Trackside Tuesday: Good Man

06/12/2012 @ 12:14 pm, by Daniel Lo6 COMMENTS

The stage was set for Guy Martin to take his first ever TT win in 2012, with the popular fan favorite returning with the same team with which he scored four podium finishes in the previous year’s contest. Top-level crew, competitive machinery, and one of the fastest men to ever lap the Mountain Course teaming up again for another assault. Reaching the top step of the podium should be all but a forgone conclusion — or at least in theory.

What resulted instead was truly a week to forget, starting with Guy getting nudged off the podium in the opening Superbike race when his crew was unable to change his rear tire for the final two laps. The first Supersport race ended prematurely after his engine gave out, forcing a retirement into the pits, after just a single lap. The Superstock race that followed was barely an improvement, with Guy taking an anonymous eighth place finish, after being off the pace from the start. Further engine problems in the second Supersport race again saw him off the podium, finishing down in fifth. To cap it off, a final shot at a good result was thwarted by the first ever cancellation of the Senior TT race. Things did not go according to plan, to say the least.

The irony was not lost on me as I had traveled to this year’s Isle of Man TT with the main objective of documenting Guy’s first TT victory. The backer rewards I offered for my Kickstarter campaign included a Guy Martin postcard sent from the Isle of Man, which I had printed during my time between races. As it turned out, I was fortunate enough to end up spending a bit of unplanned time with the man himself and had the opportunity to give him one of the freshly printed postcards bearing his image.

“What did you want me to do with this?” he asked, after examining the picture and offering his approval. “Nothing, it’s for you,” I replied. He looked genuinely taken back, and froze for what must have been a full second before pulling himself together enough to say “good man,” followed by a firm handshake. I didn’t talk to him too much after that point, as there were others vying for his attention but before parting ways he walked over to me to shake my hand again.

Never too far from a bit of controversy, Guy has been criticized for various comments he has made, as well as accused of putting up a false act, with a certain supercar parked in his garage as a common citation. Regardless whether or not such criticisms are warranted, his reputation as an amiable everyday guy is definitely well-deserved in my book.

Dan Lo is a motorsport photographer who covers AMA Superbike, World Superbike, and MotoGP. His online portfolio is at CornerSpeedPhoto.com and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. For this year, Dan is looking to expand his coverage to the Isle of Man TT via Kickstarter. A big ‘”thank you” to everyone who donated, and helped send Dan to this year’s TT.

Photo: © 2012 Daniel Lo / Corner Speed Photo – All Rights Reserved