Chester Chronicle Article
TT stalwart Ian Mackman has secured a works ride with legendary British manufacturer Norton. The service manager at Bill Smith Motors of Boughton will compete in the blue riband Senior TT in June, racing a prototype machine designed and built at Norton’s Donington factory.
Since his debut at the TT in 2007, Ian has consistently impressed with excellent results on bikes that he has sourced and prepared himself, culminating in him winning the TT Privateer’s Championship in 2011. He has twice taken the Joe Craig Trophy awarded to a British rider with the best result on a British machine.
Norton have a rich TT heritage that began with victory in the inaugural TT in 1907 and have provided winning machines for riders such as Jimmie Guthrie, Geoff Duke and Mike Hailwood. Their black and gold JPS sponsored machines of the 1980s are among the iconic images of motorbike racing.
In the 1992 Senior TT, Norton mounted Steve Hislop engaged in a epic battle with rival Carl Fogarty, eventually taking the honours in a race that has gone down in the event’s history as the most thrilling ever. An ill fated attempt in 2009 to race a rotary engined Norton has been the only appearance of the famous marque at the TT since then.
Now with a three year plan that aims to see a podium placing in 2014, Norton CEO Stuart Garner explains that 32 year old Ian was the ideal candidate to join the team:
“We wanted a solid rider with experience who could help us build this project and develop it. Ian is a proven TT rider and we know he is as committed to this as we are. He is a great guy and hugely passionate.”
Ian’s excitement for the project is evident. He says:
“This is a fantastic opportunity and not many people can say they’ve raced a factory based Norton – they are the elite. It’s great to be there at the start of a three year plan and it’s very exciting to have a bike that no one else has got. For me personally to secure this ride at a time when the TT is on a high and there aren’t enough factory seats to go around is a real achievement.”
A programme of testing is underway in readiness for the gruelling 6 laps of the 37 ¾ mile Mountain Course. The bike has been prepared to the highest possible specification, with many of the components machined ‘in house’ at the Norton factory. However, both Norton and Ian are keen to stress their realistic expectations for this year, and say just finishing the race is the top priority.
Ian will also be contesting the other classes at this year’s TT races in his more familiar guise as a privateer with a Kemtile Hygienic Flooring sponsored Kawasaki ZX10, and ZX6 provided by Team Hairy Snid and Lancaster Brewery.
© Jude Freckelton
Posted: May 3, 2012