Guy Martin commences his preparations for this year's major international road races in earnest tomorrow as he competes at the Cookstown 100 in Northern Ireland.
The Tyco TAS Suzuki star will clash with local heroes Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop around the twists and turns of the 2.1-mile Orritor circuit in the Superbike and Supersport 600 classes in his first outing on the roads in 2012.
The Cookstown 100 National road race meeting is traditionally the first Irish road race of the year and is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2012.
KMR Kawasaki rider Farquhar has dominated the event in recent seasons and won five races a year ago, including both Superbike races and the Supersport event.
Martin, however, had the consolation of setting a new outright lap record for the course twelve months ago as he finished third behind Farquhar and Dunlop in the main race of the day and will be aiming to return to the rostrum this weekend.
He plans to use the event primarily as a final Pirelli tyre test ahead of next month's North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT in June, but at the same time Martin won't be out there to make up the numbers either.
The fast-talking, tea-swilling lorry mechanic, TV personality, mountain-bike fanatic and motorcycle road racer said he was looking forward to 'having a bit of fun' at the popular Irish meeting tomorrow.
“The Cookstown is a right good old-fashioned road race and I always love
coming to Northern Ireland. I've been busy with loads of different
projects lately and while I'm not a fan of press conferences and all the
pomp that goes with it, I love racing bikes and especially with the TAS
boys,” he said.
“Hopefully it stays dry and we can give all of the bikes a bit of a run
out and have a bit of fun with these boys. We're not coming to hang it
out boy - not at all!
"But I'm certainly not turning up to finish last. We'll leave all the predictions to the circuit specialists and see what
happens, but I am looking forward to it.”
Roads close for practice from 12 noon today at the Co Tyrone circuit and from 10am tomorrow for racing.