Posts Tagged ‘Guy Martin’

I’ve often wondered what happened to the tankards.
The tankards isn’t the nickname of a biker gang. These tankards are the ones which always lived in the press centre at the TT, many of them personalised with the names of long-serving members of the press corps.
My first TT was 1990, reporting for the BBC TV programme ‘Northwest Tonight’. The press centre was a very self-contained, clubby place. As a newbie, I was required to attend an interview with the then chairman of the ACU, Bill Smith, who quizzed me about my attitude to the TT and my intentions regarding my reports. The only other time I’ve experienced anything quite like that was in Prague during the Cold War when the British reporters covering a European football match had to surrender our passports at the police HQ before we were allowed to work. Fortunately the TT authorities turned out to be a bit more hospitable. The press centre on Glencrutchery Road was equipped with a bar where Peter Kneale would dispense pints to the reporters after the races. I never had a personalised tankard and by the time I’d clocked up enough visits to be even considered, the bar had disappeared and the tankards with them. In came a new, work-efficient era, with a tea and coffee machine which could never replace the sort of refreshment we used to enjoy before.
Peter combined the roles of commentator and press officer. It meant that he always knew exactly what was going on behind the scenes at the TT, and his successor Geoff Cannell also took on both roles. In 2004 the powers that be decided that the two jobs could no longer be filled by one individual. The turning point had come the previous year when Geoff was caught in an impossible situation, trying to handle media enquiries after the tragic accident that cost the life of David Jefferies while also being required behind the microphone to commentate for Manx Radio.
I was appointed commentator in 2004 and found it quite difficult getting hold of the background information that my predecesors had taken for granted. Peter and Geoff had been in on the plans, the committee meetings, and knew everyone. I arrived expecting the usual standards of media information to be available and found that the TT was totally off the pace. Fortunately the appointment of Simon Crellin as chief press officer a couple of years later made a big difference.
For me, the way a sports event treats its media says a lot about the way it rates its public. If it doesn’t provide the media with a professional service, then it is effectively stating that it doesn’t care if the public knows what’s going on or not.


Guy doing it legally. Photo: Alan Knight

Which brings me up to date and an announcement by the Isle of Man Police that they have dropped their inquiry into Guy Martin’s claims in the Sunday Times that he lapped the TT course in a car at an average 103mph on open roads. At the time there was a mix of outrage and disbelief. The police now say  ‘We have sought advice on further investigation of this matter from the Attorney General’s Chambers, and at this point, our inquiries are complete and we will not be seeking to take any further action’. Which leaves more questions than answers. What information caused them to regard their inquiries as complete? I’d imagine it was the discovery that the claims were completely fanciful, but it isn’t good enough simply to state that their inquiries are closed without telling the public what their reasons are.



It’s usually dangerous to draw too many conclusions from the NW200 about likely outcomes at the TT. Alastair Seeley’s dominance at the Causeway Coast is one reason. Seeley consistently mops up at the North West but doesn’t do the TT. Despite that, there are maybe some pointers to be found.

I don’t want to go any further though without saying that the most important thing is the wellbeing of the woman who was seriously injured in Saturday’s three-bike incident. I felt too many people were too quick to ‘move on’ from this desperate accident. ‘The helicopter got away, how soon can we get back to the racing?’ No, that’s not the right way to go. As I write, over 24 hours has passed and the woman is still on the critical list in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. I sincerely hope she makes a good recovery. The same thoughts go to Stephen Thompson, also rated critical having been involved in the same incident.

We can’t tip Seeley for success at the TT, but we can say that his Tyco/TAS team have got the BMW working well. If that level of preparation carries through to the team’s BMWs on the island, then their TT experts William Dunlop and Guy Martin should prosper. William has the edge on Guy at the moment and Guy will have to be properly focused on the island. His ‘boring boring’ rant was out of order and also out of character, more a sign of frustration than anything else. I’d love Guy to win in what he says will be his last TT – although he hinted in a BBC NI interview that he might have second thoughts. At the moment, I have to say I think he’ll do well to get on the podium, never mind win.

Michael Dunlop’s switch to Shaun Muir’s Yamaha team makes forecasting even more difficult. Much the same as Hutchy’s switch to Shaun’s outfit after his five-out-of-five on Clive Padgett’s Hondas, before injury intervened. Michael has done it all on Honda and BMW bikes – but Yamaha? Well, if I’ve learnt one thing, it is never to bet against M.Dunlop. He will be a major contender. So will John McGuinness and Conor Cummins on the Hondas. The North West confirmed Lee Johnston as a big player, winner of the Superstock on Saturday. And Hutchy looked pretty good too, thank goodness, third in the Superstock and second in the Superbike, both on Paul Bird’s Kawasakis. The weekend also reminded us that Bruce Anstey is very much in the frame.

