Published on 23/09/2014 by David Birkett
“From that moment I went even harder. It was the buzz of that near miss, of being so, so close to disaster, to be risking the whole lot, but getting away with it, that I’ve been chasing ever since.”
For some, motorcycles are in the blood. It’s a passion that is never quenched, a need for speed that can never be satisfied and a pursuit that is not for the faint of heart. However, even those of us that live and breathe motorcycles and would rather have some ‘Castrol-R’ burning away as incense than the usual jasmine, recognise that road-racing requires a rider who is either a lot braver than most or even just that little bit crazy.
Enter Guy Martin. A larger than life Lincolnshire lad who harks back to the heyday of motorcycle racing, when a rider was a rebel, a maverick or a loose cannon rather than a PR man’s dream. In his autobiography Martin, somewhat shamelessly, takes us through his upbringing, his passion for all things mechanical, his trials and tribulations working with TV crews and the media, his life as a truck fitter and of course his hobby as a motorcycle road-racer. From humble beginnings as a child ‘helping’ his dad build race bikes in his shed, Martin’s love of all things mechanical was instilled from a very early age. From tuning up his first little road bike Martin started out on a path to racing bikes in BSB, racing on the Irish Roads, the Macau GP and of course the fabled Isle of Man TT. All the while, though, he has maintained that racing bikes is his hobby, while his vocation is truck-fitting, and he wouldn’t change this for the world. Hard graft being something Guy actively seeks, he candidly talks of pushing his body to the limits in gruelling endurance mountain bike events and relishes the challenge.
Always surrounded by controversy, the man behind the book goes into his side of events and tells it exactly as he sees it, pulling no punches when it comes to his opinion on ex team-bosses, TV crews and mechanics. He even includes the parts of his life in which he doesn’t come out shining and on top, the struggles and the bad times being told with a complete clarity that further serves to paint the man behind the visor as more human. Martin, of course, doesn’t forget to mention those who have really helped him in the past, the family and friends supporting him in his racing, spinning spanners for him, helping him get to the races or even being there for him when it all goes wrong! He also gives a great insight into his relationship with his fans and how much he appreciates their support, but also describing how he can find it all a bit overwhelming and why he doesn’t always follow the grain when it comes to keeping sponsors happy.
As with all of Martin’s antics, this book had me cracking up in almost every paragraph; whether that's down to his frank views, his jokes, the situations he finds himself in or just his eccentric yet brilliant ways of viewing life. Find out what goes through a truck mechanic cum road racer’s head when he is about to lose the front end through a blind 170mph corner on the TT course and possibly lose it all!
This is a great read for all petrol-heads, motorcyclists, road racing enthusiasts and fans of this TV personality alike, the perfect insight to this truly unique character. As we all know Guy is a huge advocate of a good brew, so stick the kettle on, don your lid and kick back with this thrilling read.
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