After several weeks of ‘will he, won’t he’ speculation, organisers of the Ulster Grand Prix, the world’s fastest road race, have confirmed that Guy Martin has withdrawn from this year’s event.
The enigmatic TV personality has regularly touted the Northern Irish road race as one of his favourites and had signalled his intention to race at the Dundrod circuit even after his torrid time at this year’s Isle of Man TT.
Martin was a headline signing for Honda’s road racing team at the start of the season, forming a powerhouse line-up with TT icon John McGuinness. It has proved a difficult time for the whole Honda team on the roads however, with McGuinness suffering serious leg injuries at the pre-TT North West 200 as a result of crashing due to machine problems. Martin then crashed in the Superbike TT when his new-for-2017 Honda Fireblade hit a false neutral. The multiple TT podium man was lucky to escape injury but has not raced the developing Fireblade in anger since.
No official comment has yet been made by Martin or Honda Racing, although it is expected that Guy will not appear in Honda colours again. Unusually for a rider under a factory contract, Martin has been seen riding several other brands of bikes at various events, including classic Suzukis and a Harley-Davidson at the recent Dirt Quake.
Noel Johnston, Ulster Grand Prix Clerk of the Course, confirmed Martin’s withdrawal, stating: ““Naturally I’m disappointed to have the news confirmed by Honda that Guy won’t race at Dundrod next month, but it’s not altogether surprising given the difficulties the team has experienced throughout the season.
“I had hoped for a different outcome as Guy is obviously a big fan favourite, and he’s never made any secret in the past of his love for the circuit, which after all is the international where he’s had the most success over the years.
“I’m sure the decision hasn’t been taken lightly by him or the team and I wish Guy well, whatever the next step in his career may be.
“Putting this news aside, I’m very happy with the strength of this year’s entry. We’ve seen some incredible performances this season from the likes of Peter Hickman, Michael Dunlop and Dean Harrison in particular, and I’ve no doubt they will bring the same spectacular form to Dundrod.
“Everyone will be there trying to end their season on a high, and the field is wide open; I think we could see a few dark horses in the mix and ready to make their mark at the world’s fastest road race,” he added.
The 2017 Ulster Grand Prix on August 12, preceded with a week of practice and activities leading up to the main event.