Interview: Guy Martin

Guy Martin
One of the best motorcycle movies of recent years is TT3D: Closer To The Edge. It’s a documentary about the Isle of Man TT, and it more than lives up to its billing as a “heart-stopping joy ride for anyone with a pulse”. Much of its appeal comes from protagonist Guy Martin, a Lincolnshire lad aptly described by the Guardian newspaper as a “likeable motormouth”. Guy is well known for his racing skills: he’s won six Ulster GPs and been on the podium 13 times at the Isle of Man. Here he tackles something infinitely harder: the traditional ten questions of the Bike EXIF Interview.

What was the first motorcycle you bought with your own money? A 1986 KX 125. And I still have the old AR50 (below) I’ve had since I was about 16. One day I’ll get round to doing it up again, but at the moment it lives in a barn.

Kawasaki AR50
What do you think is the most beautiful production motorcycle ever built? The Honda RC30 (below). My Dad’s got a proper mint BSA Gold Star though. Think that’s tidy too.

Honda RC30
What motorcycle do you despise? Not that struck on Harleys but each to their own—certainly don’t despise any bikes, that’s a strong word.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? All good with what I’ve got at the moment really. Just waiting on a Spitfire Merlin engine for my front room which is coming soon, I’m going to run it in stationary engine competitions. Do you reckon it’s fair to enter it? It has to be the Rolls-Royce (literally) of stationary engines. I don’t get excited about much, but I’ve almost been losing sleep about going to pick that up. Uses a fair bit of fuel though so better get the overtime in eh? Especially as my other goal is to get a Britten bike (below) … but that might take a bit longer.

Britten motorcycle
Electric motorcycles: Yes or No? Not for me but each to their own.

What is your favorite journey? Riding my Martek (a 1380cc turbo based on the Suzuki GSX-R1100, below) up and down the industrial estate at work.

Martek motorcycle
Which ‘everyday’ modern bikes do you think will become future classics? The equivalent of the Honda CB750 or Moto Guzzi V7 Sport, if you like? The MV Agusta F4 and Honda SP1 (RC51).

Who are your real-life motorcycling heroes? John Britten—respect what he did and how he went about stuff, he thought outside the box. So did Peter Williams, most people don’t even know who he is! Same with Mick Doohan, not my hero but just respect what he did. Did you know he nearly lost his leg in a crash and had the other one sewn to it to stop it dying. Double hard b*****d.

Are you optimistic for the future of motorcycling? It’s always going to be a leisure industry, so it’ll be tight for a bit. Will be fewer paid motorbike racers, so people will race for the right reasons—not just for money. More like how it used to be: if you love it you’ll do it.

What is your current state of mind? Just building a diesel Kubota stationary engine for a truck, so my state of mind is check and check again.

You can follow Guy Martin’s racing exploits on his website and Facebook page. TT3D is in cinemas now, and highly recommended.

TT3D: Closer To The Edge