Life according to Guy Martin

guy martin photo

On love and marriage

'[Mum and Dad] had a break from the relationship for a bit, and it was when they were thousands of miles apart that they realised how much they missed each other and that’s when they decided to get married. One time [sister] Sally and I were in the garage and came across the love letters Dad sent from Nigeria. They both arranged to come back to England and were married three weeks later. That was over 35 years ago and they’re still together now.'

On the meaning of life

'I kept being reminded, by [adviser] Andy, that I was in breach of two contracts I’d signed – one with Dainese and the other with the film people. I’d shrug. At times like that I just think, "Fuck it, it’ll be right." And it normally is. Someone will bail me out, and it’s better to seek forgiveness than ask for permission.'

On parents

'Christmas time was mega at our house. On Christmas Eve my dad would have a few drinks and tell us to bring the pet rabbits into the house. It was the only day out of the whole year he’d do it, but it happened every year. He’d be as pissed as handcarts from the pub at lunchtime. It’s the only time I remember seeing him drunk, but he’d be as daft as a brush, crawling around on the floor with our rabbits.'

On money

'I wasn’t looking to get rich, but I didn’t want corners being cut when it came to bike preparation. I don’t give a monkey’s about a fancy race transporter or staying in a nice hotel; I’ll happily sleep in my van, and regularly do. I don’t expect to fly anything other than in the cheapest seat, and I’m not even bothered about being paid to ride, but the bikes have got to be right. If not, everyone is wasting their time and I’m doing a bit more than that.'

On death

'It might be hard for people outside the world of road racing to understand, grasp or even believe, but a death can happen in a race meeting and it barely sends one ripple through my part of the paddock. It doesn’t make the slightest difference to me. Someone may mention it to me if I was stood next to them in a queue. They might be taking it to heart but I wouldn’t.'

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more