The holiday seasons are upon us and with 2016 finally, mercifully coming to a close and things still a little grim, I wanted to give you all a gift to brighten your hearts. We all need a little light in our lives right now and boy, do I have the walking embodiment of enthusiasm and infectious glee for for you.
Ladies and gentlebugs, this is Guy Martin, your new crush forever. You are welcome.
Guy Martin, actual labrador, is the kind of charismatic and likable that would be trouble in anyone else’s hands. As it is, we got lucky and he’s the nicest, most hardworking chap that ever existed. And, an absolute maniac on a super bike.
He’s a speed demon, that rare breed of human who is at his absolute happiest when screaming down a road at 190 miles an hour on what amounts to a wheeled jet rocket, knowing at that any second disaster could claim him. Not that he minds. He goes fast because he likes knowing any mistake could kill him. No, that’s literally what he said when he was asked why he likes racing super bikes.
Meet perfect human, Guy Martin.
Guy Martin first came to fame as a motor-mouthed northerner who raced Super Bikes as a hobby while he made (and makes) his living as a HGV mechanic . Like his father before him, Guy made a name for himself as a particularly daring racer, and though he couldn’t turn his prowess into first place victories, his natural charm made him a fan favourite. It’s easy to see why. Brilliantly, in video reels from the pits, Guy stood out to TV producers not just for his work ethic or overall quirkiness, but for the most part — and this isn’t a joke — for a clip of his quite serious explanation about how he makes tea by putting the milk in the mug first.
… okay, even I think Britain is absurdly British sometimes.
Nearly a decade after charming his way into our hearts, Guy is eleven documentaries, three Guinness World Records, a British Hovercraft speed record and three autobiographies into what is honestly the most delightful media career of all time.
Guy is an engineer and a mechanic, and when he’s not on TV he makes his living fixing HGV engines. His first documentary series and the first I have to recommend to you as a great holiday watch, was The Boat That Guy Built on the BBC, shot back in 2011. Six episodes follow Guy and a childhood friend as they restore a narrow boat and cruise the stunning Manchester canals to take a journey through British Industrial history in the process. For many of us, especially those who didn’t watch the TT races, this was our first formal introduction to the nearly overwhelming enthusiasm and glee with which Guy approaches every single second of being alive. If you’re not in love with his Northern Charm about ten seconds in, I don’t even know what to say to you. All episodes are available on YouTube.
A few years later, Guy returned with another examination of the British Industrial Revolution with How Britain Worked (all episodes are also available on YouTube), and not long after that decided to make his own marks on history with Speed with Guy Martin. Across thirteen episodes from the UK’s channel 4, we followed Guy’s many attempts at breaking and setting as many land speed records as he could.
This is arguably Peak Guy, combining his love for hard work, going really, super mega fast and tinkering with engine parts, all in one absurdly wonderfully epic package. The best part about this series is watching Guy adapt to each new challenge and skill with almost supernatural ease. He is not of this world. It’s really just a pleasure to watch someone enjoy learning and achieving as much as Guy does.
Guy continued his restorations and wanders through British engineering history in Guy Martins Spitfire and Guy Martin; Last Flight of The Vulcan Bomber in which he helps restoration teams piece old fighter planes back together for display flights. Once again, his Guy is a font of engineering history and knowledge and just so damned darling. If you notice what appear to be huge gaps in time between Guy’s visits to the work shops, its because Guy values his work as a mechanic over everything else he does, and has been known to cancel huge media projects at the last minute because his garage was too busy. He’s just … he’s so great.
Guy has also been able to travel since delighting Britons as a working class hero.In Our Guy in Latvia we see him returning to his grandfather’s native land to explore his family history. Our Guy in China and Our Guy in India were more about exploration and road-tripping than family history, and Guy toured both countries whatever two-wheeled vehicle he could get his hands on.
It’s a bit obvious for a travel documentary to claim it will ‘explore a side of X we’ve never seen before’, but with Guy and his idiosyncrasies, we actually do see sides of India and China we don’t usually see in UK travel shows. Guy is, always, all about the engineering and the bikes and rather than the tourism porn we’re used to, his films explore famous Indian motorbike races and centuries old tea plantations (Did I mention he likes tea? He really loves tea) or gigantic Chinese Dams, construction projects and shipyards — which leave chatterbox Guy briefly and hilariously speechless.
And, because he’s Guy Martin, he rounds out both trips by making history, in Indian bike races and cycling across Chinese ‘death deserts’.
All episodes of Our Guy In China can be found on the internet.
So, meet Guy Martin. If Sir David Attenborough embodies Britain’s pastoral legacy and our love of nature, than Guy is our avatar of Industry. He is charming, he is intelligent and he is absolutely one hundred percent fearless. If you need something to marathon over Christmas break, marathon Our Guy.
A few fun facts about Guy Martin;
- Guy Martin took up truck engineering when he was 12, but even as a child he had dismantled lawnmower motors to try to make them go faster.
- Guy Martin has ridden his bicycle to work almost every day of his life.
- Guy Martin dropped out of a motor vehicle course at school because he already knew everything being taught, and wasn’t being paid to be there.
- Guy Martins hair is rumoured to be home to a tiny village of elves.
- Guy Martin was inside this explosion. It was one of the rare occasions an Isle of Man TT was red flagged — because of his bike exploding.
- According to internet legend, that black object at the bottom right of the fireball, where fireball becomes grey road, is his arm as he was thrown clear of the bike and was sliding down the road in the edge of the explosion. Guy fractured basically all the bones in his chest and left the hospital a few days later.
- Guy Martin did this in August of 2015;
(Warning, don’t watch if you don’t like watching humans undergo rag doll physics)
- His injuries included fractures to his vertebrae, sternum, ribs and to his throttle hand. He has steel rods in his hand and back to keep all his bits together. Again, he left the hospital after days.
- Then in March of 2016, less than a year later, Guy set the world record for the highest speed on a Wall of Death, travelling at 78.15 miles per hour around a custom made Wall. This is, I can not stress enough, less than a year after he bounced off a race track like a Superball.
- Guy drinks about 15 to 20 mugs of tea a day and his tea mug is about twice the size of the average mug. He makes his own in the narrow boat show and frankly, I could go swimming in it.
- Guy Martin casts a magical spell over everyone who meets him, and literally everyone wants to keep him. Which often are their actual words, as you’ll see.
- Guy Martin is an actual labrador. I know, I’m repeating myself, I’m serious,
- Guy Martin decided on a whim to try and break a cycling speed record across desert in China, on the same bike he rides to and from work every day back in England. He rode day and night through subzero temperatures with metal rods in his body that shrink in the cold. He prepared by eating a street kiosk kebab. Watch the show to see if he beat the record (Scroll down to the bottom for spoilers*)
- Guy Martin is 100% adorable and you are already in love with him.
So, enjoy Guy Martin over your vacation, because whatever might get you down, Guy will cheer you up.
*He did beat the record, by 21 hours because screw the laws of…everything.