Speed with Guy Martin
Motorcycle racer and mechanic Guy Martin undertakes a series of speed-based challenges, exploring the boundaries of physics and learning about the science of speed
Guy Martin loves pushing the boundaries of speed in search of a buzz. He claims that nothing can match the adrenaline rush he gets when he’s racing on public roads around the Isle of Man TT course at 200mph. Now he wants to see if he can find anything that can give him the same kick. In this series, he creates four-speed based challenges, exploring the boundaries of physics, learning about the science of speed, and getting his hands dirty in a range of unique engineering projects.
Part 1: Britains Fastest Cyclist
Guy attempts, with the help of slipstreaming, to break the British record for outright speed on a bicycle: an incredible 110mph. Guy recruits an unlikely team made up of a truck racer, an Olympic gold medallist, a bicycle builder and a design engineer more used to working on next-generation military aircraft. Together they work out how to modify a 1000-horsepower racing lorry to create a large enough slipstream for Guy to cycle in, and build a unique bicycle gearing system capable of triple-figure speeds. With help from British Olympic track cyclist Laura Trott, Guy undergoes a relentless training regime to get fit enough for the record attempt. As he lines up at Pendine Sands in Wales – the scene of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s historic land speed record attempts in Bluebird – it is without question the most dangerous thing this Isle of Man TT racer has ever done.
Part 2: Hydroplaning Bike
Guy attempts to set the world record for riding a motorcycle on the surface of water. With the help of a Cambridge professor and a team of marine engineers, Guy’s stunt hinges on Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion: that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If he can maintain enough speed on his bike, the 250-year-old theory says he should be able to achieve the seemingly impossible: to ride on water. The team master the engineering on the back wheel and the extra fittings on the bike to enable it to skim across the surface of a lake. Crashing is inevitable, so Guy endures a rigorous training schedule, trying to escape underwater from a submersion rig and then conducting a series of dizzying trial runs, hitting the water at 30mph head first. The final record attempt takes place at Bala Lake in Snowdonia – which is so deep a 10-storey building could be submerged in it – with Guy surrounded by an army of rescue teams and emergency divers.
Part 3: Human Powered Aircraft
Guy is on a mission to do the seemingly impossible: fly using muscle power alone. He wants to build the world’s fastest human powered aircraft – a plane without an engine that Guy will cycle into the air. He heads to Southampton University where, on 9 November 1961, Derek Piggot became the first man to fly under his own power. Forty-two years later, Guy is ready to break into the history books with another team from the university. They’ve got seven months to build a plane from scratch and equip Guy with the skill, power and endurance to pilot it. He begins by learning how to fly a glider with stunt pilot Guy Westgate. He also visits a velodrome to measure his cycling power output and embarks on a programme of intense physical training. Finally, Guy is ready to put his plane to the test against the UK’s leading engineers in the Icarus Cup, where he sets out to pilot the fastest ever human-powered aircraft
Part 4: Worlds Fastest Toboggan
Guy sets out to break the record for the world’s fastest gravity powered sled. With the help of top sports science engineers, athletes and experts in composite engineering, Guy builds a toboggan to ride on the unforgiving slopes of the Pyrenees as he attempts to claim the record from a group of thrill-seeking Germans who set it three years earlier Guy experiences his first taste of going blisteringly fast on ice, at the famous Cresta Run in St Moritz, before a crack team of engineers from Sheffield Hallam University help him build a prototype toboggan.. Then the fastest woman to ever to have ridden a skeleton bob, Amy Williams, gives him some tips on flying head-first down the 180-metre slope. He also races a drag bike at Santa Pod raceway, to help him master precision steering using his body weight alone, and also to help him find a way of stopping the sled safely, using a bespoke parachute system. Guy tries to break the record at Grandvalira in Andorra on the speed ski slope Pista Riberal. Despite the danger, Guy will hopefully steer himself into the record books