Isle of Man TT boss Paul Phillips says he is disappointed that star Guy Martin has decided not to take part in the 2016 festival but added the Lincolnshire man is welcome to return.
Martin announced yesterday he would not be competing on the island, choosing instead to take part in the Tour Divide mountain bike race in America. But Martin also said he has not decided whether he will race again or not in the future.
“It’s always a shame when one of TT’s leading riders misses the event for whatever reason and clearly Guy has a massive following with the fans,” said Phillips, speaking to bikesportnews.com.
“But the event is bigger than any one individual and will move forward and continue to grow this year and into the future. Hopefully Guy will return in the future and we’d welcome him back if that is what he chooses to do.”
Martin said in a statement:
“I fancy a change of scenery. 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.
“I’ve been on about the Tour Divide, the toughest pushbike race in the world, 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 at TT, so that’s forced me to make a choice.
“I’m not done with motorbikes. 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. I’ve got more interests than just motorbikes and I just think let’s bloody have ‘em.”