Belfast Telegraph

Neill: I have never met anyone with so much energy

By Jim Gracey

Few people know the real Guy Martin, probably not even himself. There are so many quirks in his character and personality, he defies pigeon-holing which is one of the few certainties about him.

One man who has come close to realising what makes the rider tick is his Moneymore-based TAS Tyco Suzuki team boss Philip Neill.

As they prepared to tackle today's North West 200, Neill provided a rare insight.

“It’s certainly fun and games working with Guy but I do really enjoy it,” he said.

“It can be hard work I won’t lie, as he’s a lot different than most riders, but we’ve got to know each other pretty well this past three or four years and we’ve come to respect each other.

“Yes, I have had to make a major adjustment in how I manage Guy, compared to working with other riders, but I’ve a lot of respect for him as his life can’t be easy.

“His popularity in and around the race track makes it almost impossible to go anywhere without being mobbed.

“Personally, I couldn’t deal with it. I do think sometimes that people expect far too much from him.

“He goes racing to race motorbikes and does enjoy meeting people despite what some might say. But you have to draw a line. He can’t please everyone.”

Neill admires the way Martin copes with his busy and demanding schedule.

“The big change in Guy is that I believe he has stopped worrying about pleasing everyone, as it’s impossible,” he added.

“We want him to be committed to his racing when he is wearing Tyco Suzuki leathers and I’m convinced and satisfied we get 100 per cent from him.

“To me he’s as committed as most other top riders and it’s more difficult for him as he has a lot on his plate.

“He is still working as a lorry mechanic, despite what people might think, and he has his filming schedule, among other things, packing his diary out.

“Yes that’s his choice, but there are other riders who call themselves professionals and have nothing to do all week and choose not to work.

“I’ll not be popular for saying that but it’s true.

“I’ve never met anyone with more energy: he must run on Duracell batteries.

“He did go through a period where he found the fame thing a bit difficult to deal with, but he has always been committed and he now manages his time a lot better.

“He didn’t have to go and race the B’ol d’Or 24-hour for a French Suzuki team a few weeks ago, but he wanted to come to the North West and TT prepared.

“He had nothing to gain by doing it and wasn’t paid to do it. So for me that shows a lot of commitment to my team.

“He looks more determined than I’ve seen him for a long time.”

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