New Honda Racing signing Guy Martin says the fear of regret spurred him on to make his racing comeback alongside John McGuinness on the all-new Fireblade SP2 at the international road races in 2017.
As revealed in Wednesday’s News Letter, Martin will make a sensational return to the sport for the first time since a frightening crash in the Dundrod 150 Superbike race at the Ulster Grand Prix in 2015.
The truck mechanic and television presenter teams up with 23-time Isle of Man TT winner McGuinness in a formidable line-up for Honda as he chases his maiden victory around the legendary Mountain Course in June.
Many felt the Grimsby star’s racing days were behind him but with Honda team boss Neil Tuxworth chasing his signature, Martin finally committed to a comeback this season after a lot of thought and careful consideration.
Martin – who moves to Honda after a long spell with Ulster’s TAS Racing team – is now more fired up than ever to finally break his duck at the TT in less than five months’ time.
“Neil [Tuxworth] has been talking to me for a while about joining the team, but I had a lot of thinking to do before I committed and said yes,” he said.
“I spent a lot of time on my pushbike to and from work, thinking about what to do. I didn’t want to grow old regretting not giving the Honda a go, and the more time passes since making the decision, the more time I’ve thought it is the right decision.
“Honda is a great team and the Fireblade has always been a weapon on the roads, so with the new bike, I’m keen to give it a go. We’ve got a busy testing schedule coming up and I’ve put some other stuff off to make time.”
Martin has made it onto the TT podium 16 times but has never quite managed to nail down a breakthrough victory, although Honda boss Tuxworth feels he will have his best ever opportunity this year on the new ’Blade, shod with Dunlop rubber.
“Guy is hungry for his first TT win and John wants another and his lap record back, so this mixed with the new CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 means we should be in for some exciting racing action,” said Tuxworth.
“The new Fireblade SP2 is so important to the team and also Honda and it’s vital we continue its legacy at the TT and add more to its 23 wins. “I really feel with Guy and John, and of course the new Fireblade, that we have a strong team ready to tackle the roads this year.
“John is part of the furniture really, but it’s great to have him back with us for another year – it wouldn’t be the same without him.”
Martin will also join McGuinness at the North West 200 in May in a surprise U-turn. On his last appearance at the event in 2015, he launched into a rant over the ‘boring’ nature of the chicanes dotted around the seaside course and said he would never be back.
His schedule also includes the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man plus the ‘Race of Legends’ at Armoy and the MCE Ulster Grand Prix, where he has won 11 times.
Martin will ride Superstock and Superbike machinery and also has the option of a Ten Kate-prepared Honda Supersport bike.
Undoubtedly the biggest name in motorcycle road racing, the unprecedented hype surrounding his comeback this year will add a new dimension to the roads scene and his return can only be a good thing for the sport.