It’s impossible this year to come up with a single overwhelming favourite so it looks like we’re set for a massively exciting TT with the victories being shared around a bit more than in recent years.

I hope Guy turns up with his mojo in good working order. And I do hope Michael doesn’t go for a repeat of a silly little stunt at the start of proceedings on Saturday when he seemed to be goading the excellent BBC reporter Stephen Watson into giving a gratuitous plug to Michael’s sponsors. Stephen dealt with it well, but come on Michael. If Stephen had fallen for your little trick he’d have been in big trouble with his bosses. If anyone had tried to make me do something which is a disciplinary offence, if not a sackable one, when I was at the BBC I’d have thought long and hard before giving him any live TV exposure again.

Update: BBC TV interview with NW200 Race Director Mervyn Whyte, May 18th 2015








It’s been an incredibly busy week for news from the TT and MGP. In case you missed anything, here’s a round-up of what’s been going on over the last seven days.

  • Entries for the TT closed with all solo classes except Superstock over-subscribed and the Sidecars showing the largest entry since Centenary year 2007. Very sadly, the entries do not include Ian Hutchinson as he continues his fight to recover from injury. They do include Dave Madsen-Mygdal who could become the first rider to complete 100 races.
  • Hutchy will be on the island hosting his Let’s Talk Bikes show, which will be a treat but not exactly where we want to see him.
  • Cameron Donald withdrew from the Honda TT Legends endurance team because it takes him away from Australia too often. He will though ride the NW200 and the TT.
  • ITV4’s documentary series following the Honda TT Legends reached the Isle of Man with highlights of the SBK TT and insights behind the scenes. They’re back at the TT in next Monday’s episode.
  • 25 riders showed up for the first tour of the Mountain Course this year for Manx Grand Prix newcomers. They included a team of four from the British Army.
  • Manxman Gavin Hunt, son of ‘Big H’ Paul, will make his TT debut. The 26-year old will campaign a ZX-10R Kawasaki in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior.

    Gavin Hunt at the 2010 NW200. Photo: Kirth Ferris

    Gavin Hunt at the 2010 NW200. Photo: Kirth Ferris

  • Blackpool’s Roy Richardson announced his retirement from the TT but will continue at the Classic TT in August where he has 10 victories under the old MGP Classic banner.
  • Guy Martin announced his 2013 schedule which starts at Cookstown on April 26 and includes NW200, TT and Southern 100.
  • Olie Linsdell will again ride the SMV Engineering R6 in the Supersport races, and the Steve Bond / Flitwick Motorcycles Fireblade in the three larger capacity classes, and the Suzuki V-Strom racer in the lightweight race. For the inaugural Classic TT, Olie will ride all three races.

    Experts on and off the bike: Olie Linsdell and dad Steve

    Experts on and off the bike: Olie Linsdell and dad Steve

  • Olie’s former team boss Ian Lougher will join the team at the Classic TT riding the Royal Enfield that Olie took to second place last year.
  • KMR Kawasaki, run by Ryan Farquhar, announced that former Irish Superbike champion Brian McCormack will be joining the squad for the International and National road races. The deal was announced a day after KMR signed MGP Newcomers winner James Cowton who will contest the NW200 and MGP among other meetings.
  • Farquhar and McCormack do some blue-sky thinking. Photo: Stephen Davison

    Farquhar and McCormack do some blue-sky thinking. Photo: Stephen Davison

  • It’s been just over a year since Keith Amor announced his retirement from road racing due to injury but the Scot hasn’t been idle and can now be found in Cyprus running ‘Enduro Paphos’, his own off road/adventure business. Further details can be found at
  • Kawasaki all-time great Kork Ballington will be at the Classic TT in August, riding in the lap of honour and appearing at the Festival of Jurby on a Kawasaki H2R 750 triple. This will be part of a spectacular contribution to the Classic TT by Team Collins and Russell (Des Collins and Ronnie Russell) who are bringing up to 12 classic Kawasakis to the island.
  • Former MGP Lightweight winner Tony Duncan has been appointed chief travelling marshal for all Mountain Course events.
  • And finally, last Monday would have been Joey Dunlop’s 61st birthday meaning thousands of people worldwide spared more than few thoughts for the modest genius from Ballymoney.