MONTH IN BIKES
Why McGuinness to Norton is a smart move, plus all the news that matters.
RACING’S MOST wellknown secret finally went public last month, with McGuinness (pictured) signing up for Stuart Garner’s Norton TT team, ending an 11-year stint with Honda Racing. Last year’s NW200 crash clearly left a bad taste in McGuinness’s mouth as well as several centimetres of leg to regrow.
But hopping on the Norton SG is a surprise move (undoubtedly generous pay packet aside). With Tyco BMW still only at one full-time rider, it wouldn’t have been a surprise if McPint had opted to ride the bike that eclipsed his beloved ’08-’16 Blade’s roads prowess.
Cynics rushed to suggest John was taking a fat wedge to see out his last years of competition: PB thinks they’re vastly underestimating the duo. Despite some tough times early on, his recuperation has gone well.
“The bone has calcified well, and I’ve not had any infections in the bone as Hutchy did first time round – I had a couple in the flesh but some pills sorted those. I’ve been on the spin bike and in the hydrotherapy pool to build it back up gently. I’ve got mobility and control of the joints, too,” he told editor Chris.
By the time you read this, the cage will be off, and he can step up training and look at testing. When he does swing that leg over the Norton, he’ll be on a bike far removed from the ‘Spondon Aprilia’ lash-ups the team ran early on: although it still runs the Noale motor, the rest of the bike has learnt a lot of lessons in its time under Cameron Donald, Davo Johnson and Josh Brookes: last year it lapped in the 130s on a sub-prime course, with minimal practice time, and Brookes’ course knowledge a little lapsed.
The bike isn’t changing much for this year: the alien-level talent and course knowledge of McG is the biggest potential leap. If his physical condition continues to improve, his presence on one of the podium steps this year is a very real possibility.
The cage is off his leg and he’s ready to go
Top six finishes for the Norton last year bode well