Kirmington’s Guy Martin endured a disappointing and frustrating week at the 2006 Isle of Man TT Races when a combination of bad luck and small mechanical problems prevented him from taking a much-wanted first win.

After an almost faultless practice week, when he constantly featured in the top three of the leaderboards for all classes, it all went wrong in the races. Although he was able to claim fourth, fifth and 13th place finishes, as well as posting a new personal best lap of 127.678mph, it could have been so much better.
Nevertheless, the 24-year-old once again made his mark on the island and his performances certainly didn’t go unnoticed.

By the end of practice Martin was second overall in the Superbike (126.799mph), third in the Supersport (121.310mph) and fourth in the Superstock (123.234mph).

However, in the final Friday evening practice session, the Superbike developed a small, electrical fault which meant the fuel injection system on the bike was affected. The AIM Racing team worked right up until the 1pm race start on Saturday to rectify the problem.

Due to his practice performances, Guy was moved from his original start position of number 11 to number 1 which gave him the advantage of a clear road although it did mean he was a target and would be chased.

The opening Superbike race got away on time but by Glen Helen it was clear that all was not well with the R1 Yamaha as Guy was over seven seconds adrift of the lead and by Sulby, 19 miles into the opening lap, his race was over, the engine finally having expired.

Monday’s Superstock race gave him a chance to redeem the situation but, although practice had gone well, Martin had struggled with the handling of the machine.

Although it worked perfectly through the Glen Helen section it was a bit of a handful on the fast run to Ballaugh, pushing the brake pads back on the front end. A new front tyre helped and at the end of the first lap Martin was in a strong third with Jason Griffiths, just half a second back in fourth.

Griffiths gradually pulled him back and overhauled him for third. By the end of the race, the gap had grown to nine seconds and Martin was bitterly disappointed with fourth.

In Wednesday’s Supersport Junior race Martin found himself in fourth after one lap, less than a second adrift of third. Just when he was about to make his charge the steering damper broke midway through the second lap, causing him some anxious moments. He got the R6 Yamaha back to the pits where the team managed to fit a bolt to the damper but he had lost over three minutes and he dropped all the way down to 17th. A final lap of 122.438mph moved him back up to 14th and this later became 13th when runner-up Ian Hutchinson was disqualified for a technical infringement.

Senior race day, on Friday, was the Blue Riband event and a flying opening lap of 127.678mph placed Martin second, less than four seconds adrift of John McGuinness.

The lap also meant that Martin is the fifth fastest rider ever to have lapped the Mountain Course.

No-one had been as close to McGuinness all week but just as it looked as if the Morecambe rider would be seriously challenged, Martin’s developed an oil leak and his foot kept slipping off the footrest.

If the oil had got onto the back tyre, the consequences were unthinkable. Martin pressed on as best, and as bravely, as he could but his pace understandably slackened and, although he was still posting laps in excess of 125mph, the pace at the front had moved to the 128-129mph bracket and he ended the six-lap, 226-mile race in fifth. This was still an excellent result but everyone on the island knew it could have been more.

After the Senior race, a dejected Martin said: “I’m absolutely gutted and I’m struggling to find the words to sum up how I’m feeling now. I really thought I could grab a win this year but things have just gone against us and it was most definitely a case of good practice week, bad race week.

“The Superbike and Supersport machines were faultless throughout practice and I felt comfortable with the lap times.. There was plenty more to come as I had left myself a bit in reserve. The problems came early in all of the races and there was nothing I could do – if I’d have pushed any harder, I would have run the risk of crashing, which you just cannot afford to do around here.”

Speak Your Mind