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Opening episode of new Channel 4 series Speed with Guy Martin features attempt on Dave Le Grys's record...

Guy Martin is no slouch on two wheels – the motorbike racer has been on the Isle of Man TT podium 13 times – so aiming for a speed of 110mph may seem sedate by his standards until you find out he’s doing it on a bicycle for a new Channel 4 series that debuts later this month.

Alongside his racing, Martin works as a truck mechanic but has also been building a career in TV over the past couple of years, including the BBC documentary, The Boat that Guy Built, and the Channel 4 series, How Britain Worked.

His latest venture is a six-part series called Speed with Guy Martin and the opening episode, which goes by the name Britain’s Fastest Cyclist, sees him attempt to break the British motor-paced speed record of 110mph on a specially adapted frame made by Rourke.

The chainset is a crossover drive to get a high gear without using a huge chainring – which is what Tom Donhou used in his Experments in Speed video. It’s a clever set-up, and while we’re not sure of the gearing, we suspect all will be revealed in the show.

We’re not certain what the function of the bit protruding from the front of the frame is; our best guess is it’s in case the bike gets too close to the drafting vehicle and ensures the frame will be the contact point – not the front wheel, which would have disastrous consequences.

Again, the programme should reveal all.

Here’s a film of Dave Le Grys setting the current British and Commonwealth record of 110mph on the M42 motorway in 1986.

The Channel 4 episode guide says:

Guy attempts, with the help of slipstreaming, to break the British record for outright speed on a bicycle: an incredible 110mph. Guy recruits an unlikely team made up of a truck racer, an Olympic gold medallist, a bicycle builder and a design engineer more used to working on next-generation military aircraft.

Together they work out how to modify a 1000-horsepower racing lorry to create a large enough slipstream for Guy to cycle in, and build a unique bicycle gearing system capable of triple-figure speeds.

With help from British Olympic track cyclist Laura Trott, Guy undergoes a relentless training regime to get fit enough for the record attempt.

As he lines up at Pendine Sands in Wales – the scene of Sir Malcolm Campbell's historic land speed record attempts in Bluebird – it is without question the most dangerous thing this Isle of Man TT racer has ever done.

The programme airs on Channel 4 on Sunday 29 December at 8pm. There’s a video here of Martin talking about his new series.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

21 comments

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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I like Guy Martin as he's refreshingly un-telly like and in some ways is positioning himself as the new Fred Dibnah. He likes his bikes too.

I just wish he'd decide what he wants to be and do as it doesn't pay to be a hobbyist when it comes to racing the TT and the road scene. Not if you intend on using the return bit of the ferry ticket anyway.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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I like Guy Martin as he's refreshingly un-telly like and in some ways is positioning himself as the new Fred Dibnah. He likes his bikes too.

I just wish he'd decide what he wants to be and do as it doesn't pay to be a hobbyist when it comes to racing the TT and the road scene. Not if you intend on using the return bit of the ferry ticket anyway.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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The bugger grips aren't very aero though .....

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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Guy is a legend, he gets paid naff all for racing, a hobbyists he isn't, road racing is not a full time occupation, good luck to him, he loves his bikes (with and without motors) and I hope he manages to break the record... good luck lad.

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robert.brady [155 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

We’re not certain what the function of the bit protruding from the front of the frame is; our best guess is it’s in case the bike gets too close to the drafting vehicle and ensures the frame will be the contact point – not the front wheel, which would have disastrous consequences.

I imagine it's there to tow the bike up to a speed where Guy can get the gear turning. It's a bit of an ask getting on top of that gear from a standing start!

Rob

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bashthebox [751 posts] 2 years ago
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I think Guy's ace - very definitely the spirit of Fred Dibnah living on, with a bit more insanity thrown in.

For these motorpaced efforts, aero doesn't come into it - you're entirely in the slipstream of the vehicle. The maximum speed depends on the stability of the bike, the skill of the rider, and the size of that massive gear you're turning. Oh, and how big your balls are, of course.... which is where Mr Martin should do pretty well!

