Monday 16 September 2019

A brutally honest, rugged look at life in Guy's fast lane

Guy Martin: My Autobiography
Guy Martin: My Autobiography

Dean Goodison: Book review

For some it's Formula 1, for others it's rallying, and plenty love the two-wheel version of motor sport. Personally, the enjoyment of sport-on-wheels went no further than the dynamic, and sometimes disastrous, duo of Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi with Ferrari in the early nineties.

Motorsport lost its appeal shortly after Alesi won that first Grand Prix in Canada in 1995 and it's been easy to keep ignoring it when the fuel-guzzlers appeared on the box throughout the last two decades. That was until Guy Martin's book, simply titled 'My Autobiography', came up for review.

It's easy to fall for the stereotypical image of the driver/rider as someone who's big-headed, is on the promiscuous side with an obscene love for the fastest and most expensive road cars. Martin doesn't conform to the norm.

Well, he cheated on his long-term girlfriend with his current fiancée. And he spent over a hundred grand sterling on a Supercar.

Yet he does come across as just a run of the mill bloke, a hard worker, a grafter, a fella who's had to put in a lot of effort to reach his level.

His level is near the summit in the sport of motorbike road racing.

Martin, born in Grimbsy, England, started out in track racing but fell in love with the thrill of the road and eventually did a lot of his racing this side of the Irish Sea. In the publication he goes through his life chronologically with the early chapters dealing with him growing up in Kirmington.

Indeed, the North became an adopted home for several years for the author and he deals extensively with his years racing in Ireland.

However, he still falls foul of the old faux pas of referring to both sides of the border as being part of the United Kingdom.

It's probably Martin's only mistake in the entire publication. His editing team and proof reader have some questions to answer though. There are too many typos and too many grammatical errors scattered throughout the book and it's a real pity.

One aspect that's often overlooked are the picture sections that are in most autobiographies these days. They are particularly strong in this offering with the picture of his dramatic crash at the Isle of Man TT in 2010 the most striking, and most horrifying of them all.

A feature of the book is that occasionally Martin is going along serenely talking about a moment in his career or his life and suddenly he hits upon something that really gets into his craw.

He goes off on a diatribe about the grievance which really helps to liven it up, simply because the reader isn't expecting it.

Some of the passages to keep an eye out for are his opinion on the perfect cup of tea, his dislike for gym junkies, holding an Irish racing licence, and dodgy massages, but probably some of the most eerie moments are his passages on death in a sport that has had plenty of them to deal with.

Overall it's clearly a publication that any motorsport aficionado has to add to his collection.

It's brutally honest, it's raw, it's rugged. It's detailed when it needs to be, with the description of mechanical situations particularly well done.

The general sports fan could do a lot worse than reaching into their back pocket for a tenner and heading into The Book Centre for this.

Martin brings the reader right into his life and there's certain parts of his character that most readers will relate to.

It's not going to win too many awards but it's well worth the read.

Visit The Book Centre on Wexford's Main Street for the very best selection of sports books.

Wexford People