RACE PLANS RAMPED UP

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Nor­ton have com­peted at the TT since Stu­art Gar­ner ac­quired the rights to the com­pany eight years ago, but it’s been a roller­coaster.

In 2009 an old Ro­tary Nor­ton was brought back to life and Michael Dun­lop rode it. But it was tem­per­a­men­tal and failed to qual­ify. The team came back in 2012 with an Aprilia-en­gined ma­chine, but the Se­nior TT was can­celled due to ter­ri­ble weather.

In 2013, Nor­ton at­tacked the TT with two rid­ers, Ian Mack­man and Dan He­garty, and claimed their first fin­ishes in the Gar­ner era. Mack­man came 18th in the Su­per­bike en­counter and 24th in the Se­nior. He­garty had a DNF in the Su­per­bike race and fin­ished 36th in the Se­nior.

Hopes were high in 2014 and 2015 with Cameron Don­ald on board and Mick Grant get­ting in­volved in the man­age­ment side. But it was a tor­rid two years with elec­tron­ics is­sues and Don­ald had just one fin­ish – 18th in the 2015 Su­per­bike race.

In 2016 Dave John­son stunned the roads racing world with a 131mph lap in prac­tice fol­lowed by a strong sev­enth place in the Su­per­bike race.

Off the back of this suc­cess, Gar­ner is plan­ning to run a twoman Su­per­bike team in 2017 and will also cam­paign at the North West and Ul­ster GP. He said: “Dave John­son will re­main and we are look­ing for a second rider, but we want some­one ca­pa­ble of fin­ish­ing on the podium – a roads racing alien.”

Gar­ner is also plan­ning an as­sault on the Light­weight class with the new 650 twin in 2018. He said: “The dream is to win a TT, of course. And we are get­ting closer. Right now it’s look­ing promis­ing and we will keep work­ing hard.”

‘We want some­one ca­pa­ble of tak­ing a podium – a roads racing alien’

John­son will be back in 2017 after his bril­liant top ten fin­ish this year

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