The ink on Lincolnshire livewire Guy Martin’s new 2014 contract with Ulster’s Tyco Suzuki team had barely dried as road racing’s biggest personality took the Ulster Grand Prix by storm on Saturday.
The 31-year-old built on his Solo Championship victory at the Southern 100 in July with another blue riband Superbike success over Honda rival Michael Dunlop in the big-money feature race at Dundrod.
A revitalised Martin, no doubt buoyed by the finalisation of his plans for next season and spurred on by his morale-boosting Southern success last month, met Saturday’s challenge head-on at the last of the season’s major international road races and triumphed spectacularly.
He retained his Ulster GP Superbike crown with the conviction of a rider who has total faith in his own capabilities and the machinery at his disposal.
A Superbike double was obtained with the minimum of fuss in the second outing for the premier class machines as Martin applied the coup de grace to his would-be challengers, sealing his 11th Ulster GP victory without barely breaking sweat after key opponent Dunlop was ruled out of the race with a leaking fuel tank.
Disregarded as a serious contender in the Supersport division in recent years, Martin’s rejuvenation in the second half of this season was perfectly emphasised by his win over Bruce Anstey on the GSX-R600.
Machine problems ended his hopes in the Superstock and second Supersport races, otherwise the English marauder may have equalled his 2006 four-timer at Dundrod.
A renewed wave of optimism over Martin’s Isle of Man TT prospects next June was tangible on Saturday, with his unquestionable return to top form fuelling expectations that an elusive Mountain success will finally be his in 2014.
However, whether or not Martin’s inspirational performances at two of his traditionally most fruitful hunting grounds at Billown and Dundrod provide an authentic basis on which to found hopes of a TT breakthrough next summer remains to be seen.
For now, though, the PR dream of a Guy Martin success at the most important road race meeting in the world is well and truly alive.