The 2017 North West 200 was the start of the end for Honda’s Road Racing Season this year.
Things hadn’t got off to a great start anyway even after the announcement of what has to be described as a dream team of John MCGuinness and Guy Martin. Guy crashed out of Tandragee and had a mediocre Cookstown event, however whether Honda wanted to admit it or not there was clearly an issue come the North West.
Every road racing fan knows John McGuinness just doesn’t fall off and it didn’t take long until the rumours started flowing that there was an issue with the bike and something to do with the throttle and that is what had thrown John off the bike.
Now two and a half months later, those rumours have been confirmed.
The internet has went crazy today reporting on Guy Martin retiring from Road Racing. As a Guy Martin fan, that is of course devastating news, and I honestly believe that most pure fans of road racing will also agree that Guy was / is good for the sport and its profile. However following an ‘exclusive interview’ with MCN it looks like his road racing days are over…
With huge publicity surrounding the partnership of John McGuiness and Guy Martin on the new Honda FireBlade things looked perfect for the 2017 season.
Then it all started to unwind. A poor Tandragee 100 started the season with Guy crashing out on his first lap, followed by an uneventful Cookstown 100 and North West 200 (at the same time as losing team mate John McGuinness to a horrific crash) which led us to the Isle of Man. After the ‘box of neutrals’ incident Honda withdrew from the rest of the event. Guy went onto a second place in the TTZero with Team Mugen, his team mate Bruce Anstey taking the win in that event.
Then the press release came that Honda and Guy would not be participating in the Ulster Grand Prix, a circuit that has brought Guy great success as well as proving almost deadly in 2015.
At this point I think most of us thought the writing on the wall was now here.
Guy Martin’s Road Racing days are over.
Explaining his decision to call it a day in an exclusive interview with MCN’s Matt Wildee, Guy said: “Racing’s been good to me, but I’m bored of it. You spend the early part of the year preparing for the season – testing, racing, talking about it, and then doing it all over again. It’s like Groundhog Day. It’s time to stop.”
This is being reported across all main road racing networks today…
Reports indicate that Guy Martin and marque Honda will not contest Armoy or the Ulster Grand Prix; an inauspicious and anticlimactic end to a very arduous season in 2017.
After so many years of success, Honda has endured, along with its riders, a highly tumultuous year already and one wonders how they will come back from the apparent brink.
Sad end to the year for Guy and for Honda if this is the case.
To be brutally honest after the 2017 Honda has found itself nursing I can’t fault any outcome like this, whether it is Guy Martin finishing with Honda, or vice versa, or Honda pulling out of these events of its own volition I think the final outcome is the right one.
What I do hope is that their R&D Teams get any remaining bugs ironed out and make a great comeback in 2018. I would be really surprised to see them fielding a team with a diferent rider(s) this season.
What I also hope is that this doesn’t end Guy Martin with road racing, the simple facts are, Guy is quick and skilled, you don’t get into the 132mph TT Club by accident or happy chance. He is popular and this fame brings people (and money) to these events. No doubt it helps with the following, contraversial maybe? True definitely. And finally I think he has unfinished buisness – he wants that TT win, and to be honest I want him to get it. Maybe Wilson Craig Racing could see him on a bike to see out the season, who knows?
Anyway here’s to fast and sucessful return to Road Racing, in the very near future to Honda Racing and Guy Martin.
So this is it for this trip, the final day. The boat is about 7pm so unfortunately that means no viewing of the practice session tonight. That’s one of the bad points on coming over for Practice Week from Northern Ireland – the sailings aren’t perfect, but I suppose there is no way round it unless the Steam Packet put on an 11:00pm sailing – Hint Hint…
On getting packed up the hotel kindly offered to look after my gear and panniers so I could go and enjoy the mountain again – just another reason why I absolutely will go back to this hotel without any qualm.
After a meet up with the guys in Douglas, some breakkie and a quick walk around the town and a catching of the sights it was time to head out back out towards the track.
