Norton returns to the Isle of Man TT!!

Norton return to the TT

Today we launch our new race bike and announce our entry into the Senior TT race 2012.

Over the last 12-18 months Norton have been looking at a return to racing. Given that WSB and BSB only allow Homologated Road bikes into their racing classes, Norton has to look for ‘open’ or ‘prototype’ race classes to enter the new race bike in.

For all of the above, the TT stood out as the very obvious choice for Norton. The hard edge style of racing which gets much closer to fans and supporters in a true and real world way which is a very genuine and passionate form of racing, appeals to Norton far more than the energy drink and lycra clad pit lane of homologated road bike racing.

5Ian Mackman is riding the new bike for us, he is a great guy and hugely passionate about his racing. We are pleased to have him in the team working with us to develop the bike. He’s in later for a bit of testing, Donington have kindly helped us with some track time.

The bike itself is a Spondon chassis with Ohlins front and back, BST carbon wheels are shod with Dunlop’s. The engine is an RSV V4, we have been talking to the Aprilia Factory in Italy and similar to CRT we have no absolute factory support off them, but they are there for information and help if and when required.

The bike itself has been built solely within the factory at Donington Park, we have made very many of the parts ourselves within our CNC machine facility here at the Norton factory. For example we have made our own wheel spindles through to throttle bodies! We have a great partner with the fuelling system and electronic package for the bike in Active Technologies Limited.

4We’ve gone with our traditional polished aluminium tank, all the styling and bodywork has been put together here at the factory also. Replicast are working with us to complete the aero package.

Norton see this as a three year project, we are genuinely happy to come home with a solid finish this year. Any position would be a bonus! Over the three years we would like to be in a position to be podium competitive, although we totally understand it is a huge mountain to climb and we have our work cut out to achieve this.

3Only now are we going racing on the budget we have available from sponsors and other commercial racing income, we have taken no money from the factory road bike business. We see this as a sustainable route to racing for Norton. Some suppliers to the road bike business have been really helpful and this has helped reduce costs to develop and make the bike.

We have lost no focus in our road bike business and we remain totally committed to growing volume in our road bike business to meet demand for the Commando 961.

The TT organisers have been really helpful and a refreshing change in the racing game. The Norton team are looking forward to getting there and providing some excitement and fun for the TT crowd, we’ve even lined up a TV presenter to serve brews for the fans front of garage!!

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Thundersprint 2012

Following Norton’s success at Thundersprint 2010 we will be returning to this prestigious family orientated event, it is without doubt Europe’s biggest and most exciting motorcycling festival!

Norton CEO, Stuart Garner, said: “We had a fantastic time at the Thundersprint 2010 and only the pressure of delivering Commandos kept us away from last year’s event.” The 2012 event promises to have a bigger presence than in previous years and as always Norton will provide some not to be missed displays on a race version of our new Commando Cafe Racer – the bike which really began its’ life at Thundersprint 2010. The event will be held over the weekend of 12th and 13th May in Northwich town centre, for full details see www.thundersprint.com

We could tell you who the Norton rider will be, but we don’t want to spoil the surprise – see you there!

Norton at the NEC

Norton Motorcycle fans were wowed by the Norton Commando 961 range at this week’s Motorcycle Live Show at the NEC.

As well as the Commando 961 Sport and Cafe Racer, we displayed the Black Panther and the NRV588 – current world speed record holder for a rotary powered motorcycle reaching 173mph.

Norton Motorcycles are hand-crafted using world class components from top British manufacturing companies. Some of those first-class suppliers are on hand to showcase their products at our stand. Among the suppliers, Alucast Ltd can be seen polishing engine covers and Central Wheels are lacing wheels.

If you’ve not yet had the chance to visit us, there are still a few days left to get involved in the action! This year, the show is running until Sunday 27th November. Come and talk Norton with members of the team, grab yourself some official Norton merchandise and don’t forget to enter our free prize draw to win a lap on the Black Panther at Donington Park. You can find us in hall 3, stand R130 – we look forward to seeing you!

Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles at the NEC show, 2011