Mar-Train withdraw from road racing
Mar-Train Racing have officially confirmed they are withdrawing from motorcycle racing after eleven years of participation. The Lisburn based team did have the option to extend their official Yamaha UK road race deal for a further two years but team boss Tim Martin has decided that it is time to bring his tenure as a team owner to a close.
After a brief spell as a personal sponsor of Denver Robb’s the husband and wife duo of Tim & Sonya Martin entered the world of team management in 2006. As well as some MRO wins Robb won the Dundrod 150 Challenge and National 600 races in 2007 to kick start a ten year spell as one of Northern Ireland’s most successful race teams.
Up until 2010 the team concentrated on the Irish Superbike Championship as well as selected road races, numerous national victories followed as well as runners up positions in both the supersport and superbike class but it was Alastair Kirk who gave the team their first championship success lifting the Irish Supersport and Supersport Cup titles in 2008.
Following a low key year in 2011 attentions were diverted to the British Supersport Championship from 2012 until 2014. After almost lifting the title with Jack Kennedy at the first attempt the team achieved their dream of becoming British Champions in 2013 when Stuart Easton came out victorious in a last round showdown. Whilst the team missed out on retaining that title by a miniscule four points in 2014 rider Alastair Seeley did achieve another milestone for the team by giving them their first ever International road race victories when he scored a double at the North West 200.
For 2015 and 2016 Mar-Train were given factory support when they were made the official Yamaha UK road race team. Two years developing the all new YZF-R1M brought it’s own challenges and whilst an injury thwarted progress in 2016 the team still managed to achieve plenty of success along the way. Wins at the Southern 100, Tandragee and Scarborough were plentiful whilst podium finishes at the Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix by Gary Johnson and Dan Kneen respectively along with Gold Cup and Cock ‘O’ The North titles by Dean Harrison ensured plenty of silverware was added to the cabinet.
Whilst Tim Martin is open about how much he will miss the sport the heavy haulage chief knows the time is right to call it a day.
Team Principal – Tim Martin
“This has been a tough decision to make, my heart is of course telling me to continue but in my head I know it is the right time for us to step down both as a team and a family. I have had numerous discussions with YMUK over the past couple of months and the package they have put together for us for the next two years is extremely tempting. I am sorry to have to let them down but when I consider the personal commitment required for another two years I just feel that a decade has been enough and it is time to step back.
When I look back through our list of accolades I am very proud of my whole team and what we have achieved, winning the British Supersport title in 2013 was the pinnacle for me, closely followed by our North West 200 victories and Isle of Man TT podium. We have been lucky to work with a number of excellent riders and I would like to thank them all for their time with us. If I have to single anyone out I would have to say Stuart Easton is a class act both on and off the track and an excellent example for any young rider out there.
We have also been lucky to have a great team around us, Cliffy and Hubert have been here throughout whilst more recently we have had Andy, Connor and Scotty. There have been others along the way too, Paul, Stuart, Martin and Alastair, all great guys who did a great job for us. Of course without funding no-one goes racing and again we have had loyal sponsors like Carryduff Tyres, John Hudson Trailers and Andover Trailers from the start and more recently R&M Greenkeepers as well as many others. Yamaha UK also showed a lot of commitment to us over the past two years and I would like to thank Karl Radley in particular for his input. To everyone though who has contributed and became part of the team over the years I would like to say a massive thank you.
Mostly though, anyone who has run a team will know how much personal investment it takes, how much it takes over your entire diary for the year and how many sacrifices you have to make in order to run it properly. I would therefore like to save the biggest thanks of all to my girls, Sonya, Toni, Rachael (and Katie’s baby sitters), without whose support, none of this would have been in any way possible.
Finally, I would just like to thank everyone for their support of the team over the years, the fans have been fantastic and the support from local media has also been very positive. The exposure for our haulage company has been excellent and Mar-Train as a brand has certainly grown over the ten years along with our team and its successes. I have many excellent memories and friendships to take away with me and I will continue to be an avid supporter of motorcycle racing despite not being involved. I wish all the riders, teams and officials a safe and successful 2017.”
Karl Radley – Yamaha Motor UK
“We were of course very sad to learn that Tim had taken the decision to withdraw from racing, especially given the unrelenting effort the team put into taking on the challenge of turning the new R1 into a competitive road racing machine and the huge progress they had made. The last two years have had their fair share of ups and downs, but we knew that Tim and his team had the pedigree to take on the challenge and remain committed, which they duly did and along with various riders they delivered numerous successes for Yamaha along the way of which we are very grateful.
We are very proud to have partnered with Mar-Train Racing and both personally and on behalf of Yamaha, I want to thank Tim and all the team for their determination and professionalism throughout the project. We understand and accept the reasons for his decision and we wish Tim, his family, the team staff and his business the very best of luck for the future.”