Kirmington racer Guy Martin is to take a sabbatical from motorcycling’s mecca and turn his attentions to the world’s toughest pushbike challenge.
Martin posted his intentions for 2016 on Facebook last week when he confirmed he would not be competing in the Isle of Man TT this summer.
While not ruling out a future return to the famous race, or even some motorcycling action this season, Martin has decided to channel his spirit of adventure in another direction in 2016.
“I fancy a change of scenery,” he said. “I’ve been racing the TT for 11 years.
“All I’ve really done since I was 18, except the trucks, is race motorbikes and my brain needs something else.
“Every year’s the same: testing, racing, then start again.
“It brought it home to me when I was lying in hospital after the Ulster Grand Prix crash.”
Martin’s chief ambition for the year is to tackle the Tour Divide, an ultra-cycling challenge to pedal solo and self-supported through the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
The punishing 2,745-mile route takes riders from Canada and through the United States from north to south to the finish in New Mexico.
Riders face a lung-busting 200,000ft of ascent along the way – the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest from sea-level seven times.
Martin added: “I’ve been on about the Tour Divide for three years and I thought I’ll blink and next thing I’ll be 45, so I’m going to do it this year.
“I like breaking myself mentally and the Tour Divide will be tough, but it’s same time as TT, so that’s forced me to make a choice.”
Martin made his TT debut in 2004 and has racked up five podium finishes.
He is also the second-fastest man to have lapped the TT course with a speed of 129.816mph.
The 34-year-old is keeping his options open on a possible return to the blue riband meet, but still has motorbike commitments away from the road and track for 2016.
“I’m not done with motorbikes,” he added. “I’m attempting the Wall of Death record in the spring and having a go at the land speed record in the summer, and if I do race on the roads it will be with TAS.
“After the Tour Divide I might never want to see a pushbike again, or never want to go road racing again; I don’t know.
“But I do know Bruce Anstey and John McGuinness are still racing the TT, and they’ve got a few years on me, so maybe I’ll come back next year.
“Or maybe I’ll find something else interesting to do.”