Guy Martin back on track

Published: 03 December 2016

Guy road races again, has a crack at speedway and has a beach blast

Guy Martin returned to bikesport at the weekend when he travelled to New Zealand’s South Island to race his monster Martek turbocharged Suzuki GSX-R1100in the 11th annual Burt Munro Challenge, a multi-event rally that attracts riders and racers from all over the country.

The Lincolnshire rider, who missed this year’s TT and hasn’t raced competitively since his crash at the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix, enthralled spectators in the sprint event on his self-built Suzuki, even with the Martek’s boost turned down to ‘just’ 260bhp. Local rider, John Beck, who helped Guy during the week and got to take the Martek out, said: “That thing is just the right amount of angry.”

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Fresh from the tarmac, Guy was then in action on the beach. New Zealand’s oldest motorcycling trophy is settled here, where landspeed record hero Burt Munro learned his riding craft, and the windswept coast sees action once every year as part of this week of motorcycling.

Thrown in at the deep end on a 450cc Honda motocrosser, Martin stood out in the pack with his leathers and road helmet as the riders flew down the sand as fast as the protesting singles would allow. He also impressed the off-road specialists by entering as many races as he could, and finishing mid-pack in most of them.

In the speedway leg of the Challenge, Martin rode a Yamaha R1-powered bike before fitting wets to his Martek Suzuki for the wind and rain-lashed street racing, which was cut short when fencing blew down and on to the track.

With the Burt Munro Challenge bending the rules to accommodate his 1380cc turbo, a return visit for Guy next year looks on the cards when the TV star would hope to imporve on his tenth place this time out.

“It’s a great event,” said Guy. “And it’s great that I get to do so many different things. It’s more about the event, the machines and the people. The racing is great but there’s more to it than that.

“It sounds like next year’s Burt Munro Challenge will be a special event with some pretty mad machines, so hopefully I’ll be back.”

What is the Burt Munro Challenge?

The Burt Munro Challenge has become a New Zealand institution in recent years. With the NZ Hillclimb Championship kicking off the competitive side of the week-long event, followed by a Supercross event, the circus then heads to Teretonga, the world’s southernmost race circuit, before tackling the country’s oldest motorcycling event – beach racing on the South Island’s southern coast. Oreti Beach is not only the venue for the sand-kicking event, it’s also where Burt Munro tested the machines he built that were to become the basis of the movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian.’

Photos: Kevin Kinghan

Find out what happens when you dare Guy.

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