Former North West 200 and Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup winners, Mar Train Racing have elected to withdraw from all forms of motorcycle racing, for the foreseeable future.
After 11 year’s prodigious years of competition, the highly touted outfit, has grown and grown in stature, in particular on the roads.
Since 2015 they have lead Yamaha UK’s roads challenge.
2015 saw Dean Harrison take the new YZF R1M Yamaha to Cock of The North and Gold Cup successes at Oliver’s Mount, plus crack the 130 mph mark, at the TT Races.
Following Dean parting company with the team in November of last year, Manxman Dan Kneen linked up with the three times international road race winners, for the 2016 roads season.
Photo by Rod Neill
Main highlights of 2016 have included Grand Final victory at the Tandragee 100, podium finishes at the Southern 100, plus third position in the Superstock encounter, during the MCE Insurance Ulster Grand Prix.
The 50th Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, which saw Dan finish a very respectable 11th, has proved ultimately at this moment in time, Mar Train Racing’s last pure road race outing.
Stating how tough the decision has been, to step away from road racing, Mar Train Racing, Team Principal, Tim Martin said:
“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.”
Photo by Rod Neill
Adding his gratitude for their feats with Yamaha machinery, on the roads in 2015 and 2016, Karl Radley of Yamaha Motor UK, stated:
“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.”
Via Twitter, Dan Kneen added his thoughts on Mar Train Racing’s shock departure from racing.
“It’s a big shock for me too, thanks to Mar Train Racing for everything this year, not sure what my plans are now #gutted”
Words by Stevie Rial