NW200: Guy Martin enters Supersport races on Wilson Craig Honda

Pacemaker Belfast 28-4-17
Cookstown 100 - Supersport Race
Guy Martin during today's Supersport Race at the Cookstown 100 in Co Tyrone.  Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press
Pacemaker Belfast 28-4-17 Cookstown 100 - Supersport Race Guy Martin during today's Supersport Race at the Cookstown 100 in Co Tyrone. Photo by David Maginnis/Pacemaker Press

Lincolnshire’s Guy Martin has added two extra races to his schedule at the Vauxhall International North West 200 with the Honda star set to ride for Wilson Craig in the Supersport class.

The 35-year-old linked up with his former team at the Cookstown 100 last weekend, where he finished eighth on Craig’s Honda CBR600RR at Orritor.

Martin, who will line up with John McGuinness in the official Honda Racing colours for the Superbike and Superstock races on the all-new Fireblade SP2, will make his official return to international road racing in the first Supersport race on the Thursday evening schedule next week.

Team boss Craig said: “We had a few conversations about Guy riding my bike at the North West and I am delighted that he will be out on the 600.

“Guy was happy with the bike at Cookstown and it is now fully prepared for him for next week. It will be great to see him out in my colours again and I want to thank Mervyn Whyte for giving us the opportunity to race.”

Martin last competed at the North West in 2015, when he made headlines following an on-air rant as he criticised the number of chicanes around the 8.9-mile course.

Later in the year, he was hurt in a high-speed crash in the Dundrod 150 Superbike at the Ulster Grand Prix. He sat out all of last season and it seemed the television celebrity’s career between the hedges could be over for good.

However, Martin stunned the racing world with the news in January that he had left former team TAS Racing for the factory-backed Honda squad.

The Grimsby man needs to compete in six races in order to gain his licence to compete at the Isle of Man TT and to that end, Martin returned to the Tandragee 100 for the first time in 12 years last month.

A week later he raced at Cookstown and now the world’s most famous lorry mechanic will return to Portrush, where he apologised to Event Director Mervyn Whyte on the grid following his shock outburst two years ago.

Unsurprisingly, Whyte has no problem in welcoming the sport’s biggest name back to the North West.

“Guy Martin has a huge following and we will welcome him back to the Vauxhall International North West 200 grid again this year,” he said.

“With Wilson Craig providing him with a 600cc Honda the fans will have even more opportunities to see Guy out on track.”

Martin recently completed a final test at Castle Combe in Wiltshire, where the Honda Racing team unveiled its 2017 livery for the first time.

He is gradually getting up to speed on the new SP2 Superbike but admits everyone involved in developing the new Fireblade faces some big challenges.

“It’s a machine I tell you, but we do have some work to do and I love the challenge of getting it right,” Martin said.

“We’re all working together and it’s down to me, John and the lads.”