It was on this walk around the town that I called into the RoadSkin pop up store and purchased myself a nice Roodskin motorcycle hoodie (which I have been wearing regularly ever since) and a pair of jeans (which I have yet to pull on) – the pop up store saving me well over £100 on these two items alone, oh and I picked up a couple of neck warmers too.
(Long Term Review to follow on the RoadsSkin Gear)
After yesterday’s rumours and my theory that’d we know more by Wednesday / Thursday, guess what? It is Wednesday and we know more! Without further ado here is the news and it is good!
Oh and before the internet warriors and those who specialise in the keyboard and living under bridges, a chap can change his mind and like it or lump it, this is a huge boost for the Road Racing Scene. Welcome back Guy Martin!
Looks like TT tickets may be even harder to get this year!
John McGuinness and Guy Martin complete Honda Racing dream team.
Honda Motor Europe is delighted to announce an exciting two-rider line-up for its 2017 Road Racing assault at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT in the Superbike classes. Re-signing for the Honda Racing team is TT legend John McGuinness, who will be joined by Guy Martin on the all-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Making his return to racing after a year away, fan favourite Martin will form a formidable team with McGuinness and the brand new Fireblade SP2 on the roads. Martin has enjoyed huge success on the roads during his career securing wins at various races including the Ulster GP, Scarborough Gold Cup, Armoy, Cookstown and also the Southern 100. He has also stepped on the TT podium 15 times and will be chasing his elusive maiden TT win with the Honda Racing team.
Meanwhile, McGuinness will be looking to add to his impressive tally of 23 TT wins, and riding the new Fireblade SP2, will also be aiming to recapture his lap record which was broken during last year’s race.
The Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade is the most successful 1000cc machine ever at the Isle of Man TT and Honda aims to add to its remarkable record with the new SP2 version, which is the ultimate expression of the Fireblade’s Next Stage Total Control concept.
The SP2 is a road legal homologation special based on the Fireblade SP that is specifically developed for racing and features a revised cylinder head with larger valve sizes and lightweight Marchesini wheels for even greater performance.
The all-new Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2 will make its road racing debut at the North West 200 in May.
For all the latest news and information on the Honda Racing team follow @HondaRacingCBR on Twitter.
“I’m back with Honda for another year; really I’m part of the family, and I can’t wait to see what the new Fireblade SP2 can do! I know the old model like the back of my hand and have taken a lot of my TT wins with the old girl, so I can’t wait to get out on track and try the new machine out. I have a good feeling about this year and think we have a really good package to show that we mean business. I of course would like another TT win and I would quite like my lap record back! I always say when it’s broken that the lads are just borrowing it and I hope this year that this is the case. I am sad to say bye to the old Fireblade; I have a lot of history and good memories with that bike, but testing the new model can’t come soon enough and neither can the race season. I’m excited to have Guy as my new team-mate; we’ve enjoyed many a racing battle over the years and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can both do.”
“Neil [Tuxworth] has been talking to me for a while about joining the team, but I had a lot of thinking to do before I committed and said yes. I spent a lot of time on my push bike to and from work, thinking about what to do. I didn’t want to grow old regretting not giving the Honda a go, and the more time passes since making the decision, the more time I’ve thought it is the right decision. Honda is a great team and the Fireblade has always been a weapon on the roads, so with the new bike, I‘m keen to give it a go. We’ve got a busy testing schedule coming up and I’ve put some other stuff off to make time. John [McGuinness] is the man, I’ve got massive respect for him and I’m looking forward to racing on the Fireblade against him.”
“We have two new members joining the Honda Racing team this year with Guy signing and the new 2017 Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2. John is part of the furniture really, but it’s great to have him back with us for another year – it wouldn’t be the same without him! I really feel with Guy and John, and of course the new Fireblade, that we have a strong team ready to tackle the roads this year. Guy is hungry for his first TT win and John wants another and his lap record back, so this mixed with the new CBR1000RR means we should be in for some exciting racing action. The new Fireblade SP2 is so important to the team and also Honda and it’s vital we continue its legacy at the TT and add more to its 23 wins. We’re all looking forward to testing and I think everyone from the riders and the team are all excited to get on track and put the new machine through its paces.”
Photos: Honda Racing