‘We’ll look back and say Micheal Dun­lop was bet­ter than Joey’ Stu­art Gar­ner, Nor­ton boss

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Phil West MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

Q1. What are you cur­rently rid­ing?

A Domiracer. We took it to Good­wood and rode it up the hill and you kind of de­velop a bond with it.

Q2. Which liv­ing mo­tor­cy­clist do you most ad­mire?

It’s dif­fi­cult to think of any­one who’s been so good on short cir­cuits and roads as Foggy. And we’re see­ing a legend be­ing made in Michael Dun­lop. We’ll look back in the fu­ture and say he’s maybe even bet­ter than Joey.

Q3. What’s your worst habit?

Prob­a­bly poor mir­ror use and not look­ing be­hind enough.

Q4. If you could have one rid­ing su­per skill, what would it be?

To be able to do those stand­ing, 12 o’clock wheel­ies like Troy Corser.

Q5. What’s the fastest you’ve ever been on a bike?

180-odd mph on the Bon­neville Salt Flats in 2009 (on the old Nor­ton NRV588 racer). I think it was 181 top speed and 173 fly­ing mile or some­thing. It was a record for a ro­tary mo­tor­cy­cle at Bon­neville. Still is, I think.

Q6. When were you last scared on a bike?

That’d be on the Salt Flats too – be­cause the bloody stuff is slip­pery. At about 150 the bike sits up on the salt and starts to drift around. We took the brakes off for fear of for­get­ting what you’re do­ing and grab­bing a hand­ful, which would be an in­stant lock-up.

Q7. How many miles have you done in the last year?

Three or four hun­dred.

Q8. What’s the high­est mileage you’ve cov­ered in one day?

I spent some time at game­keep­ing col­lege in Hamp­shire, so I was go­ing there and back from the Mid­lands – 300 to 400 miles. That was on an LC, which I pro­ceeded to throw up the road and spent the next three weeks pulling bits of denim out of my knee.

Q9. What ir­ri­tates you most?

Other road users and just hav­ing to an­tic­i­pate stu­pid­ity from ev­ery­body. It’s frus­trat­ing that you’re al­ways think­ing about ev­ery­body else rather than get­ting on with your own thing.

Q10. You’ve got two weeks off: where are you go­ing?

South Africa. I’ve got a game re­serve there so I just go to chill out, spend time by the pool and on the re­serve.

Q11. Got one pearl of wis­dom for new rid­ers?

Just add half-a-sec­ond to think about what’s in front of you and to an­tic­i­pate what they’re go­ing to do.

Q12. Ever fallen off some­where em­bar­rass­ing?

I was muck­ing about on a track­day at Don­ing­ton and ended up in the gravel at Redgate with vir­tu­ally all of the Nor­ton staff watch­ing and cheer­ing. I stayed up­right but that was more em­bar­rass­ing. If I’d had a big off it would have been pretty cool.

Q13. Do you have one in­dis­pens­able item of kit?

My boots. We’ve got some Nor­ton branded ones made by Jef­fery-west and if I haven’t got them on I don’t ride.

Q14. Which four peo­ple would you in­vite on a Sun­day ride?

My girl­friend, Susie Lodge, plus all the boys from Nor­ton. It would be un­fair to pick any­one out, they’re a mas­sive gang and they’ve be­come fam­ily.

Q15. Do you have a tool you couldn’t live with­out?

A lit­tle Allen key and a Swiss army knife with some tools on it, just in case.

Q16. Do you ad­just your sus­pen­sion?


Q17. You can have one of your old bikes back. Which one?

An RG500 in Pepsi colours. I sold it ’cos I was skint. £3750 and it still hurts.

Q18. What would you never buy?

Any big cruiser. I just can’t see my­self on one.

Q19. Which cor­ner would you have built on your desert is­land?

Craner Curves from Don­ing­ton. There’s noth­ing like whizzing down there.

Q20. If you ruled the world, what new law would you pass?

I’d sim­plify the bike test. When I was a teenager ev­ery­body was do­ing their bike test, now it’s very much a mi­nor­ity.

‘I spent three weeks pulling bits of denim out of my knee’

Stu­art Gar­ner, still think­ing about that Pepsi RG500 he sold Team Nor­ton: like a fam­ily to St uart The Nor­ton V4 RR. He’s come a long way since those LC days

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