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Every year, eager motorcyclists descend on a tiny island off the coast of the United Kingdom with a common enemy: time. No, they’re not in a Marvel franchise film. They’re motorcycle riders looking to conquer the Isle of Man Time Trials (TT). With average speeds well into the triple digits on everyday roads, spectators have to wonder if the riders on their Suzukis, Hondas, BMWs, and Yamahas are crazy or just devoted to the pursuit of the next benchmark. That said, Guy Martin has to be one of the wildest riders out there.

Guy Martin is so fast on the streets of the Isle of Man, he can outrun a helicopter

Guy Martin rides a superbike motorcycle in preparation for the Isle of Man TT.
Guy Martin | Hagen Hopkins, Getty Images

Outrunning a camera vehicle on a high-revving liter bike isn’t too tall of an order. Of course, that assessment requires the camera to be aboard a car, truck, or another bike. However, forcing a helicopter pilot to get the lead out is a task only the very best in the Isle of Man TT can boast.

Guy Martin is such a rider. When he takes on the TT, he means business. Martin clocks average speeds of nearly 130 mph around the iconic course. While that doesn’t sound like much in a world of 200+ mph race cars, it’s blindingly fast around the sweeping corners and straights on the island. 

Footage of Martin attacking the course routinely shows the British racer passing other riders as if they were stationary. That’s no easy feat, either; the lightweight 1,000cc superbikes on the course produce over 200 horsepower. Still, Martin on a BMW S1000RR or Suzuki GSX-R is enough to give a helicopter a run for its money. 

On average, a Bell 407 helicopter will hit around 160 mph in a straight line. With Martin flying across the landscape, it’s not a ridiculous sight to see the racer leave a camera helicopter in the dust when he heads into a straight. Of course, Martin has paid for his two-wheeled obsession several times. For instance, Martin crashed in 2010. However, this wasn’t just any spill. He crashed at over 160 mph.

Fortunately, the daredevil lived to tell his story and enjoy retirement from the most dangerous event in racing.


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