Guy Martin is a household name in UK and Ireland, possibly even further afield but I could’t really honestly say. He is a motorbike racer and being the main man in some pretty interesting TV shows earned him an even wider audience. Add to that his totally refreshingly different character (he has Asperger’s Syndrome as it turns out) and you have something that you simply cannot turn away from.
Why such a book? My husband is a biker and naturally I started watching MotoGP and Isle of Man TT with him from the telly. MotoGP is alright- I like the take offs and the 2 laps before the finish as that’s when things tend to be super interesting, otherwise the going around in laps doesn’t tickle me that much. Yet, there is speed and danger and passionate guys. Isle of Man TT racing is a whole different ballpark with its different events! I won’t go into the technicalities here. I watch videos from Youtube and even though I’ve seen some of them a few times I still feel disbelief every single time. It’s mental! The Senior race is a two hour race, six-laps, each lap 38 miles on the roads. Since the beginning of Isle of Man TT races there have been some gruesome crashes and many deaths.
I crashed 13 times in my first year, sometimes twice in a meeting, because I definitely didn’t do 13 different race meetings that season. It was costing me a fortune.
Everyone with knowledge of Guy Martin knows that he grew up tweaking engines and since his Dad owns a truck repair garage, Guy is a truck spanner. He loves fixing trucks!
I ate this book up! There was a sprinkle of his everyday life and a good portion about bikes and racing. In some parts of the books Guy literally takes you for a ride on his races describing exactly the feelings, the gear changes, the breaking, the mechanics, the race line, I mean- everything! And even though I know nothing about bike mechanics I found it so well described I lapped it up like a kitten at a milk bowl.
I found it quite surprising, even though I shouldn’t have, because his character should be a dead give away that he’s a mischievous fella. The stuff he got up to made me feel the pain he wrote about in the book. He’s had so many accidents and crashes from racing but also from getting up to some seriously stupid shit. Guy Martin does not know fear. He just gets an idea and goes for it.
I wasn’t in any doubt, but the proof of the pudding is always in the èating, and I proved I still had the balls for it, even after the crash I’d had. I wasn’t scared of dying at a road race. I was more scared of running out of teabags.
I read some of the reviews of the book on Goodreads and a few people mentioned that while they were huge fans of Guy, after reading his autobiography they started disliking him and thought he was a See You Next Thursday. Fair enough, reading a book is like reading art- everyone takes away their own interpretation. I, personally, have so much more respect for the Guy (haha, punny). TV shows and few interviews can give you an idea, and after reading this book it firmed up for me that he is top man- takes no bullshit, you get what you see. Yes, he blames other people (team mechanics or team owners) in some of the things, but he also blames himself when he knows he’s done wrong and he apparently doesn’t shy away from apologizing where due. How can you not have respect for a straight talking guy who doesn’t give two shits about what others think about him? He does what he loves and his passion for all things bikes and truck and speed so obviously shined that I wanted to go to the garage and pick up a spanner!
One of the shows Guy was in was called The Boat That Guy Built which included buying a canal boat in bad state, doing it up and kitting it out using the tech and methods from the Industrial Revolution.
At one point in the series, we were making some cotton bed linen, and I was asking how it got from the sheep. I now know cotton doesn’t come from sheep, but I’m not embarrassed to look daft and I’m not sorry they left that in the programme. If it makes me look thick, then I’m thick, I’m not bothered.
As passionate and friendly as the lad comes across something wasn’t right and he knew it. He didn’t like a lot of attention, masses of people and all this buzz that big events usually create… After talking to a lady at a race in Ireland, she suggested he go see her sister who is a psychiatrist.
I explained that I can be sat talking to someone, nodding, smiling and agreeing, and a thought will enter my head, like, ‘What would happen if I smashed this cup around the side of someone’s head and went crackers for five minutes?’
The psychiatrist also said she thought I could love tools and machines as much as I could love a person, that I see them in the same light. I do know that people can shout and scream and have tantrums at me, and I don’t give a shit- and perhaps that’s unusual. I’m looking at them, but thinking about the next cylinder head I have to port.
By now you get the gist- Guy Martin loves speed and he’s an adrenaline junkie and he loves anything to do with machines and their power. This book has so many brilliant happenings in it that to be able to tell you all about it, I would have to retype the whole book in this review… He has worked his bum off to make money for racing and buying fast cars for himself. A Rolls Royce Merlin engine seems to be his favorite among many as he describes himself being like a dog with ten dicks every time he starts it up.
He has gotten his ass black and blue by fireworks, he has smashed his front teeth up to his nasal cavity and left bits of his jaw at the docks, he has more points on his licence than anyone in the UK, I think, and not be banned off the road, he has broken his back and tested out whether his broken leg is healed by jumping off a bed in the doctor’s practice. He loves sleeping in his van and he has broken quite a few world records. All in all a super interesting guy always ready for something new! One of those records was the British speed record for a bicycle. Long story short, the bicycle is pedalled behind a racing truck in the trucks’ slipstream. It has set gearing and it’s a pushpike so the pedals keep going even when slowing down… Dave was the trucker and Guy was on the bike.
I don’t usually watch any of the TV footage we film, but I wanted to see some from that run. There’s a shot from a Vauxhall Insignia, that’s doing over 80 mph, and the truck comes past with bicycle behind it. It doesn’t just overtake, it flies past. I watched it and thought, ‘That’s me!’ It looked mental.
I would recommend this book to anyone, even if you’re not into bikes and racing and spannering. It is quite interesting and Guy’s way of describing it all is so typical to the way he speaks in any of the interviews I’ve seen. He’s full of life and hilarious! Amazon UK has 1564 ratings for the book as of today 30.01.2016- 1300 of those are 5 stars!
To finish off this post, I’m going to leave you with a clip of accidents at the TT races. The one with the explosion is the crash where Guy broke his back, yet walked away from it and got back to racing.