will be invaluable.

It will also give the first true indication if Guy's TT ambitions on the Honda Racing Fireblade are achievable as he lines up on the grid alongside Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, John McGuinness and Peter Hickman, his main rivals for TT glory.

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