Ever wondered how the enigmatic Guy Martin's love affair with Irish road racing began… to the extent he competed around the world for 20 years on an Irish racing licence, which he holds to this day?
These days, Guy is more widely known for his quirky television persona that has brought him a massive cult following from programmes like The Boat That Guy Built and How Britain Worked.
Irish road racing fans can say without contradiction, however: "We knew him before he was famous."
Guy's exploits at places like Tandragee and Cookstown, going on to the North West 200, Ulster Grand Prix and Isle of Man TT endeared him to the fans who warmed to his eccentric, down to earth personality.
And, to his credit, he hasn't changed with the TV fame that followed his big screen breakthrough in the iconic movie TT: Closer To The Edge.
Yet his path could have been so different had it not been for a chance meeting at a Yorkshire track following a race Guy believed was destined to be his last.
The 2002 Cock o' the North meeting at Oliver's Mount in Scarborough took place over the weekend of July 13-14 and, as the paddock emptied on the Sunday evening, two particular riders shook hands wishing each other 'all the best'. Sadly they never met again.
It was the first meeting of an unknown rider, Guy Martin, listed in the race programme at number 66 from Kirmington (a little village in north Lincolnshire) riding a 599 Suzuki GSXR for Ian Martin Engineers. It was also to be the last Oliver's Mount meeting for Gary Jess, number 32 from Northern Ireland, riding R1 and R6 Yamahas, entered by Moore Management.
Neither rider knew each other before they lined up together for the first time that weekend during Saturday's opening heat of the National Superbike race.
Gary, who made his Oliver's Mount debut in 1999, was regarded as one of that weekend's favourite riders after winning the previous week's Skerries Supersport race from top Irish riders Ryan Farquhar, Richard Britton, Adrian Archibald, Martin Finnegan and Darran Lindsay.
Very few people had heard of Guy despite his father, Ian, being a former Oliver's Mount rider. Even the photographers at that weekend didn't take much notice of the circuit newcomer on his blue Suzuki as he was not even invited into the feature race.
In Saturday's Superbike race Gary finished fourth on his 600 Yamaha with Guy fifth on his 600 Suzuki.
I did not even notice or hear of Guy Martin until the Sunday Supersport race when he battled his way through the pack to finish only a second behind winner Jess who also won the Supersport class overall from Ian Lougher.
It was an exceedingly rare occasion in those male macho days when any rider went around the paddock to locate a rival and congratulate him on his success, even more so for an Englishman to acknowledge a visiting Irishman.
I was interviewing Gary when this youthful, raven-haired lad with a strong English country accent suddenly appeared. Both riders were naturally shy, but I could instantly sense they appreciated one other's compliments. As I was the race co-ordinator for the following month's Ulster Grand Prix, I invited Guy over to Northern Ireland to compete.
Instantly, Guy's jovial chatter changed as he looked at me very downbeat, stating that this was his last race.
He explained that he had an altercation with an official at a recent British Superbike meeting and he was being summoned to a special ACU governing body meeting the following morning where he expected to have his race licence revoked.
I could not say that Guy had tears in his eye, but he did look welled-up as his voice sank lower. Gary looked at me saying, 'Leslie is there nothing you could do for him?' Instantly a thought came into my head and I said to Guy, 'Would you fancy racing in Ireland next weekend?'"
Guy just looked at me wondering what I was talking about, but I said leave it with me as he started to wander back to his van. Immediately, I put in two calls to southern Ireland from the Oliver's Mount paddock that afternoon.
The first was to Sean Bissett, chairman of the southern section of road racing in Ireland and asked him would he provide an Irish licence for this unknown 20-year-old English rider. Bissett and I had great mutual respect for one another, with the answer coming over the phone 'what's his name and I will get him a licence today'.
My second call was to Aileen Ferguson who was race secretary of the following weekend's race meeting at Kells in County Meath. Again, I explained the situation and she also quickly agreed to my request saying, 'Tell him to come and see me in the race office when he arrives'.
I set off around the Oliver's Mount paddock to find Guy and tell him that he was going to Ireland next week for the Kells road races. I don't even remember if it was suitable or if he even wanted to go. I further explained that I would not be there myself as I would be travelling with Gary to the Aberdare Park meeting in south Wales, but on his arrival at Kells he was to ask for Sean Bissett and Aileen Ferguson and everything was sorted for him to race.
Just as he was leaving the paddock at Oliver's Mount, Guy stopped his van to shake hands with Gary and I, thanking us for helping him to continue with his racing career. Sadly, the two of them never saw each other again.
As Guy explained in his autobiography, he did travel over to Ireland the following week where an Irish licence was waiting for him.
From that day onwards Guy Martin has always raced with a Irish licence and he even renewed it again to race at the 2020 Barry Sheene Classic meeting at Oliver's Mount.
At his first Irish meeting Guy won both the Senior B and Grand Final B races at Kells and became an instant hero in Ireland. Over the following years, he went onto race for some of Ireland's biggest team's - Sam Finlay Racing, Team Uel Duncan, Wilson Craig Racing and TAS Racing before becoming a factory Honda Britain rider.
Through some TT documentaries in which Guy was mainly featured he also became a television celebrity overnight and today he is known worldwide with his own television programmes and speculation that he is now a millionaire.
When I asked him to sign his book for me, he ironically wrote inside 'Thanks a million for all your help Leslie'.
Gary went to Aberdare Park where he was again successful, winning four Support races over the weekend but sadly a few weeks later he was killed during a first lap incident of the feature race at the Ulster GP.
The ever-thoughtful Gary never knew how successful the unknown young English rider would become. Gary was a huge loss to road racing.
As for Guy, who knows how his life would have panned-out if he had just driven home from Oliver's Mount that Sunday evening instead of taking the action he did?
He was rewarded for his sportsmanship in seeking out his race victor Gary and in our chance conversation when Guy took my advice and travelled over to Ireland where he took up road racing full time.
Today, the recognisable television personality remains the shy, quiet lad from Lincolnshire.