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rxpell [39 posts] 2 years ago
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Watched his series about how things used to get made - the one where he builds a replica of the Macmillan bike is a classic - he builds it then rides it downhill at speed. Hope this new series has stuff about how the bike is built and how it works.

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parksey [343 posts] 2 years ago
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Looking forward to this, and the series more generally. Wife reckons I've got a man crush on Guy Martin!  21

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caaad10 [184 posts] 2 years ago
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To suggest cycling behind a lorry at 110mph is more dangerous than racing the isle of man or the north west is just plain ludicrous, get a grip.

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bauchlebastart [100 posts] 2 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

I like Guy Martin as he's refreshingly un-telly like and in some ways is positioning himself as the new Fred Dibnah. He likes his bikes too.

I just wish he'd decide what he wants to be and do as it doesn't pay to be a hobbyist when it comes to racing the TT and the road scene. Not if you intend on using the return bit of the ferry ticket anyway.

He has been on the podium 13 times, hardly a hobbyist

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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I was perhaps wrong in my choice of word but I know there's been a few other road racers (possibly envious of his celebrity status) who have questioned his commitment to the roads given his media work and his truck fixing.

I know Simon Buckmaster had some fairly strong opinions on him a while back.

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

I was perhaps wrong in my choice of word but I know there's been a few other road racers (possibly envious of his celebrity status) who have questioned his commitment to the roads given his media work and his truck fixing.

I know Simon Buckmaster had some fairly strong opinions on him a while back.

Perhaps this is the type of person the country should be admiring rather than cutting down then, Guy is just a normal guy  1 that goes about his daily business as the rest of the normal folk do, races a bit on the weekend and does well, and occasionally does a bit on the telly. as opposed to the Prema donna's who think the world should beg at there feet for an autograph or prostrate themselves as they walk past with there snotty noses in the air. Reminds me of Eric Bana, Hollywood movie star, national icon in Australia and on the weekends he plays around with muscle cars and drinks in the local pub with his mates

So my point is, I dont care what some overpaid pro of questionable talent thinks, Guy is just getting along with what he does, and it will be entertaining

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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I think within the tight knit world of real road racing, its Guy that's seen (by some) as the primadonna.

But again I reiterate - I like him, and he's certainly different to the charisma vacuum platitude spouting types in F1 and MotoGP

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

I think within the tight knit world of real road racing, its Guy that's seen (by some) as the primadonna.

But again I reiterate - I like him, and he's certainly different to the charisma vacuum platitude spouting types in F1 and MotoGP

And tennis  24

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jellysticks [95 posts] 2 years ago
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That's a pretty bizarre for sale ad at the end of the video.

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Guanajuato [51 posts] 2 years ago
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Its not proper grafting though, is it? Not, like, PROPER grafting.
It looks like a reight crackin series.

As for the non-aero handlbars, I reckon aero isn't that worthwhile when you've got a truck punching a hole in the air for you!

Na then, wheers me cuppa.

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keith roberts [204 posts] 2 years ago
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cool bike, cool guy, that Guy...though I liked mr Donhue's more "purist" speed attempt..i think more people will see this on the telly and think that this is the real deal..still ,gets us peddle pushers in the limelight again...  1

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zam [13 posts] 2 years ago
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Are they flat bars!!?

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mike the bike [747 posts] 2 years ago
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Is it just me or does the whole idea of being towed up to speed and then tucked into the slipstream of a bloody great truck make it a bit of a joke.

The fastest cyclist should be the rider who can achieve the highest speed, on their own. Two runs in opposite directions within a set time and the average taken. The ride of truth?

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ajd [44 posts] 2 years ago
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 36
Well, at least on the club run I can now boast about how my steel '92 Rourke is soooo much faster than all these new fangled carbon bikes  1
Mine had shiny chrome bits too!

Brilliant job by Jason (and Guy!)

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fatbastard [24 posts] 2 years ago
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It was a real pity the actual attempt had to be made on sand. Couldn't they have, maybe, closed the M6 Toll Road for half an hour in the small hours of the morning, just to give him a hard flat surface? Good effort though, but I think he could have gone faster.