Breaking News: Mackers to ride a Norton at TT 2012
Ian has just sensationally been announced as the rider with whom British company Norton will make a return to the Isle of Man TT races this year. The esteemed manufacturer, and Ian, are front page news on this week’s MCN.
CEO of Norton, Stuart Garner said:
‘We have just launched our new race bike and have entered the TT 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. It is a great shame that we build a British race bike but due to current rules you can only race in a handful of championships, with Moto GP and TT racing seen as the premium events. Due to cost and limited appetite from global sponsors in the current climate -particularly in southern Europe where Moto GP concentrates itself – it is not possible to race competitively against the 2-3 manufacturers that currently set the pace/rules in Moto GP’.
‘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 and is a very genuine and a passionate way to go racing appeals to Norton far, far more than the energy drink and lycra clad [although we have all enjoyed both!] world of homologated road bike racing’.
‘Ian Mackman is riding the 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. Donington have kindly helped with some track time for testing’.
‘The bike itself is a Spondon chassis with Ohlins front and back, Brembo brakes. The engine is an RSV V4 – we have been talking to the Aprilia Factory in Italy and they are happy with our project and very interested to see how we get on. 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 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. We’ve gone with our traditional polished aluminium tank, all the styling and bodywork has been put together here at the factory also’.
‘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. Only now are we going racing on the budget we have available from sponsors and other commercial racing income, clothing and licensing income etc.. we have taken no money from the factory road bike business. We see this as a sustainable route to racing for Norton. As a brand we can use our dealer network and its income to support us. Suppliers to the road bike 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 up for the fans front of garage!!’
A delighted Mackers said:
‘I’ve been to Norton and met most of the lads involved – they are a really nice bunch of people and massively excited about this. I had a quick go around the old Melbourne hairpin on the bike, I pulled a few wheelies and even got airbourne over a crest so they seemed happy enough! Further testing to come soon’.