A bike pump? Oh, Guy. He’s so normal. He’s going to pump up his trousers and, as he puts it, “go as fast as humanly possible”. In a very English way. “As dull as it sounds, I will not be going through any of that haka business before the race.” What, no chanting and hugging? No way. “you can’t get all American in there, because that’s when it gets messy. All I will be doing is going through the motions. A 30-second set routine. I’ll get the bike started, go onto the Wall, get up to speed, spend one lap at the speed, slow down, get off the Wall and then stop. That’s how you’ve got to deal with it.”
Although even he admits he is a bit nervous. “I am massively outside my comfort zone. Which is great.” Indeed, the old Martin programme such as the TT race on the Isle of Man is old hat. “I’ve been doing the TT for 11 years, and it’s a fantastic event, but for me it’s lost its edge, really.”
Is there going to be a time delay, just in case the unthinkable happens? Indeed, there is. “But I’m not scared of crashing. What am I going to hit? The only time it will get messy is if I hit the bike. The only thing I am going to crash into is the wall. Hopefully the radius of the wall will take the energy out.” I feel nauseous just thinking about it.
After the Wall of Death at 100mph, Martin is taking it easy. Racing through America on a pushbike. Unsupported. Sleeping in bivvy bag by the side of the road. And when I say ‘through America’, we are talking Canada to Mexico. 2745 miles. “I want to try and break myself,” smiles Martin amiably. Any other concerns? “Well, my only worry is that the race starts on June 10, which is when bears are coming out of hibernation.
I’ll have a Bear Whistle but it is a bit tricky because you have to tell the difference between a black bear and a brown bear. You whistle at a brown bear but not a black bear.” What do you do with a black bear, then? “With a black bear you have to pretend to be dead,” says Martin casually. “But a brown bear can look like a black bear when it’s coming out of the water. It can get a bit confusing.” Why don’t you stay in a B&B for that bit of the race, I suggest? “You could do but I am not doing that.” He smiles. “You always have to have goals, don’t you?”
Guy Martin’s Wall of Death: Live is on Easter Monday at 7.15pm on Channel 4